With much of the world in lockdown, mornings have changed for most people, and it can be hard to shift to a new routine.
But starting the day positively can result in higher productivity and a general sense of wellbeing – something we probably all need right now.
Here are 10 ways to start your day right in lockdown…
1. Wake up in plenty of time to start work
Now your commute consists of walking a few steps rather than taking the bus or driving, you’re likely to have some extra time on your hands first thing.
It’s tempting to lie-in before rolling out of bed five minutes before your start time, arriving bleary-eyed to your morning conference call in pyjamas.
By all means, make sure to get seven or eight hours of sleep, but also give yourself enough time to properly wake up and prepare for the day, before you sit down at your new makeshift home office set-up.
2. Shower and get dressed
When our routines suddenly change, even the basics can go out the window.
According to research by CherryDigital.co, one in 10 people surveyed who are working from home amid coronavirus say they don’t shower or bathe every day. While 15% of respondents said they don’t get out of their sleeping attire.
Sure, your pyjamas feel cosy and no one on your office video chat will ever know you’re not professionally dressed from the waist down, but by mid-morning it will feel better if you’re clean and in real clothes.
3. Make your bed
There is plenty of research suggesting making your bed in the morning has a positive impact – and it might be the world’s easiest success habit. Charles Duhigg wrote in his book The Power of Habit: “Making your bed every morning is correlated with better productivity, a greater sense of wellbeing, and stronger skills at sticking with a budget.”
He claims that doing it at the beginning of the day kick-starts a pattern of good behaviour.
Boosting your money-saving skills could be wishful thinking, but it’s a healthy morning habit to get into.
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When you’re staying inside a lot, it’s natural to feel sluggish some mornings. Plus, being less physically active in the day can mean more tension in your body.
Starting the day with some simple stretching can do wonders to not only wake you up, but help increase flexibility, reduce aches and niggles, and relax.
Look for resources online for examples of spinal twists, neck stretches, side stretches and simply reaching both arms straight towards the ceiling, are a good place to start. You only need five minutes.
5. Get some fresh air
If you’re lucky enough to have a garden or balcony, get outside and take some long, deep breaths in the fresh air. If not, open a window.
There’s research to prove that even a short amount of exposure to fresh air can make you feel invigorated and is associated with greater vitality. Try and spend five or 10 minutes still, outside, not looking at your phone, and just ‘be’.
6. Do a 15-minute workout
If you can muster the motivation, doing a quick blast of exercise will get your blood pumping and your heart rate up, ready to start the day. Pre-breakfast is an ideal time – Joe Wicks swears by ‘fasted’ workouts, and says even 15 minutes is better than nothing.
Find a short YouTube workout, do some star jumps, squats, push ups, or grab a skipping rope. You’re likely to feel more energised, less stressed and will continue to burn calories as you sift through the mass of morning emails.
There’s also nothing like the endorphin-filled smugness that comes with doing exercise while most other people are still in bed.
7. Make a nutritious breakfast
Nutrition experts have long believed that a healthy breakfast is key to starting your day off right.
The basic formula is carbs and protein together; for example, wholegrain toast with eggs or peanut butter, porridge with a sprinkle of nuts, or fresh fruit with yoghurt or muesli.
The trick is to get some vitamins in first thing and to ensure any spread or cereal you eat isn’t high in artificial sugar.
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8. Practise gratitude
It’s natural to struggle to come to terms with the current situation, and what it means for your day-to-day life, but when freedom is stripped away, it can also leave you feeling grateful for what you do have.
Whether it’s a safe place to live, friends and family to video chat with, or simply that the sun is shining.
Taking stock of these things – by writing them down or just making a mental note – will help you focus on what’s really important right now.
9. Drink a pint of water
Most people don’t drink the recommended six to eight glasses of water a day, so make getting there much easier and start with a pint straight after waking up.
Drinking enough water is vital for overall health, including brain function, and is said to help keep your mind sharper, improve mood and aid digestion. Try it for a week and see if you feel any different.
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10. Get into a positive mindset
It’s a difficult time for most people and, right now, there’s no indication of when social distancing measures might be relaxed, so it’s easy to frequently feel negative and anxious.
The power of positive thinking has been well documented though, and many experts believe being hopeful in the face of adversity can make a huge difference to how you’re able to cope and get on with life.
First thing in the morning is the perfect time for a spot of optimism, and you may find you’re happier throughout the day as a result.