I don’t know about you but I find it hard to start some days in the right frame of mind. If I’ve worked late into the night or been struggling with a lot of stress, I find it can be a challenge to start a new day. Fortunately I’ve learned a few tips about how to start the day off right and shift my mind from grumpy to great! I’d like to share some of those with you in this post.
Before I do, it’s important that I acknowledge that some of you will be genuinely struggling with real problems. You might be struggling with debt, a difficult relationship, illness or depression.
These tips are not a magic bullet that will make your problems go away but they will help you to face the day from a more positive place than you were in when you woke up.
Don’t jump out of bed
One of the worst things we can do at the start of the day is to go into panic mode when our alarm goes off.
By leaping out of bed because we’ve already hit the snooze button ten times and we’re worried about being late, we enter fight or flight mode, our brain starts pumping cortisol into our bloodstream and that’s it, you’ve begun the day in a stressed state.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve hit that snooze button multiple times or you wake on the first alarm, just take a deep breath (count to five as you breathe in) and let it out slowly (count to five as you exhale).
If you feel thoughts about debt, outstanding jobs or other things you tend to dwell on entering your mind, don’t think about them, just let them pass (this gets easier with practice) and instead think about how that breath feels entering or leaving your body. At the moment of that in-and-out breath, nothing else matters.
Now calmly put your feet on the carpet and wiggle your toes.
You’re good to go. 🙂
Have a quick shower and brush your teeth
Some of you might be wondering why I’ve included this as you wouldn’t dream of missing these things.
When I was going through my most stressed and depressed moments in life, one of the first things affected was my personal hygiene. I hate feeling dirty but when I was struggling to cope and get everything done, I stopped showering and I’m embarrassed to say I even stopped brushing my teeth.
Jump in the shower for ten minutes. Starting the day clean will make a huge difference to how you feel about yourself and therefore your day.
Yes, you might think you don’t have the time but the difference that not feeling sticky and sweaty can make to your emotional well-being is worth it. Taking ten minutes to shower will save you more than ten minutes later when you’re more able to think clearly. If you have long hair, you don’t have to wash it – that’s why shower-caps exist. 🙂
Making sure I did these things really helped me to move into a much more positive place and it will for you too.
Take your time over breakfast
Breakfast is one of the first victims of a busy, stressful life.
Unfortunately starting the day without an essential boost to your body’s intake of energy, vitamins and minerals is going to make your life more stressful. When our blood sugar is low, we become more irritable, impatient and struggle to regulate our moods.
Take time for breakfast. Just like a short shower, the overall benefit will actually save you time over the course of the day.
Just remember, while you’re eating breakfast, not to dwell on the tasks ahead of you. Take the time to just have breakfast. Focus on the flavors and textures of the food that you’re eating and you’ll enjoy it far more.
One think that I’ve found really helps me is to prepare my breakfast the night before. Since I tried them the first time, I fell in love with overnight oats. My breakfasts have been far healthier as a result.
Remind your loved ones that they matter
I know that when my working life gets really stressful, I have a tendency to neglect the people I love. I’m willing to bet that you will too. That’s why it’s so important, each day to make space in your life for the people that matter in your life.
I like to ask my two-year old if she’d like a cuddle (she always wants a cuddle) and ask her about her day. She’s always looking forward to something and it really helps push my happiness level up to see her so excited about think I’d long forgotten to love.
I also try to make sure that I tell my wife that I love her, listen to the things that are troubling her and let her know that even though my life is hectic, I value her being in it. I’ve neglected this in the past and it’s not been good for our relationship at the time.
Finally, stop in front of a mirror and look yourself in the eye. There’s no reason to hate that person looking back at you. They’re doing their best. Tell them that they’re doing an awesome job and deserve to be happy. You deserve to be happy. Don’t dwell on what happened yesterday, last week, last month, or last year. Today is what matters and you’re going to make it a good day.
Plan the day before you start the day
Now that I’m in a positive frame of mind, I take ten minutes to plan my day.
I look at the tasks I need to do and I reflect on what I didn’t do yesterday. It’s amazing how many tasks that didn’t get done weren’t necessary in the first place! What I don’t do it beat myself up for not doing them. I focus on doing what’s important and fitting the less important things in when I can.
I recently got into bullet journaling and it’s changed my life.
It’s a way of creating a planner that totally personalized for you and your life. Although it takes a bit of effort to set up, it’s worth it. I now try to start the day by looking at the tasks I need to do (or that didn’t get done the day before) and updating my day with them.
By writing my tasks down, they’re clear in my head and I feel much less stressed when I don’t have to try to remember what I need to do throughout the day. This is particularly handy when you’re working on an online business as well as your day job.
Curiously, I’ve found a physical bullet journal to be far more effective that using apps on my tablet or phone.
I’m not sure why but the physical act of writing them down and maybe making some relevant doodles next to them forms a connection between them and my mind that I don’t experience with a digital method such as Wunderlist.
I hope that these tips have given your some inspiration for how you can improve your morning routine.
The total time that they should take is between thirty minutes and an hour, resulting in a happier more energetic you that’s more prepared to start the day.
When you’re prepared for the day with a positive mindset, you’ll be more effective in everything you do and save time overall. It’s so much easier to work on a task when you have a can-do attitude. 🙂