Steps to Incorporate for a Smoother Start to the Day
Upon waking, are your first thoughts your "To-Do List"? Yeah, I'm guilty too. I typically have a long list of things I would like to execute for the day. But I try to push my thoughts of what I need to do aside to give a more peaceful start to my day. How the day begins is important to our mental health and decreasing stress levels. I mean, who really wants to face challenges when trying to handle the stuff we have on the "To-Do List"? So it is important to set the tone for the day from the very beginning.
It is common for most individuals to sit in bed for a few minutes checking their phones. Emails, banking information, social media platforms, responding to those "good morning" text messages, etc become the focal point within minutes of opening our eyes. But from what science has made apparent, doing this repeated cycle of checking our phones or thoughts focused on what we have to get done, first thing when we wake up actually increases our stress levels, causes our brains to go in overdrive, and distracts us from being present at the moment of when we become conscious of our surroundings.
Here are a few steps you can do in place of swarming thoughts or reaching for your phone.
This is an important part to any daily routine. It is always recommended in my practice for my clients to stretch at least twice a day. Performing daily stretches not only keeps the body limber but gives a gentle way of warming up, gets the circulation flowing, assists the lymphatic system to remove toxins, and gears up the joints for the upcoming movements and stress we apply on a daily basis.
Stretching provides a great feel once done and releases endorphins that leave us with a happier mood. I recommend for most individuals to practice once in the morning upon waking and doing so again right before bed. Doing this a minimum of twice a day will get you going for the the start ahead and move out any kinks you might have built up throughout the day.
Make Your Bed
This seems like a very basic and almost obvious step to do in the morning. However, it is actually common among people who have busy lifestyles for them not to make their beds first thing when waking. When in fact, it can actually ease anxiety and tension. It becomes one less task or thought when coming home. Imagine, getting ready for work, taking on a long shift, been gone for most of the day to return home with the bed already made! It is as if the maid came in and set it all right again.
Making the bed changes the perspective of the room. Giving a cleaner, more organized feel which eases stress by giving a welcoming feeling. So if you don't already do this first thing in the morning, give it a try and see if there is a difference when you come home after a long day.
When we go to sleep, the body is still working hard. There are processes such as detoxing, repair, and restoring the body for a new day. When we wake up, the body is still working its way through a fast. No food, no water for several hours, which leaves us dehydrated. The body is made up of about 65-70 percent water. So staying hydrated impacts a lot of bodily functions.
Along with staying hydrated, drinking water will give your body a chance to fire up the digestion process. As we know now, digestion is where everything happens for our body. It is the area of absorption of nutrients, the place where these nutrients are directed to their designated spots, and also the main focus for the result of many health issues. Staying hydrated gives the digestion process a chance for a head start.
5 Minutes of Silence
This one is typically undervalued. As simple as it sounds, setting aside 5 minutes in the morning before answering messages or emails, gives a moment of peace, increases mental focus, and regains perspective for the day. This allows our brain to take a break from the mental stress and at times, emotional stress we face throughout this wonderful thing we call "Life".
Taking these 5 minutes is a great way to focus on your breath. Breathing deeper and slower with each inhale and exhale. When we focus more on our breath, this tends to calm our nervous system, in turn, will keep our body in rest mode.
Take a Look At Nature
The weather may not always be ideal but we can take a moment to look out the window and see the beauty our lovely planet provides. It has been known being in nature or even taking in a nice view has a calming effect on the brain. It helps to relax and reduce current stress. What better way to start off the day than with Mother Nature. If the weather happens to be just right, it might give you the push to go for a walk or a little jog.
The "To-Do List" can wait a few more minutes before the day really gets started. Give yourself a moment to wake up to a new day with less stress, less anxiety, and apply more focus on the current surroundings.