Our morning routine is extremely crucial when we are looking to build a productive day. Every one of us actually wants to be productive every day. If you do not feel you are being that productive, or if you feel you can do better, or still feel low in your energy early in the morning: check what your morning routine actually consists of and see what you can improve.
Do you have a morning routine, to begin with?
Do you have a routine that you follow? What I am asking here is divided into 3 main umbrella points:
- Physical boost routine
- Mental boost routine
- Emotional boost routine
Including one or two activities under each umbrella would help boost your energy level in each of these categories. At, the end of the day, your whole body integrates everything together and the effect will become much higher.
I might have a morning routine post waking up, but I still feel low energy all-day
This is a very common question I encounter. I was also there at some point in my life, especially when I started my job and was into the 1.5 year time. I used to wake up tired, literally had to motivate myself to go to work, and would feel low energy throughout the day. During my menstrual cycle that would just triple its effect.
All I needed to do was track what I was doing all day, and how I was handling my morning routine. Waking up 20 minutes before work was way too much stress and that was actually increasing my overall cortisol level. You know what cortisol does? It increases stress in your body and also another thing called “fear”
The cortisol uptick caused in the morning literally would stay with me. I would be stressed out in the morning, stay stressed all day, and go to bed stressed out. The next morning the whole cycle would repeat again.
Then what should you do instead?
Well, surely a lot of us might have a high-stress life that comes with a natural cortisol uptick. What can you do about it?
You need 8 hours of sleep every night, you need to meet deadlines to prove your worth in your workplace (because, hello! You are a woman!!!!)
We also need to be a superwoman Mother and a woman who can equally take care of her work and life.
Yes! it is super hard. But if you include 20 minutes of your morning time in each of the sectors we discussed above, you might have a tremendously productive day throughout.
Post wake up physical boost tips:
These are the few items to check in your physical boost morning routine. See how many you currently have in your personal routine:
- Waking up at least 1.5 hours before work so that you do not stress yourself out.
- Morning Stretches: Start with some gentle Yoga stretches for the morning if you do not work out at all. Working out early in the morning boosts your endorphin level. Endorphins are natural fighters of stress, anxiety, and depression.
- A healthy breakfast: Giving your physical system a clear burst of energy would be to fuel yourself. Try to eat food that is rich in protein and omega 3. Eggs, avocados, and nuts are great examples of food to eat during breakfast.
- Postpone Caffeine intake to a couple of hours after you wake up: We need caffeine to function I understand. But research indicates our natural Cortisol level is higher immediately after we wake up. Higher Cortisol level functions similarly to the effect of caffeine (high alertness etc.) After a couple of hours, your cortisol effect would go down and you can boost your energy via caffeine intake.
- Hydrate yourself: Instead of caffeinating, hydrate yourself. Water flushes out all the harmful toxins and hence boosts your overall immunity.
So what we are doing here is instead of boosting the Cortisol effect, we are either creating a Cortisol effect fighter Endorphin or minimizing the Cortisol spike.
Post wake up Mental Boost tips
I recently came across the fact that personal growth is needed for us to be alive every day. This was a huge eye-opener for me. I am not saying start reading self-help books (that won’t be the worst idea!!!) but to understand that you are growing every day is important. See if you have any of these in your personal growth area (mental boost)
- Eating your breakfast and drinking your beverage without distraction: It is important to eat mindfully if you can. Mindful eating means just focus on the act of eating and do not look into your phone, checking your email, or reading the news. This consists of observing how your body reacts to the smell, taste, and touch of the food.
- Listening to an engaging Podcast rather than news: I have been focusing a lot lately on listening to enriching podcasts rather than obsessively listening to the news.
There are some excellent podcasts that I feel I have learned a lot from. Research shows obsessively reading the news can also contribute to a high Cortisol level (remember Cortisol can cause “fear”).
And we already established that Cortisol is not helping with a good morning routine.
- Read at least one chapter a day: Again this point circles back to, if you are learning something new every day. Reading boosts cognitive behavior and also contributes to learning something. Take that 20 minutes out in the morning to read at least one chapter (at least one page…)
- Meditation: I cannot begin to explain how helpful meditation is. Meditation alone can constitute my entire blog post. If you take time out for 10 minutes in the morning and just practice focused breathing, that can work wonders.
So in this section, what we are doing is boosting the feel-good chemical Dopamine that contributes to inspiration, learning ability, memory, etc. Increasing Dopamine will contribute to a boost in your overall mood.
Post wake up emotional boost tips:
Do not confuse the mental health with emotional health. The mental state lets us process information, while your emotional state expresses your feelings based on what we have processed. But while having a healthy morning routine, set aside some time to activate your emotional state as well.
- Active visualization of your goals: Visualizing where you want to go and what you want to do next can be a great emotional boost. If you have issues doing this visualization exercise in the morning on its own, try to make a vision board and stare at it.
- Gratitude list building: Studies show people who actively write down what they are grateful for in life are happier than people who do not. In a recent webinar with Robin Sharma that I attended, he explained the science of gratitude list building.
This is convincing oneself by their own self that they have a lot to be happy about. Focusing on life’s positives rather than on negatives. This automatically helps shift one’s perspective on life and let them view the world with a different lens.
Try to write down 5 things you are grateful for this morning.
- Journaling: Journaling could be a broader umbrella for gratitude listing. But if you consider normal journaling, where you have a blank page and you write down everything that comes to your mind. This is called brain dumping. You are dumping all the pent up feelings on a page that acts as an outlet. It is great for your emotional boost. Try it even when you are happy or when you are sad.
- Hug your loved ones in the morning: If you do not live alone, you can easily do this. Hugging your loved ones, pets have a very beneficial effect on our emotional health. A hug as short as 20 seconds can release the bonding hormone called oxytocin, which is the most natural anti-depressant. You have 20 seconds in the morning (come on!!!)
In this section, we released a variety of neurotransmitters including Dopamine, oxytocin, and Serotonin. All of these are natural fighters for depression, stress, and anxiety.
In conclusion I would like to say that including some of these items in your morning routine, does not take that much time. These are easily implementable but produces massive effect over time. 2020 showed us why we should focus more on the “Art of Living” and thus develop better habits for personal growth.