. CAREER TIPS: 10 WAYS TO HELP START YOUR DAY RIGHT .
Celebrating Hump Day with a new career tips feature, and this time i’m sharing my tips and advice for optimising you morning routine to help start the day right. I always find that the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day, so starting the day feeling positive, energised & confident is something that is really helpful. Mind you, it’s not the easiest thing to perfect when often i’m longing for another hours sleep, dreading the emails already clogging my inbox & can’t find a damn thing to wear (i’m sure you can relate).
Through much trial and error i’ve worked out a little morning routine & a few habits which really help start the day right. Some are super simple, others take a little more time and effort, but even doing just a couple of these each morning helps me get in a good mental mindset & feel ready for the day ahead.
. 8 HOURS SLEEP .
Okay so i’ve cheated already, this isn’t really a morning tip, but it is one sure way to ensure you wake up and start your morning feeling awake & rested. Getting the right amount of sleep is something i’m finding even more important as I get older, whilst when I first came to london i could party until 5am and still be up at 7am for work, now thats a far cry from the truth. These days I need 8 hours sleep to ensure I wake up feeling rested and recuperated. So whilst this isn’t possible every night, I do try and ensure i’m in bed by 1130pm, getting a good 8 hours of ZZZ’s before my alarm at 7am / 730am.
. REM .
There are five stages in the sleep cycle, varying from REM to NonREM, and this sleep cycle can happen up to 5 times in one night. The stage in which you wake up is quite important and can really affect energy levels and your mood (something I learnt whilst studying psychology), if you’re woken up whilst in deep sleep (stage 3) it can often start your day a little drowsily and slow, whilst if you wake up when you’re body is naturally coming to the end of a sleep cycle you’ll find more ready and alert when you’re alarm goes off (this helps explain why some days we just want to keep sleeping & others we’re wide awake … it all depends on the sleep stage we’ve been woken up from). I personally don’t do anything specifically to ensure I wake up in the right sleep stage, but there are loads of fab apps that monitor this and ensure an alarm goes off at the right time.
An easy cheat, which is what I do, is to leave a crack in my curtains so that in the summer months, the sun beams through and starts to wake me more naturally as the sun rises! It always makes me wake up feeling happy & more awake.
. HOT LEMON .
I’m truly awful at keeping hydrated, i mean really awful. It’s a long term joke with my family and work colleagues, i’m always forgetting to keep hydrated and often get ill as a result (not so much of a joke). Over the last few months i’ve tried to start my day with either a Pukka cleanse tea, or a lemon and hot water (sometimes I add a bit of ginger too). I’ve read SO many articles which rave about the benefits of drinking hot lemon water in the morning, from helping your skin glow to starting your metabolism, either way I am sold. If anything, it just means i’ve drunk a good amount of water before I even leave the house (small wins)!
. PRE PLAN OUTFITS .
Again another cheeky tip, which technically needs to be done before bed, but really can help your morning start off well! If like me you find yourself forever struggling with ‘nothing to wear’ despite more clothes than Topshop, then you’ll know how tough it can be trying to find something to wear in the morning when you’re a) tired, b) sleepy, c) running late, d) stressed, e) feeling bleugh. The easiest way to combat this is to pre plan your outfit the night before. You can plan based on the days agenda, the weather & your mood … but doing this thinking and planning the night before is one way of making the morning routine a little less stressful.
. 5 POSITIVE THOUGHTS .
I’ve listened to quite a few wellbeing talks and have become vaguely interested in the topic & research around mindfulness and wellbeing. I do believe a positive mind and attitude, can genuinely make huge a impact on your daily life, your outlook and your ability to manage situations. It’s difficult to be positive though when you’re having a bad day, so one way to try and avoid the bad days is to start the day with a positive attitude. Spending 5 minutes when you wake up, whilst brushing your teeth or even whilst your sat on your commute thinking about 5 positive thoughts, whether that be 5 things you’re grateful for, 5 things you’re looking forward to, 5 things you love or just 5 memories which make you smile. Just dedicating 5 minutes to doing this, will instantly shift your mind into a positive gear and set you up for a slightly more happy day!
. GREEN JUICE .
Since I bought my nutribullet, i’ve been kicking off the day with a mighty green juice each day. As i’m useless at having breakfast, I treat my juice as a little mini breakfast and a good way of filling my body with nutrients & vitamins for the day ahead. A juice is actually so super fast to make and if you really struggle for time, even making a bulk load on a sunday to last you the week is a great way of ensuring you can still have a daily juice boost.
My personal favourite morning green juice includes a handful of spinach, a quarter of a cucumber & a quarter of an apple, a slice of ginger (the bigger the better for me) & squeeze of lemon (half a lemon), and then a whole host of superfood goodness, a tsp of wheatgrass, spironlina, chia seeds, chorella, Maca and a handful of goji berries for good measure. YUM.
I really find it gives me an energy boost and makes me feel healthy.
. BREAKFAST LIKE A KING.
Someone once told me that you should breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen and dine like a pauper. The morale of the analogy being breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I get this, and i have to say breakfast (well brunch) is one of my favourite types of food (eggs & avocado forever). At the weekend I’m quite good at taking this advice, less so in the week (I juice instead). But we all know that having a good breakfast before we leave the house if a really important way to start your day right, whether that’s a simple fruit snack, a tasty and heartwarming porridge or something a little more luxe likes eggs (if only we started work at 11am).
Make time or a quick breakfast or head to work with enough time to sit and enjoy breakfast at your desk before the day kicks off.
. WRITE A TO DO LIST .
If you find yourself getting stressed in the week, then starting the day with a little to do list can be a really helpful way of clearing your mind and keeping things manageable. I often use my commute to work to write out my life to do lists & get all the things that are in my mind out on paper. It means by the time you’ve got to work, your head is clear and ready to focus.
. EXERCISE & STRETCH.
Oh I know, morning exercise, unbearable. BUT, if you’re a morning person then maximise your wakefulness by getting active, it’s a great time of the day to do a 20 minute exercise routine or do a little yoga etc and means you’ve started the day feeling energetic & fit.
I am most definitely NOT a morning person, so for me this is a total no no, exercise at lunch time suits me more, but at a minimum I do spend a few minutes properly stretching out in the morning & getting my muscles working. I can suffer from quite bad back and shoulder pain (often triggering my migraines) and so I find doing a little bit of stretching (like a 2 minute yoga session) helps get my blood flowing & body prepared for the day ahead.
. LISTEN TO MUSIC / MEDITATE .
Whether it’s from the moment you wake up or whilst you’re driving or catching the train, listening to a little bit of music (relaxing or upbeat, dependent on what you find best) when you wake up is a great way to start your day. Upbeat music can help energise and motivate you, chilled music can help keep you relaxed & calm, or a meditation track can help keep stress at bay and give you some time to think before the day kicks in. A lot of people listen to music on the tube to work, and there’s a good reason for it. For me listening to some chilled out music, or spending 30 minutes on my commute escaping in a good chick lit always means my day is starting in a positive way & I arrive at the office awake, relaxed & energised for the day ahead!
So there we go, 10 quite eclectic ways to help you start your morning in a positive way. I’d love to know if you already do any of these, or if there are any tips you’re going to try? It’s really amazing to see the difference in how you feel once you start doing a couple of these each day :)