Feel like a zombie first thing? Find it hard to get started? Try these suggestions to help you rise and shine—and be effective from morn till night
1. Get up earlier
Sleeping in can be a hard habit to break. But essentially it involves two things—going to bed earlier and getting up earlier. Start off by going to bed 15 minutes before your usual turn-in time and setting your alarm the same number of minutes earlier the next day. Gradually reset your sleep cycle until you get to your desired wake-up time.
2. Have a good stretch in bed
Before you even open your eyes, stretch every extremity for 15 seconds. Lift your arm and begin by stretching each finger, then your hand, next your wrist and then your arm. Move on to your toes, feet, ankles and legs. End with a neck and back stretch that gets you out of bed. You will just have limbered up your muscles and joints and enhanced the flow of blood through your system, providing your tissues with extra oxygen.
3. Set your clothes out the night before
The fewer choices you have to make first thing, the better. Before going to bed, decide what you’re going to wear, work out which route you’ll take to work and pack your bag.
4. Have a stress-free shower
We spend an average of 12 minutes in the shower. That’s fine and dandy when you’re getting ready for a date, but in the morning you need to get in and out quickly. Try using two-in-one products like a combined shampoo and conditioner. And when you wash, just hit the hot spots—your groin area and armpits.
5. Schedule exercise for the morning
You’ll get it out of the way and it’ll leave you feeling energised for the day ahead. Not only that, research has found that people who work out in the morning are more likely to stick at it.
6. Consult your morning calendar
Hang a large whiteboard in your kitchen. On it, write down all you need to know for that particular day, from the plumber coming to service the boiler to what you’re doing with the grandchildren. Check it carefully while you sip your first cup of coffee or tea. It will help you to structure your day.
7. Sip cocoa
While a cuppa or a coffee might well pep you up first thing, cocoa might be just what you need when you tackle that first creative task of the day. Research shows that one cup of pure cocoa a day for five days can increase blood flow in the brain, hands and legs, as well as helping regulate blood pressure.
8. Create a calmness ritual
Spend a few minutes each morning reminding yourself of your blessings. Your ritual might involve you sitting outside or in a calming room in your home. Take a few deep breaths and call to mind three things or people who make life worth living. Then pledge to do one small thing that day to help someone else.
Susannah Hickling is twice winner of the Guild of Health Writers Best Consumer Magazine Health Feature