Your alarm goes off . . . and then what?
Too many of us roll over, turn off the alarm, and then do one of two things; we stay sitting on the bed, phone in hand, while dealing with every notification, text, email, and headline that came in overnight, or immediately get into work mode, stressing about the day ahead, and plowing through the morning routine without taking a single moment for ourselves!
Time is precious, but besties, so is your mental health. Taking just a couple minutes to center yourself – focusing on how you feel, and not immediately getting distracted by the many external factors that run the day– can help you to feel good for the rest of the day.
1. Go for a walk
While not everyone has time for a full workout before clocking in, a quick stroll can also be super beneficial. Not only does it signal to your body that you are beginning the day with positive motion, it can help wake up your senses. Focus on the feel of your feet hitting the grass or pavement, the sounds of your neighborhood starting the day, and the warm or cool air on your skin.
A daily affirmation practice is as simple as choosing a saying that makes you happy to hear, and saying it to yourself out loud. It can be as specific or broad as you want, from “I am present” to “I will rock that meeting!” While this habit is designed to help you talk yourself up, it can also help you gauge how you are feeling to start the day – your “emotional temperature,” so to speak. If you’re having a little trouble saying believing your own affirmation, it may signal to you that you need to be a little gentler with yourself on that particular day.
3. Pour yourself a glass of lemon water
Keeping yourself hydrated starts first thing in the morning! Water is crucial for proper brain function and curbing anxiety, and staying on top of staying hydrated is especially key during the hot summer. Squeezing lemon juice into your water can make it extra hydrating, and can also stimulate the digestion system which prevents constipation.
4. Do a meditation
The science behind the benefits of meditation has grown over the past few years, along with the practice’s popularity! The ultimate goal of meditation is to “just be” with your feelings and your breath. Taking a few minutes to do this can help you to feel calmer and more present over the course of your day, and overtime, help with emotional reactivity. There are a number of subscription-based apps on the market that offer meditations of varying lengths, and websites that provide free practices (Ten Percent Happier, Headspace, Calm).
5. Write a gratitude list
Writing out what you are grateful for helps to wire your brain to see the good in your life first thing in the morning, especially if you make this a long-term habit! Use Your list can cover the big, exciting things – someone important to you, that recent career milestone, an upcoming epic vacation – or things that are more simple, from having a roof over your head, to that awesome smoothie you’re planning to have for breakfast. Whatever brings you joy, writing or typing out a few examples serves as a reminder first thing that there are things around to feel positive about each and every day.
Check out this 5-minute gratitude journal.
Once you use these five hacks to start your day feeling great, you are going to be a new person.