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10 ways to get a great start to your day

19 April 2017
5 minute read

woman standing in kitchen drinking coffee

Did you know that Barack Obama starts every morning with a workout routine of weights and cardio, then eats breakfast with his family? And Arianna Huffington avoids looking at her phone as soon as she wakes up, and instead breathes deeply and takes a moment to set her intention for the day?

Like these two high achievers, most powerful and successful people start their day with a morning ritual. While these rituals vary from person to person, what they have in common is that they are a regular routine and that they help to set a positive tone for the rest of the day.

Most powerful and successful people start their day with a morning ritual.

We took a look at ten of the most beneficial activities that you can undertake as soon as you wake up, for you to build your morning routine around.

1. Get enough sleepYour most effective morning activity actually starts the night before – and that means going to bed at a reasonable hour. While eight hours is widely believed to be the most beneficial length of sleep, you know what works for you – so make sure you get it.

Getting enough sleep improves your health, your mood, your weight, your thinking, your memory and your immunity.

2. Wake up early Just as too little sleep isn’t good for you, so is too much. Start your day at the same time every day, after you’ve had enough sleep, and early enough to allow for some other positive morning activities, so you’re not just frantically dashing to get yourself and your family ready.

Studies have shown that early risers tend to be more proactive, and that regular early mornings generally encourage you to have earlier nights, creating a beneficial cycle of being well-rested for the day ahead.

3. Start sereneMaking meditation a part of your morning routine is a powerful way of establishing positivity and clarity of thought for the rest of the day. According to Psychology Today, daily meditation improves your productivity, regulates your emotions and boosts your self-control.

You can check out the video below to  learn how to meditate for only five minutes every day and start reaping the benefits. 

4. Hydrate (but don’t caffeinate!)If you’ve had a good night’s sleep, your body has gone for at least eight hours without taking in any liquid. It’s time to rehydrate. The best liquid for your body is, as always, water. It wakes you up, jump-starts your metabolism and flushes out toxins. And many celebrities and health food practitioners swear that there are even more benefits to be had if you add a squeeze of lemon.

If your first impulse on opening your eyes it to grab yourself a mug of coffee, you may want to reconsider. Drinking coffee first thing in the morning means that you’ll need more coffee later to stay awake. It also increases your tolerance to caffeine, trapping you in a vicious cycle of lattes and cappuccinos.

5. Limber upStarting your day with a stretch routine makes your muscles supple and your mind limber. If you are headed for a day at a desk, there’s nothing better than getting a bit of blood and oxygen into your limbs. Below is a five-minute stretch routine to get you going.

And if you do spend your day at a desk, don’t stop with one round of stretching – take regular breaks to loosen your muscles and free your mind.

6. Get movingBe like Barack and start your day with a workout. While not everyone has the time or desire to exercise first thing every day, it really is the optimum time to get your heart rate pumping. Morning exercise boosts your metabolism, improves your productivity and makes you more likely to eat more healthily throughout the day.

If you are starting your day with exercise, try to have a light snack before you start – even just a piece of fruit or a Provita and cheese are great pre-workout snacks.

7. Eat a healthy breakfast Your body has gone for a long stretch without any nutrients. Starting your day right with a healthy meal of the right foods will give you energy and vitality for the rest of the day. Protein in the form of an egg, low-GI carbs in the form of oats, and nutritious fruits or vegetables like avo and tomato are ideal breakfast foods.

And it’s not just about eating the right food; it’s also about taking the time to savour it.

8. Connect with your family You have a busy day ahead of you, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t stop and enjoy the moment with your loved ones. Make the time to interact with one another, talking about the day ahead of you; research shows that it will improve your communication, performance and emotional responses to whatever the day holds.

The easiest way to do this is over breakfast or tea, but you could also make a ritual of simply sitting together and sharing your goals or expectations for the day.

9. Have a planTake five minutes to think about your day, what you have ahead of you and what your priorities are. Once you get to work, you'll be in a calm, well-prepared headspace, ready to start the day.

10. Do a tough jobDid you know that you wake up every morning with a finite amount of decision-making willpower? And that every decision you make uses up a portion of that willpower? Along with this, the best time for big ideas and creativity is first thing in the morning. (Ever woken up with a solution to a problem that has bothered you for hours the night before? That’s why.) For all these reasons, if you have a big task requiring lots of attention or thought, get it out of the way first, or there’s almost no way you’ll be able to find the willpower, or mindpower, to do it later in the day.

So, start your morning with these ten awsome rituals (or as many as you can manage!) and you’re pretty much guaranteed a great day.

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