10 Tips to Start the Day off Right

By Maggie Voelker on September 13, 2011

We live hectic, busy lives. Many days we fall asleep stressed and awake to an alarm clock ringing and a to-do list waiting. Just thinking about this scenario has my blood pressure rising which is why it’s so important to begin these crazy days in the right mind set. Setting yourself up for a positive day through organization, stretching and meditation can energize us and prepare us for a whirlwind day.

Read on for 10 tips to start the day off right.

1. Plan ahead

Before you hit the hay, plan out your morning activities. Little things like packing your lunch, laying out your outfit, deciding how far to go on your morning run, and so forth will reap dividends in the morning. You’ll save yourself precious time that would’ve been spent running around or trying to decide what to wear, and you’ll keep your sanity intact by avoiding feeling rushed.

Extending your planning into the next day will also help combat stress. Knowing what the day ahead will bring allows you to manage your time well and mentally prepare yourself for the tasks at hand. Don’t overschedule yourself, understand what you can reasonably accomplish and don’t forget to add some time for something you love.

2. Get enough sleep

We’ve all heard the recommendations, but few of us actually heed them. Doctors suggest that getting seven to eight hours of sleep a night will prepare our minds and bodies for optimal performance in the day ahead. Keep your bedroom dark and comfortably cool for a goodnight’s sleep.

3. Give yourself time

Figure out how much time you need to get out the door in the morning and set the alarm accordingly the night before. Allowing yourself adequate time to accomplish your morning tasks will make it easier to be in a good mood. Rushing around in the morning is never good for one’s stress level and often leads to forgetfulness. Forgetting an important file for work or your lunch doesn’t bode well for the rest of the day.

4. Stretch

I doubt many of us hop out of bed as it is, but instead of simply lying there procrastinating the inevitable point at which you must get up, do some light stretching to loosen your muscles and release tension. Pull your legs, one at a time, up to your stomach and hold for a few counts. Then sit up and stretch your neck by doing neck circles for a few moments. Cross your arms, one at a time, over your body and hold as you stand-up out of bed. Now shake things out and begin your day.

5. Shower with a purpose

Continue your stretching in a warm shower. The hot water provides perfect conditions for a good stretch. It will loosen your muscles and get your blood flowing, further releasing tension and making you feel more awake. If you feel good physically, it will manifest mentally and help you remain positive throughout the day.

6. Forget the coffee

Dare I say it…skip the coffee. Instead, opt for water and green tea. Your body desperately needs water after its eight-hour stint without hydration. So first things first, drink a cold glass of water. Then replace coffee with green tea which is rich in antioxidants and amino acids; plus, it still provides you with some caffeine.

7. Eat a good breakfast

Dubbed “the most important meal of the day,” skipping breakfast is like asking for trouble. A balanced breakfast will give you the energy you need to tackle whatever the day throws at you. Aim to eat good carbohydrates, like whole grains, plenty of fiber and protein.

8. Get your “you time”

We’re constantly surrounded by others—our family, coworkers, strangers on the train—and it’s hard to get a moment totally to yourself and your thoughts. Try to schedule a little “you time” into each morning. This time is yours alone to go running, meditate, read the paper or take a walk. During this period turn off the television, zone out your distractions and concentrate on your body. If you’re meditating, pick a mantra to repeat, if you’re running, focus on your breathing and heart rate. Bottom line, do something you love and only good things will follow.

9. Enjoy some culture

Create a morning playlist that you wake up to or a CD for the commute to work. Music therapy has been proven to fight depression and stress. So load up iPod with oldies and start your day off with some good tunes. Don’t tell me a good Beatles song never put you in a good mood!

10. Be optimistic

“It’s going to be a good day.” Repeat that saying to yourself every morning or pick your own cheesy phrase to lift your spirits. Remind yourself that every day is a gift and be thankful for family, friends, your goldfish Nemo, your job, whatever it is that brings happiness to your life. Remember these things throughout the day to keep stress at bay.

About the author:

Maggie Voelker is a writer for a discount sunglasses provider. With an educational background in health, Maggie enjoys sharing her knowledge on nutrition, fitness and medicine. Outside of work, she enjoys vintage fashion, bargain hunting, exercising and concert-going.

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