Life coach Sylvia LaFair says that “brushing with your right hand on Monday and your left hand on Tuesday will keep you from falling into a traditional pattern of always doing the same thing in the same way.” Similar to taking a different route to work every day, switching up your routine gets your creative juices flowing.
Sylvia LaFair also suggests turning on the classical station or putting on your favorite inspirational song. “Anything by Mozart or The Beatles will create inner harmony for the day.” Channel Kate Winslet in The Holiday, and wake up to the upbeat “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” by Jet, or craft a morning playlist that starts with quieter tunes, and builds up the tempo as you wake up. Apps like Alarmify allow you to wake up to your favorite Spotify playlist.
Not awake yet? According to Livestrong, “Morning stretches can improve posture, alleviate aches and pains, increase blood flow, and give you greater energy reserves to power the rest of the day.” So even if you can’t rack up the courage to hit the gym at 6 a.m., know that even a quiet 15-minute stretch session at home is beneficial to your body and your mind.
We all know staying hydrated is good for you, but drinking a glass of water right when you wake up has a surprising number of health benefits, says Vancouver-based naturopathic expert Dr. David Duizer. “Without starting your day with adequate water intake, we are likely to remain dehydrated for the rest of the day,” he says. “Hydrating your cells with 1/2 to 1 liter of water first thing in the morning is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It helps with mental clarity, energy, and mood.”
Cameron Diaz is known to chug a liter of water every morning, but we think that drinking it slowly works too. Try filling a 25-ounce bottle of water and cooling it in the fridge overnight. Make a point to grab the bottle from the fridge first thing when you wake up, and make sure you drink it all before you leave the house.
A 2013 study by the American Sleep Foundation found that “light suppresses the production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin,” so waking up in a sun-drenched bedroom will make you feel much more energized and awake. Conversely, waking up in a dark room could have the opposite effect—leaving you feeling sluggish. Programmable shades are fantastic because they can be set on a timer to wake you up. If these aren’t an option, swap out your blackout curtains for sheer ones.
Trick yourself into not crawling back into bed by making it as soon as you get up. Studies have shown that the most productive mornings start with accomplishing the smallest of task—like making your bed—so you’ll be setting a positive tone for your entire day.
Geri Hirsch, co-founder of Leaf.tv, is a firm believer in the health benefits of freshly squeezed lemon juice in a cup of warm water. Lemon juice is cleansing and energizing, balances your pH levels, clears your skin, and even boosts your immune system. So before you reach for a cup of coffee, consider this healthy alternative. Gwyneth is also a convert.
Some of us (myself included) don’t get hungry in the morning, but that is to excuse to skip breakfast. According to an Entrepreneur article, “A healthy breakfast gives you energy, improves your short-term memory, and helps you to concentrate more intensely and for longer periods.” Cook something you love, and take the time to sit down and enjoy. Keeping portions small will also make this important meal more manageable.
What are your tried-and-tested tricks for a successful morning? Share your wisdom with us in the comments below.