Mornings are tough for everyone, even those frustratingly chipper morning people. You have to start a whole new day from scratch no matter what is going on in your life or the world around you and no matter how tired you feel. If there was any way to get the morning off to a better start, it would go a long way. Chris Zaal understands that, and he has five tips to help you clear your mind and start your day fresh.
Every person is unique, and your mornings won’t and shouldn’t look like anyone else’s. The most important way to start a morning fresh is to schedule around your physiology. If you start mornings bright and cheerful, get up early to be productive before the first item on the schedule. If mornings are a struggle, give yourself enough time to get through these suggestions before your demanding obligations start. Read through all of the recommendations, and then plan your morning around them.
Drink a Glass of Water
A lot of people start their morning with a cup of coffee. Whether or not you are facing caffeine dependency is a whole other issue. However, starting the day with a glass of water will help you on a physiological level. Your body loses water during a night of sleep. If you drink a glass of water before anything else, you can get back to peak hydration before your day really starts. It will help you wake up. It will sharpen your mind and generally improve the start of your day. A glass of water also buys you a little bit of time before you are dragged into the mentally taxing parts of your day. It can be meditative.
This is where Chris Zaal defies conventional wisdom. A hearty breakfast, cup of coffee, and morning news are classic ways to wake up and get your brain going. They are all sources of stimulation that have nothing to do with how you want your morning to start.
A cup of coffee is rewarding before you have time to accomplish anything. So is tasty food and the emotional release of reading news (or watching videos on the internet). All of these things make you feel some way before your day truly begins. They don’t help you start the day with clarity — quite the opposite. Until you get into the meat of your morning, avoid stimulation and things that make you feel much of anything.
Stick to water and a light breakfast (if you even need breakfast). Stay off of the internet. Enjoy a little silence with yourself. This, more than anything, will keep your mind clear at the start of your day. When you plan correctly, you’ll find yourself a little bored before your day gets going, and this is surprisingly motivating.
You don’t need to start the day by redefining your self-worth or succeeding in life-changing achievements. Instead, you want an easy, reliable victory to start the day. For many people, this is as simple as making the bed. It doesn’t take much, but you’re beginning the day by accomplishing something on your list.
You are setting a precedent for success, and it helps your mind prepare for more accomplishments and productivity. You can fiddle with your first win of the day, but Chris Zaal suggests you try making your bed after your morning water and only a few minutes before your day officially starts in your mind.
Focus on the Night
All of this isn’t very meaningful if you don’t get good sleep. You’re an adult. You already know about time management, and you have already decided how much time you’re going to devote to sleep. Chris Zaal suggests focusing on improving sleep quality.
Try to hydrate before bed. Learn your sleeping habits to help yourself breathe better at night. This might require a sleep study and CPAP machine. It might be as simple as getting a new pillow or using saline gel. Invest mental energy into the problem. If your sleep quality improves, your mornings will be better.