Mornings can be tough. Especially during winter time when it’s dark and gloomy outside. If you find it hard to get up at this time of year – you’re not alone, and there’s actually a very good reason for it (apart from that warm and snuggly duvet of yours).
Our bodies have natural circadian rhythms and our sleep patterns are dictated by our surroundings – and in particular, by light. As a result of this, we’re naturally wired to wake up from the light of dawn, but when it’s a pitch black winter morning, our bodies are being told ‘it’s not time to wake up yet.’
Night owls – fear not! Mornings aren’t something you should be afraid of. There are lots of things you can do to kick-start your day so you feel happy and refreshed. Here are 12 of our top tips:
1) Be active
Want to feel energised first thing in the morning? We say ‘fake it until you make it’ and jump out of bed. Ok, perhaps that’s a bit ambitious, but move your body and you’ll soon see a difference in mood. Whether it’s a bit of gentle yoga, swinging kettlebells or having a run, if you exercise first thing, you’ll get your endorphins flowing, send oxygen-rich blood around your body and you’ll feel instantly energised.
2) Take a (cold) shower
There’s no better way to wake you up than the rush of water on your skin. If you can brave it – why not switch the temperature to cold? It may sound like a shock to the system, but a cold shower can boost your alertness, increase tolerance to stress, relieve symptoms of depression, improve immunity, circulation and most importantly, give you energy.
3) An essential oil concoction for energy
Invest in a diffuser (we like ultrasonic diffusers) and combine a few drops of rosemary, peppermint, lemon and grapefruit. This powerful and invigorating mix will soon stimulate the senses and leave you feeling refreshed and ready to face the day.
4) Be grateful
We’re all guilty of sometimes starting our day by ‘tuning in’ to the world of social media, emails and being instantly ‘online’, but before switching on, why not take a moment to switch off? Write down a list of 10 things you’re grateful for. Studies have shown that regularly writing a gratitude journal can improve both psychological and physical health. It can boost self-esteem, empathy, mental strength and help you see a more positive outlook.
5) Don’t lie in
This is easier said than done, but did you know sleeping in at the weekend can actually be detrimental to your morning routine? The snooze button is just a tease – it drags you back into the sleep zone, only to wake you up with a shock minutes later. It’s just not worth it and can lead to metabolic health problems such as insulin sensitivity.
6) Consider a light therapy device
Did you know that over 2 million people in the UK suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)? This is when you feel low, lethargic, withdrawn and groggy during the winter months. The reason for it is that when light enters your eyes, serotonin is produced. During the winter months, there is less daylight which causes a drop in the body’s serotonin levels.
There are lots of light therapy devices you can get that vary from dawn simulators to light boxes. Get one that’s around 10,000 lux and put it on as soon as you wake up – it’ll mimic the sun and help you feel more energised.
7) Plan something exciting to get up for
Whether it’s reading your favourite book, painting, watching a video or eating a super delicious breakfast – if you plan to do something you enjoy first thing in the morning, it’ll help kick-start your day and make waking up easier. All it takes is some careful planning and prioritising your time.
8) A nice alarm tone
Most people despise their wake-up tone – are you one of them? Instead of a repetitive chime, why not switch things up and have an alarm tone that you actually like? This could be classic music, you’re favourite song or perhaps sounds of nature. Just make sure it’s something that’ll actually wake you up rather than sending you back into the land of nod.
9) Get journalling
One way to start the morning on a positive note is to get everything off your chest. Instead of launching yourself straight into work – take a moment to write down everything that’s on your mind. Write freely, don’t have a plan, just let your words be a ‘mind dump’ of everything that’s on your mind – from ‘things to remember’, to things that might be bothering you to things you’re excited about. Getting stuff out of your head and on to paper can be surprisingly soothing!
10) Get some sunshine
Easier said than done in winter time, but if the sun’s shining, get outside. Research has shown that being in the sun really does improve our health and wellbeing – even a few minutes in the sunshine can enhance memory, mood and not to mention – those all important vitamin D levels.
11) Drink water
Even if you don’t drink your eight recommended glasses a day, you can start the day on a good note with glass number one! Our bodies need water to survive and function at our best. Dehydration can really drain you of energy and slow down your metabolism – so start your day with a big glass of water to boost your health, digestion and your mood.
12) Energising foods
Scrap the coffee and instead get familiar with the many other energy-boosting foods out there. We’re a fan of dozens of natural goodies – but here are some of our favourites: dark leafy greens like kale and spinach are high in B vitamins (aka ‘the energy vitamins’ as well as vitamins A & C. Bananas are a beautiful energy-booster because of their high amount of the electrolyte potassium. Nuts and seeds like almonds and pumpkin seeds are packed full of healthy fats and lots of other wonderful minerals.
Peppermint (whether eating it or inhaling it in essential oil form) is known to decrease fatigue and the same goes for cinnamon. Chocolate first thing may seem like an indulgent treat – but did you know that chocolate is high in theobromine which is a natural stimulant that’s similar to caffeine?
So that’s it – 12 amazing tips to kick-start your morning routine. Whether it’s doing star-jumps, journalling or diffusing essential oils, we hope you find something that works for you!
If you enjoyed this – you might also like: 10 Tips To Improve Your Sleep.