How you start your day sets the tone for how the rest of your day will pan out. Making a positive start and reducing stress before your day has properly begun helps to smooth the path. Some simple tweaks to your routine can go a long way:
Gratitude Journaling. Take a few minutes before you get out of bed to write down a few things you are grateful for. Keep it simple – I am grateful for a good night’s sleep / loving partner / happy children. This reflective self-care practice has a calming and soothing effect and sets a positive tone for the day.
Breathe Deeply. Practice abdominal breathing for thirty seconds or so. Put your palms on your abdomen and breathe into your belly space as if inflating a balloon. This practice lowers stress and helps to centre your energy for the day ahead.
Wake up the Senses. Splash cold water on your face, sniff a little water into your nostrils, swish some around the mouth. Pat your face dry, look at yourself in the mirror and smile.
Check out to Check in. Avoid checking your devices until you absolutely have to. Work can wait until you get there, right?!
Hydrate. Sip hot or warm water to hydrate and get your digestion going.
Move Your Body. In a way that works for you. The morning is the best time to exercise. A short yoga practice is ideal. Five minutes is better than nothing – try a few simple cat stretches to wake up the spine, and child’s pose to ground yourself. Long commute? Build in time for a short walk on your way to the office.
The body likes routine, especially so your digestion. Good digestion is the most significant factor in our overall health. So much can impact it – not just what we eat, but how and when we eat, along with many other factors including anxiety.
The single biggest positive change to your health you can make is a simple one.
Eat your main meal at lunch time. This is when your digestive capacity is at its maximum. It’s when we’re designed to eat the most. It has the added benefit of forcing you to pause. Take time out to eat well.
Eat lightly in the evening and not too close to bed time. You’ll sleep better and feel more energised throughout the day as well as having more free time in the evenings. Let go of the notion of a traditional evening meal. If you want to dine out, go for lunch instead of dinner. It’s usually cheaper and restaurants will be less crowded.
Equally, how you end the day has a big impact on how the following day begins. It’s important to wind down before sleeping.
Exercise sleep hygiene. We live in an overstimulated society. Have a device curfew. No scrolling through social media before bed. Allow some quiet reflective time to disengage the mind. If you have a meditation practice, this is a perfect time to do it. The deep breathing practice detailed above will help too.