Monday mornings are tough.
Monday morning after Daylight Savings Time begins is brutal.
It’s likely going to be dark every time the alarm clock rings for the next month, depending on where you live, of course. The darkness, combined with your body’s need to adjust its circadian clock, makes the first few days after Daylight Savings Time begins especially difficult.
Your morning sets the tone for your entire day. If you approach it intentionally, you’re on your way to a more productive and fulfilling day. Here’s a list of 5 actions to take to help jump start your mind and body for the day.
1. Have purpose
We all have a reason for getting out of bed in the morning - and that reason goes beyond the need to get to work on time or get your kids dressed.
What’s your WHY?
You need to know why you do what you do. What drives you? Are you determined to be a great athlete? Do you want to provide opportunities for your family? Is there a social cause you’re impacting? Articulating your purpose helps get you through the messy, exhausting, and truly difficult days.
As an added bonus, having purpose may help your brain stay sharp as you age. Specifically, purpose likely strengths your cognitive reserves, which is necessary for warding off disease and other factors that contribute to cognitive decline. Researchers at Rush University in Chicago (2010) found that older people who reported high levels of purpose were less at risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease, displayed lower levels of cognitive impairment, and had less cognitive decline in general.
So, define your purpose, write it down, and use it as fuel in the morning.
2. Drink water
Soon after waking, drink two glasses of water (ideally, warm with a squeeze of lemon - so fancy). Your body has gone 6 to 8 hours without water, so it’s in desperate need of rehydration. And since your brain is approximately 80% water, it needs H2O to function optimally. Specifically, water has a direct effect on brain function by decreasing reaction time, speeding up cognitive processing, and improving memory.
Moving your body increases blood flow, which pumps more oxygen to the brain. Get your heart rate up with a few sun salutations, jumping jacks, or a jog/brisk walk. On a perfect morning, you’d do a full 30-minute to 1-hour workout, but on the busier days, even a 5-minute sweat sesh is a beneficial start to your day. Just move!
The right mindset is critical for whatever performance your day calls for. Start with a short, 5-minute meditation (check out my “notice the space” meditation), then increase the duration over time. The benefits of a morning meditation are numerous, but a couple short-term effects include improved attention and decreased stress.
5. Get fresh air
Instead of going directly from your house to your car to your office, take a few moments to get outside for some fresh air. The extra oxygen to your brain triggers the release of serotonin, which will help elevate your mood. It will also help you think clearer and energize your whole body.
Try implementing one or two of these tools every morning for the next week. Figure out what works for you, then put it in to practice on a regular basis. Go rock your mornings, so you can rock your day!