Picture horses at the starting gate, hooves drawing inpatient lines in the track. Or a snarling dog kept behind a cage door, perhaps a pork chop dangled enticingly just out of reach. And bam! The release. The eager, ravenous spring out of the traps full of focus and precision. That’s how you should be when you leave the house each morning, tearing into the day with a laser sharp fixation on the day’s tasks. We’re here to help you get in that zone, with these; our 7 morning rituals to start your day off right.
HACK YOUR CIRCADIAN RHYTHM
Routine, and strict adherence to it, is the key to discipline, time management and subsequently, a day’s successful task completion. This all starts with waking up right. If you want your body to function to its full potential, to dance to its most productive rhythm, then conditioning your circadian rhythm (your body clock) to always wake you up at the same time brings about the first small victory in a day of potential wins. This sets you up with a sense of focus and rigour for the day ahead.
The aim here is to take back control from an over-reliance on phones and exterior forces. Do everything in your power to wake up naturally. If your first conscious action is to submit to your alarm clock, what does that say about how the rest of the day will pan out? So, go to bed at the same time each night having not binged on blue light or eaten too much in the couple of hours beforehand, get out of bed soon after you wake up, follow a set of rituals immediately after this (which we’ll talk about below) and soon you’ll find your body clock is synced to a natural, consistent daily rhythm. Only then are alarm clocks rendered redundant.
Although of course waking up naturally is best, there are apps which can tailor your wake up time to stir you out of slumber during lighter sleep if you do find you need an alarm clock. And for heaven’s sake, above all else, don’t snooze. It’s an early admission of failure which casts a shadow over the day.
The detrimental effects of blue light before bed have been well documented. Countless studies have shown the link between your screen’s blue light and a difficulty in nodding off, as well as its hand in a disrupted, disruptive sleep pattern.
But you should extend that screen time ban to incorporate your first hour or two of a new day, too. Whether that’s through an app which, ironically, locks you out of apps until a certain set time, by turning on airplane mode before bed, or through sheer, old school willpower, is up to you. Because being in thrall to yesterday’s news, of alerts and notifications which reference the past, can set off your day regressively, looking over your shoulder and not fixing focused eyes forwards.
LET NATURAL LIGHT & FRESH AIR IN
Starting the day off on the front foot is a multi-nuanced operation. One of the simplest ways to wake up right is to fling open that window and let some light in straight off the bat. It’s really useful to establish that early connection to the outside world and nature. What’s more, exposure to natural light early helps you wake up fully, gets that circadian rhythm playing in time and contributes to a higher productivity throughout the day,
We all do it, inadvertently. That big, cartoonish stretch and yawn when we first sit up in bed is your brain and body telling you that you need to get some blood flowing to help you start functioning at full capacity. Take control of this process with a gentle morning yoga routine; just ten minute’s worth of stretches can get the blood flowing, leaving you feeling sharp and alert. The meditative aspect also brings the opportunity to set your intentions for the day. Try a short morning yoga video from youtube at the start of your week and you’ll be a convert before Friday rolls around.
MOVE PURPOSEFULLY & PUT YOUR ALL INTO EVERY EARLY TASK
A major aspect of the much-lauded Japanese productivity focused philosophy of Kaizen is that by completing each and every daily task with rigour and to your full potential, you will incrementally – even unknowingly – become the best version of yourself.
Apply this mentality to basic morning tasks. We’ve all heard the one about how you should make your bed with care each morning, and that’s cool, but you can go way beyond it. Complete all your routine tasks with purposeful, graceful movements. Fold your pyjamas gently and evenly, stir your coffee with precision, sit in a comfortable, upright position for breakfast…..you get the picture. Pretty, isn’t it?
AVOID UNNECESSARY MULTI-TASKING
Are you in such a rush that you’re sitting on the toilet brushing your teeth? Eating your cornflakes standing up, as you check your schedule for the day? This frenzied rush to the finish line before your day has even begun will, without doubt, set you off on the wrong foot. Avoid multitasking in the morning. Instead, get up that little bit earlier, take that little bit more care over each part of your morning routine, and you’ll be leaving for the office serene and brimming with clarity.
HYDRATE & EAT RIGHT
Probably the most obvious point, but one which is so often overlooked in favour of the rough and tumble of getting out of the door on time; your morning routine should involve copious amount of water and a simple, healthy breakfast. Consistency, again, is key, as forming healthy habits creates a clear pathway to wellbeing and clear thinking, so make complete hydration each morning a crucial aspect of your routine.
Food wise, fruit, yoghurt, oatmeal and clean, green vegetables (even if in smoothie form) tend to set things off light on your feet and springy in your step. And that’s what you came here for, right?