Mornings can be rough, especially during the fall and winter months. The work hours are long, the days are short, and all you want to do is curl up with Netflix, a warm blanket and your drink of choice.
But you don't have to go through your whole day waiting for the end of it. You could actually enjoy your day. It all starts with your morning routine.
Your morning sets the tone for the rest of your day. So by making your morning amazing, you can make the rest of your day amazing.
Here are 7 easy steps to create your best morning ever, which should then lead to better days all year round.
1. Take 30 minutes to read at night.
The key to having your best morning ever is getting enough sleep the night before. And the key to getting enough sleep the night before is being able to relax before bed to prepare your body for sleep.
There's a lot of hullabaloo about how to get to sleep easily, but the best thing to do is really quite simple: Put the phone, TV, computer or any other stimulating devices away.
Make everything around you as peaceful as possible. Then get a glass of cool water, and spend 30 minutes reading a casual book. I personally prefer memoirs or anything by Malcolm Gladwell.
Reading helps reduce stress and helps your brain relax. The water hydrates your body. Together, these prepare you for a restful night's sleep.
2. Get as close to eight hours of sleep as you can.
Some people need more sleep. Some need less. The average for what someone needs is about eight hours. If you think you only need something like six hours or fewer, you could be killing yourself.
Generally, you should shoot for eight hours of sleep to be well-rested, which helps you craft your best morning ever far more easily.
3. Drink a tall glass of cool water as soon as you wake up.
When you sleep, you're basically just stewing in your own juices. Gross.
Your body loses hydration while you sleep, and even a 1-percent loss in hydration can cause a significant dip in productivity (and happiness, for that matter).
So if you want to have your best morning ever, you need to stay fully hydrated. And for whatever reason, cool water seems to work better than warm water.
4. Drink a cup or two of coffee.
Believe it or not, this is not for the caffeine (though that certainly helps). Black coffee is actually the richest source of antioxidants you'll find.
The reason health specialists recommend eating fruits and vegetables is for their antioxidants. But coffee actually gives you more of them. In fact, the health benefits of drinking black coffee every day are well documented.
Between the caffeine and all those vitamin and minerals, a cup or two of coffee is better than even the most elaborate morning shakes and smoothies.
5. Do something active.
Go for a walk around your block, get a full workout in, do some yoga in the living room, play a round of ping-pong — do something to stretch your muscles and get your blood flowing.
Morning exercise, even light movement, gets dopamine and serotonin (the happy chemicals) flowing in your brain. It also helps your body process that morning's water and coffee.
Whether it's for five minutes or 45 minutes, doing something active in the morning kickstarts your body and mind so that you're more productive and happier throughout the day.
I'll often do a few minutes of core exercises, or go for a walk. It doesn't work up a sweat, but it's enough to do the trick.
6. Take time to relax.
When I do something on my phone or computer early in the morning, I feel drained for the rest of day. But if I take half an hour to read or to write, I feel immensely better throughout the day.
We all know screens, however useful, are draining. If you're going to create your best morning ever, swap the screens for something that's relaxing.
7. Shower and dress well.
Whether it's due to preference or a “lack of time,” a lot of people tend to skimp on cleaning up in the morning. This hurts your productivity and mental stamina.
Showers cut out the noise. They give us time to think. And showers always seem to have the power of refreshing, of making you feel better.
When you feel better, you do better. It's also well documented that dressing better helps you feel happier and be more productive throughout the day. Who doesn't want that?
Take the extra time to get clean and to dress sharp. Feeling awesome, alert and confident are all important to your best morning ever, which is important to your best day ever.
Now get out there and have a great day!