I don’t know about you, but since I’ve changed my life to a more paleo focused one I’ve had less trouble getting up in the morning. I’m often up at 6AM on the weekends to go mountain biking, and getting up during the week early is no problem either. However, sometimes we forget that the time after awakening from a restful slumber is prime time for some simple activities that will kick start your day. Morning rituals can help set the tone for the day and can even help ease the murkiness of a bad nights rest.
I’m not talking about giving your neighbours a photo opportunity, but sleeping with windows open and allowing for natural light to wake you up will set your biological clock right every morning. Think about how your sleeping patterns change when you holiday somewhere away from cities, where natural light is more dominant than our artificial versions. I find that if there is natural light available I wake up much easier and earlier too.
I’m also a huge fan of allowing fresh air to wash over me while I sleep. I’ve woken up too many times in a sealed room where I’ve been the only method of air circulation for hours. Fresh air also helps to maintain temperatures if its hot. The only time this won’t work is when it’s snowing outside of course!
Quench Your Thirst
Notice how I don’t mention “hydrate” or “make sure you drink x amount of water”. There really is no golden rule of hydration. Drinking 8 glasses of water a day is pretty unnecessary. Try to judge how thirsty you are by well, how thirsty you are! I’ve noticed that one or two glasses as I wake up is a good start to the day. I probably average around 4-5 glasses of water a day in the summer, and less in the winter months. Some days I am more thirsty than others, and if I’m going to be exercising the following morning I’ll try increase my hydration efforts before I go to bed. This seems to make the biggest difference when the following day is a really hot one.
I’d recommend waking up and drinking a glass of water to quench your thirst, thereafter decide whether or not you want that good old cup of coffee.
Get Some Outdoor Time
If you can, wake up earlier and go outside for a while before starting the nitty-gritty of the day. Greet the day by exposing yourself to some glorious rays of sunshine and your day will improve drastically. I’ve started implementing this simple step in my day and I’ve felt really great as a result. Also, the sun is your best source of vitamin D, so why not get the highest quality available? You’ll need around 15 minutes of solid exposure to the sun with as much skin exposed as possible to really benefit from this.
If you love your morning coffee, why not enjoy it outside?
Get The Heart Going
Waking up to some exercise, no matter what it is will be beneficial in more ways than you could imagine. A simple, single set of pushups will get the heart pumping and wake you up, focus you and provide a great sense of accomplishment. Why not start your day with a bang?
Ideally, a slower workout would be better, unless you enjoy training for strength or sprinting in the morning. Having said that though, it’s the movement that counts. Your body just wants to move. If you have a hard time finding the motivation or the time to do workouts in the evenings then perhaps doing them after you wake up in the mornings is a real option for you.
Some mornings I’ll begin what I think is going to be a simple pushup routine, and end up doing an entire, full body workout. Remember, with crossfit principles a workout doesn’t need to be long at all to be effective, and more often than not its the short intense workouts that provide more benefit to the body.
Contemplate and Uncoil
Meditation before tackling a particularly stressful day can do wonders for stress management and productivity. Now, don’t think that because I dropped the meditation bomb I’m talking about an incense filled, cross legged ritual pre-work. I like to just take a moment to think about what I’m thinking about. A classic way or focusing your thoughts and bringing yourself to yourself is to simply think about what you are going to think about next. I challenge you to actually give me an answer to that step. I’ve found that when I chase my thoughts in that way they dissipate and I feel an instant, whole body peace upon me.
This is a great way to get into focusing on what your mind is actually occupied with, and who knows, this simple process of waking up, contemplating and understanding your day and your minds reaction to it could produce some massively rewarding calm in your life.
Additionally, you could incorporate some tools like journalling or writing out your thoughts in an effort to externalise-to-internalise whatever is going on in your mind.
In my life food is pretty important. I’d actually say that it’s one of the things I’m most excited about, most of the time. I love food. I love nourishing my body.
Take the time to make an extra awesome paleo breakfast full of protein, fats and vegetables and you’ll have some great reward for the rest of the day. Why should you only look forward to a couple of meals a day when all of them can be as awesome as one another?
If you need some inspiration, try these out and see how they work for you. I love them.
Set the tune of the day by allowing the mind to drift amongst its to-do-list. Allow some drifting time to notice what you are really stressed about, and then hone in your ability to fix or complete these tasks. Over time, you’ll become so in tune with what you are really stressing about that you’ll have the power to turn on and off focus at will.
If you live with family, enjoy breakfast and some chit chat before everyone goes their separate ways and conquers the day. Don’t live with family, or anyone for that matter? No sweat, meet up with a friend for a cup of coffee or call someone. It’s about managing the stress of the morning while still allowing yourself and others to be human with one another. Underneath all of the stress and life-missions everyone has we are all still social creatures looking for love.