Try these morning rituals to get your day off to the right start.
What’s your current morning routine? Maybe it goes something like this: sigh as the alarm goes off, begrudgingly pull yourself out of bed, throw on a robe and take the dog out, while suddenly realizing that you forgot to set up the coffee maker last night (again)? Or maybe it’s something like this: you don’t sigh at the alarm clock (because you already woke up at 4 a.m. and couldn’t go back to sleep), pour yourself some coffee (because you did remember to set it up last night), turn on the news (nothing but traffic reports, weather updates and general mayhem) while checking emails and wondering how you’ve received over 25 already. Not to mention that your dog is jumping all over you because he wants to be fed.
If your routine is anything like either of those scenarios, or if you are just searching for a better way to jumpstart your day, check out the following tips.
Your “ikigai” is literally the reason you get up in the morning, which is why tuning into it when you first wake up can be extremely beneficial to your mood for the rest of the day. Your ikigai, also known as your purpose in life, is a Japanese concept that combines the words “iki”, meaning life, and “gai”, meaning benefit. Taking steps toward your ikigai is easy. You can start by practicing any small habits that make you feel good, such as meditation, stretching, walking outside or performing a random act of kindness. For help finding your ikigai, answer the following questions: What do you love? What makes you happy? What gets you really pumped up inside?
Try to wake up naturally (without an alarm) to the natural light of the morning. This way you’re not waking up to a hideous-sounding alarm causing you immediate anxiety that could remain for the rest of the morning. If that’s not possible, use soft music or something more mellow and happy-sounding as an alarm. You should also set your phone to ”do not disturb” so your sleep isn’t disturbed with notifications and spam emails during the night.
Before opening your computer or heading out on your morning commute, take a few minutes to go outside and get some natural light — and take your dog with you. Try not to just think of this as a potty break for the dog — it’s the time when you set yourself up for the day. Neuroscientists call this grounding, and you may find that this creates a very positive mindset and mood and helps you to slow down.
Hydrating before having caffeine can be extremely beneficial as it can improve both your digestive system and metabolism (a bonus if you’re trying to lose weight), reduce any heartburn and indigestion, as well as strengthen your immune system.
If possible, wake up 30 minutes earlier than usual and fit in some time to either exercise, stretch or do yoga. Stretching and exercising are beneficial for the brain and engage a brain frequency called SMR, or sensory motor rhythm, which is used all day for cognitive thinking, problem solving and more.
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