5 Ways To Kick-Start Your Mornings
I have done a range of different shift work jobs in my life, and getting started in the morning (whatever time that happened to be) was always the biggest struggle. When working for the police in London, we had shifts that started at 6 am, 8 am, 10 am, 2 pm, 6 pm, 7 pm, and 10 pm! Some shifts were 8 hours and the night shifts lasted 14 hours. We worked all of these shifts in a 1-month period. No wonder we were always tired, but, over a period of time, I worked out some simple strategies that really worked for me and can help you to kick-start your mornings.
How Do You Force Yourself To Get Up?
It’s not as simple as just getting 6 to 8 hours of sleep. Sure, the quality and duration of sleep are important, but how you manage after you have woken up can also have a big impact on the rest of your day. If you can get a pattern going whereby the morning does not feel so traumatic, then it is easier to get up because you know you will have the energy to cope throughout the day.
- Do you struggle to function properly until you have had at least one cup of coffee?
- Are you in a brain fog until halfway through the day?
- Do you slump into exhaustion halfway through your day?
There are simple ways to get around this. Try these 5 tips to kick-start your mornings, and do them every day.
What Is A Good Wake-Up Routine?
Our bodies are hard-wired to respond to routines. You know how important it is to get babies off to sleep by a certain time. Kids settle down to sleep easier if they have a bedtime routine. It’s just the same when you’re an adult – get a good routine going. Even if it is your day off, and you have had a 3-hour lie-in, still start the day the same way. Then you have the energy to really enjoy the rest of your day off. It is the repetition that forms a trigger that makes it all the more effective.
Drink Lemon Water First Thing
- Before you go to bed, get a glass of water and squeeze half a lemon into it. I use a glass that has a plastic lid on it. This means that I won’t drink it by accident during the night. Put it on your night stand and as soon as you sit up in the morning, chug the lemon water back.
- If you wait until you get into the kitchen, it can be too late. This lemon water needs to hit your empty stomach and when it does, it causes all kinds of good stuff in your bowel. Acidified water in your bowel adds a massive hit of hydration right at the time your body needs it most. You will find it easier to have a good poop in the morning (always a good thing to get out of the way) and you will also find you have fewer aches and pains as a consequence of the acidity.
- It also really wakes you up and will definitely kick-start your mornings!
Clean Your Teeth & Tongue
The lemon water is quite acidic, so you want to brush this off your teeth as soon as you can, or it will wear away the enamel. There’s another important reason as well.
- If you don’t have breakfast, you need to clean your teeth anyway, so, the job is done! If you do have breakfast, all that gunk in your mouth is going to be mixed in with your food. All the time you are sleeping, your body is doing the housework and cleaning out toxins. A big exit point for some of this is your mouth, all over your teeth, and on your tongue. That’s why so many people wake up with moose-breathe!
- Cleaning your teeth as soon as you get up not only neutralizes the lemon water, but it cleans out all that toxic stuff that you really don’t want back in your body. If you want to clean your teeth again after breakfast, that’s cool.
- Use the toothbrush to clean your tongue as well, or buy a cheap tongue scraper. It actually becomes fascinating seeing just how much you can scrape off! Dental hygienists agree it is useful, although several assess tongue scraping solely on how it affects halitosis, missing the point altogether about whether you want to ingest all that crud again.
Eat Some Breakfast
It really is a good idea. If you are a bit queasy about eating so soon, or as is often the case, there just doesn’t seem to be time, try overnight oats.
- Buy a bag of organic porridge oats – it’s important that they are organic. Regular oats have been developed to have a short root system, which makes for easier farming. Organic oats have a longer root system that can reach further down into the soil. This is where Magnesium Phosphate (an important mineral) can be found, and the plant picks this up through its root system.
- Magnesium Phosphate is just brilliant for tired, overworked muscles. It also makes you quite chilled and less stressed. Sounds good? Magnesium Phosphate is reduced when you cook it, so I want you to eat the oats raw. No, I’m not bonkers (but don’t ask my friends for their opinion!).
- If you take a handful of oats and put them into a Tupperware-type container with a screw lid at night, then add some tap water to cover. Add anything else you like, some dried sultanas, dried banana chips, walnuts – whatever you like in muesli. Put the lid on the container and leave it there at room temperature.
- If you do have time for breakfast, this is a great start. The overnight soak sort of cooks the oats, and they become creamy and very digestible. As it is a complex carbohydrate, you get a slow, controlled energy release that is great for energy, without giving you a spike or a slump. It can take you right through to lunch. It also gives you a great source of soluble fiber (that’s good for tomorrow’s poop!)
- If you don’t have time, take the pot with you. Would it be acceptable to eat it on the bus or train? If not, how about as soon as you get into work? If you don’t like to eat anything until mid-morning, how about eating it then?
There’s a great free recipe here which includes nuts and apples.
This may surprise you and is just a bit too “what?” but, bear with me. Meditation does not need to be sitting cross-legged for hours at a time. Put in your earbuds or headphones and listen to something from your phone while you travel to work. Does this work for you, sitting on the bus or train in your own little world for just 10 or 15 minutes? Just to say – DON’T do this if you are driving to work. If you do drive there, can you find 10 minutes before you start?
I really like Insight Timer as there are thousands of free, short, guided meditations. One of my favorites is by Elizabeth Caroline – I like her voice and what she brings but can find your own favorite.
Take Rhodiola To Kick Start Your Mornings
Rhodiola is a herbal supplement that I find simply amazing. It strengthens the body during stress, gives energy, improves mental clarity and focus, and increases vitality. More importantly, it restores depleted adrenal function, which is hard to do normally. This is important after long periods of illness or stress. It works almost instantly for me, and it’s non-addictive. You get no cravings for it when you don’t take it and when you do take it, it simply works.
Products like caffeine drinks and energy drinks all give what I call “borrowed energy”. There is always some time to need to pay back what has been borrowed. They can also leave you a bit jittery and craving for the next hit. No such effects with Rhodiola.
It’s a big favorite in Russia, and there is an analogy that I like from there. When a flat-fronted barge goes along a canal, the flat front butts up against the water and causes ripples. This slows the boat down and more energy from the engine is needed to go ahead. It can also become a bumpy journey as the ripples bounce back from the river banks.
If you put a pointy bit on the front of the boat, it streamlines the journey. Less energy is needed and, because there are fewer ripples, it is a smoother journey. The key point is that you have not “borrowed” more energy, and you haven’t changed the nature of the canal banks or the water in the canal. All you did was put a pointy bit on the front of the barge.
Rhodiola puts a pointy bit on the front of your life! It needs to be a supplement with a strong potency of salidroside to be most effective, like these I found on Amazon.
A Good, Easy To Implement Strategy
Even if you have had a disturbed night’s sleep because your baby was teething, the neighbor’s car alarm woke you up or, just because you have a quick shift turnaround, you will be surprised how well your body suddenly kicks in when the alarm goes off to get up.
Whether your morning starts at 7 am, 11.30 am, or 7.30 pm (oh, how I hated those 14-hour night shifts!), having the same triggers that alert your body to the fact that it is now ready to go to work is a simple and effective way to kick-start your mornings.
Let me know how well these strategies work for you and any other ideas you find effective.
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