How you begin your morning sets the tone for your entire day. You definitely want to get off on the right foot to set yourself up to have a day that's productive, enlightening, and positive. But there are many commonly practiced habits people do that have an adverse effect on the day. Instead of feeling motivated, they lack energy or focus. Luckily, changing up these routines can be relatively simple and involves a bit of a mindset shift and a will to commit to something new.
Once you kick the bad habits, you'll find yourself feeling more energized and motivated to take on anything your day throws at you and maybe even a bit more creative. Sounds like a dream? Read on for some habits that could ruin your day and how to overcome them easily.
Snoozing your Alarm Clock
So many people snooze their alarm clocks in the morning, eager for just a few more precious minutes of sleep before starting their day. Contrary to what you might think, getting an extra nine minutes of sleep won't make you feel more well-rested and it won't help you feel better getting out of bed. In fact, it can have the opposite effect.
"I used to set my alarm clock knowing I would snooze it in the morning," Jae Pak, Founder of Jae Pak MD Medical admits. "I would intentionally set it at least 20–25 minutes before I needed to wake up for the day. I thought it was a good method to help myself wake up gradually but now I know that it did me no favors. I always felt sluggish in the mornings and it took me far too long to find my groove."
Why does this sluggishness occur when snoozing your alarm? Sleep inertia. This natural sleep process exists during the transition from sleeping to waking. When you snooze your alarm to go back into a sleep state and then wake yourself up minutes later, your body stays in the sleep inertia stage which results in feeling drowsy or disoriented. It can impair your cognitive function which leads you to have a less-than-productive start to your day.
"Those extra minutes of sleep while snoozing your alarm actually have an adverse effect," warns Tony Staehelin, CEO of Benable. "The practice leaves you feeling disoriented long after you get out of bed. Instead, set your alarm for the time you want to wake. Open your eyes and do an activity to pull you out of your sleep reverie. Journal, stretch, listen to music – whatever works for you."
Checking your Phone Right After Waking Up
Nearly half of all Americans reach for their phones as soon as they wake up in the morning. Whether they're tuning in to social media, emails, or the news, they start their day evaluating what people around the world are doing.
While the blue light can be an effective method in helping your brain wake up, the consumption of information can leave you feeling stressed and anxious. That's how Miles Beckett, CEO and Co-Founder of Flossy would feel.
"My morning routine began with checking all the things: emails, news, social media, everything. It was a relaxing way for me to wake myself up before getting out of bed. Well, I was under the impression that it was relaxing. But turns out that wasn't true. Before I even got out of bed, I was inundated with information that put my brain on overload. Being anxious is not a great way to start the day. So, I cut it out and journal instead. It relaxes me much more."
Michael Fischer, Founder of Elite HRT used to start his day with work and felt stressed. "I was in the habit of checking my emails as soon as I woke up. I had to know what to prepare myself with for the day ahead. I thought it was a way to be productive, but instead, I felt stressed. Eager to relieve my life of some stress, I stopped checking it – cold turkey. What an improvement!"
Focusing inward – such as with journaling or meditation – is a much more effective way to calm your brain on waking up to feel more creatively charged throughout the day. To avoid temptation, place your phone in another room or across the room so you don't have it nearby to reach for when you wake up.
To keep your body at its peak, you need to stay well-hydrated. Dehydration is the result of many issues we face such as headaches, lack of energy or focus, and stress. In the morning, we tend to be dehydrated from simply being asleep. Drinking water when you wake up is the perfect way to combat that dehydration and nourish your body to start the day.
The best tip Rym Selmi, Founder of MiiRO shares with her team is to drink water first thing in the morning. "Before I eat breakfast or have a cup of coffee, I drink a full glass of water. Typically 10 ounces. I tell everyone on my team about this routine because it's worked wonders for me. I feel so much more energy throughout my morning and I'm more creative."
Most people tend to consume their caffeine first thing in the morning, like Lydia Boychuk, VP of Marketing at More Labs. "Coffee used to be the first beverage I reached for every morning. I would easily down 2–3 cups during my morning routine. It got me up and going, sure, but I found myself having headaches. I talked with a colleague and she asked if I had been drinking water in the morning. A non-caffeinated beverage? No. But she explained the benefits of staying hydrated after sleep so I gave it a shot. No more headaches."
Not Eating a Solid Breakfast
The phrase "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" didn't come up from nowhere. Eating a solid, nutritious breakfast is the best way to get your morning started. After being asleep for about 8 hours, your body is begging to be fed. A hearty breakfast gets your metabolism going to fuel your body with the energy you need to take on the day.
Mornings can be hectic, which is why many people end up skipping breakfast. But Jayme Muller, Brand Manager at RTA Outdoor Living has a great tip to help with that. "I'm a planner and while I was always planning out my lunches to take to work, I never really thought about breakfast. I would often just skip it but hated how that made me feel those mornings. My energy was zilch. So, I started planning out my breakfasts, too. I do some meal prep when I can to help me and it's made a world of difference.
You don't have to make a big breakfast to give yourself energy each day. Put together some meal ideas that you can make in a timely manner to avoid being late for work. "I start each morning with a bowl of Greek yogurt mixed with granola and berries. It's an easy meal to whip together even when I'm in a rush," suggests Ian Heyman, Founder from Dermasteel.
Not Stretching your Body
Sleep can leave your body feeling tense and tight. After all, you've been lying down all night long and sometimes barely moving sleep positions. It's bound to leave your body feeling a bit out of whack. The tension can be an annoyance or painful. That doesn't make for a positive morning. Stretching the body helps enliven your muscles to not only get rid of tension but provide a dose of energy that lasts throughout the day.
"When my alarm goes off in the morning, I get up and start stretching," shares Michael Ayjian, Co-Founder and Executive Producer at 7 Wonders Cinema. "My body often feels tense when I wake up and I need to loosen up the muscles. I don't do too much, just a quick 5–10 minute exercise that stretches me out. It's not only beneficial for my body but for my mind as well."
Susan K. Shaffer, President of Pneuma Nitric Oxide, on the other hand, begins her day with a full yoga routine to get their body going. "I don't know what I would do without my morning yoga routine. The movement helps get my blood flowing and relieves the tension I wake up with from sleeping in a single position all night. I make sure to map out my day to fit in a practice. Otherwise, I wouldn't be able to function."
If you're currently participating in any of these habits, consider making a change. See how it affects you overall and maybe consider journaling your progress, so you have an idea of just how beneficial the change can be. Starting a new routine can be a bit cumbersome at first. It typically takes 3–4 weeks for a routine to become a routine. Give yourself some grace throughout the process. Soon enough, you'll have a new morning routine that has a positive effect on your whole day.
Photography by: Courtesy of Stock Image