Start Your Morning Right
You’ve probably heard the phrase “I woke up on the wrong side of the bed.” Actually, you’ve probably used it on a number of occasions when you just couldn’t seem to beat a sour mood or get in rhythm with your day. We’ve all been there.
When this happens, we feel one step behind everyone else or, sometimes, we feel like everyone else is one step behind us. And it almost always has a snowball effect – bad only seems to get worse. By the end of the day, all you want to do is curl up in bed, fall asleep, and try again tomorrow.
Your morning routine might have something to do with it – that precious time before class or work. When we neglect its importance, we set ourselves up for failure throughout the day. By rushing through our mornings or not allowing our minds to warm up to the tasks that lie ahead, we rob ourselves of our ability to fully engage with the people and situations surrounding us.
Adjusting your morning routine by incorporating “mindfulness” techniques may be a great way to start your day off on the right foot. “Mindfulness” is a state of awareness (in a non-judgmental way) that allows you to assess your feelings, thoughts, and other sensations.
A derivative of eastern meditation, being mindful allows us to be fully present in the here and now without attempting to change or fix it. Many therapists (particularly the ones here at 2SC in Chicago) encourage their clients to practice mindfulness as a route towards increasing productivity, reducing anxiety, clearing your mind, and balancing your energy.
The truth is, there are countless ways “mindfulness” can be incorporated into your day.
Here are a 7 ‘early bird’ strategies to make you more present and set you up for success:
1) Wake up to a song – being jolted awake by a loud, obnoxious beeping can really make you irritable. Try making your alarm an uplifting song that wakes you up easily and makes you feel positive.
2) Stretch – when you step out of bed, take some time to stretch. Help get the blood moving through your arms and legs. Move slowly and focus on your breathing. Allow your body to gently begin its day. This is also a great way to relieve accumulated stress!
3) Go for a walk – Observing the quietness of the morning and the energy of a new day can be very helpful. Even just a quick walk around the block can make a world of difference! You can get a twofer by taking your pet with you and learn more about mindfulness along the way!
4) Eat something – Many people skip breakfast. And those that do eat something typically opt for something on-the-go. But taking a few extra minutes to prepare a breakfast meal and sit down to eat it for can be the right step towards a successful day.
5) Journal – Waking up each morning and freewriting about your dreams or the day ahead can be extremely useful when starting your day. Or, if writing from scratch is a little too intimidating, consider a daily reflection journal with short, guided exercises (like this one).
6) Enjoy your shower – Taking a shower to wake up is certainly not a new concept. But rarely do we experience a shower to its fullest. Use a body wash or shower lotion that fills your bathroom with a wonderful fragrance. Indulging your sense of smell will make you feel great.
7) Affirmations – Daily affirmations can be very powerful, especially if you’re struggling with worry, doubt, or anxiety. Try starting your day by reading a favorite inspirational quote or by repeating an affirmation to yourself in the bathroom mirror.
By adjusting our morning routines to center our energy and make room for positivity, we may be able to avoid ‘the wrong side of the bed’ no matter which side we wake up on!