How you start your day is how your day will go.
I made the mistake of waking up this morning to check my email right away, read all the news updates and top it off by reviewing my investment accounts. To say a state of exhaustion, fear, and sorrow ensued would be an understatement.
Sound familiar? Its no surprise, considering that 46% of Americans check their phones before even getting out of bed.
Things are changing daily in the news and although it’s more vital than ever to stay informed, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should wake up, grab your phone and start things off with this information overload.
Especially when it comes to working from home, having a morning routine in place will help structure your day and get you into a routine of positive action.
I have a morning routine that I live by, and this break from the routine was a perfect reminder that keeping positive habits is what will keep you healthy. Here are 5 things you can do during the first hour of your day to stay healthy and happy.
1. But first…water.
You have just been asleep for hours on end without any hydration. Before you do anything else in the morning, drink water. Set out a glass of water by your bed at night and drink it right when you wake up in the morning. Or, while you let the morning coffee brew, pour yourself a large glass of cool water and drink up. Get this, drinking cold water has shown to actually help burn a few extra calories as you digest it based on your body working harder to maintain its core temperature.
Considering that a reported 75% of Americans experience chronic dehydration, leading to a myriad of health complications, you should get into the habit of drinking more water. Remember, how you start your day is how your day will go.
2. Write morning pages.
A few months ago I was recommended the book The Artist Way, to help connect more deeply to my creative self. As a writer and actor, it has been transformational in my work and has expanded into all areas of my life. But, the most important thing the guidance of this book has given me is to something called: morning pages.
Each morning, find a quiet space and write three full pages about, literally whatever comes to mind. Allow your stream of consciousness to completely take over, even if the three pages are filled with “I am tired. I don’t know what to write.” that is okay. In time, your practice will grow and you’ll find solace in starting the day off connecting to yourself and your thoughts. This practice is meant to help move you to the other side of any fear, self-doubt or negativity.
Journaling, especially when you first way up, reduces anxiety and overwhelm that you may face during the day. This practice creates an opportunity to get your thoughts, feelings, and ideas out onto paper first thing in the morning without the need to over-analyze it all.
3. Get clear on your schedule.
When working from home it can be really tempting to start work immediately. If you aren’t careful, you will find yourself sifting through email all day, and all night long.
Before you power on the laptop, outline your work hours for the day and what tasks you plan to accomplish. Even if you are staying home all day, give yourself break time to enjoy lunch, read or go for a walk. The time you block for work is just as important as the time you block for yourself.
The more intentional you can become, the easier it is to accomplish your goals. When you set your schedule for the day ask yourself: “What is the one single thing I must get done today?”
4. Practice Gratitude.
When the coronavirus outbreak began to shut down schools and send people home, I hopped onto a business social media platform FairyGodBoss and shared the question: What are you grateful for?
The answers people posted were all eloquent and beautiful. People began to share stories of adjusting wedding plans, recovering from illness with the help of loved ones, and finding peace in the chaos. Their gratitude made me grateful.
Some days can be difficult, and the more you can find to be grateful for, even as a result of the struggle, the healthier and happier you will be. Research has shown that gratitude improves general well-being, increases resilience and reduces stress and depression.
Start each morning, and end each night, by listing three things you are grateful for. When you begin the day with gratitude, you will carry it with you throughout each moment that passes by.
5. Move around.
One of the perks of working from home is you have less commute time and more free time for you. Spend those extra 27 minutes that would’ve been spent in the car doing something active. A 2019 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that morning exercise improves attention, visual learning, and decision-making.
Not only that but, a morning workout may be a better match for your body’s hormonal fluctuations. Cortisol, a hormone that keeps you awake and alert, reaches its peak around 8 am. So get up and get moving.
This could be anything from a morning yoga flow or light stretching to a HIT (high-intensity training) workout or YouTube dance video series. Pick something that you love doing and give yourself the gift of movement.
So save the news updates and emails for once you complete these five habits, you will be better equipped to handle the day and keep yourself healthy!
All of these morning habits can be done in less than an hour. Give yourself one hour free from media, free from other people’s needs and focus on what you can control: yourself. If this sounds selfish, consider that when you take care of yourself, you can better take care of others.
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Previously published on Medium.