Since the pandemic hit in 2020 and turned our worlds upside down in almost every imaginable way, waking up cheerful and ready to tackle your day may be more challenging than it once was. Hey, we get it. And while we aren’t here to blow sunshine and positivity up your you-know-what, we are here to tell you that you can actively start your day any way you want. And, we’re betting that you’d rather do it with a positive, can-do-it mindset rather than a negative I-can’t-possibly-deal-with-another-day-of-this-crap attitude. So, here are three great day-starters to consider. Try one or all three to set the tone for a productive and rewarding day, week, month, even year!
1. Speak Positivity Over Your Day
Your thoughts and what you say about yourself affect your mood and emotions. So, naturally, if you wake up berating yourself or freaking out about your daily to-do list, you’re not exactly off to a great start. Conversely, starting your day with a positive affirmation, like, “I am an amazing individual with so much to give,” sets quite a different tone, does it not?
Day-Starter Practice: As soon as you wake up, say something positive about yourself. Out loud. Don’t be shy. Research shows that talking to yourself out loud can help motivate you to achieve your goals, focus on tasks, and combat self-criticism.
2. Let the Sun Shine Down
Getting sunlight on your body first thing in the morning is great for so many reasons. That’s because early morning sunlight syncs your circadian rhythm, helping your body’s internal clock regulate specific hormones like melatonin, so you sleep better at night. And we all know that a good night’s sleep is a game-changer when it comes to starting your day off right. The morning sun also charges the cells’ mitochondria, giving you more energy throughout the day. Other studies show that morning sunlight can help with anxiety, boost mood, decrease inflammation and even reduce the risk of sunburn.
Day-Starter Practice: Weather permitting, as soon as the sun starts to rise, head outdoors sans sunglasses and allow sunlight to wash over you for 30 minutes. You can sip on your coffee, go for a walk, stand and stretch your muscles (or, heck, do the next tip listed below), you decide. If you can’t get up that early, get outside as soon as you wake up. If you can’t do 30 minutes, which experts say is the sweet spot for early morning sun exposure, then aim for at least 10-15 minutes.
3. Say, Ommmm!
Whether you are a stay-at-home parent or the CEO of a large corporation, meditation is fantastic day-starter. According to research, meditation builds focus, boosts energy, improves productivity, increases self-esteem, and counteracts worry, anxiety and stress. Studies have shown that the best time to meditate is first in the morning before the day's many distractions coalesce into a massive ball of busy-ness. Why? Because it stimulates the pituitary gland to secrete endorphins that help put you in a calm and peaceful state. Tips for success include creating a designated space to meditate, meditating at the same time every morning, sitting still with your eyes closed, and saying the words “in” as you inhale and “out” as you exhale. Overall, be kind to yourself. It’s a skill you will need to master, but you’ll get there.
Day-Starter Practice: If you’ve never meditated before, the idea might conjure images of yogis sitting cross-legged in a zen-like pose, hands resting on knees, fingers and thumbs forming O’s. Guess what? You don’t have to do that (unless you want to, of course). But, you can find a quiet place to sit down, relax and quiet your mind as you focus on the inhale and exhale of your breath in conjunction with the movement of your diaphragm. Do this for a minimum of 5 to 10 minutes every morning for a week and see how you feel. We're betting you'll feel more cool, calm, collected and better equipped to tackle the day.
In Closing ...
At the end of the day, it's how you start your day that matters. What you say to yourself in the morning matters. Morning sunshine and quiet meditation matter. These are just three ways you can kickstart your morning for a positive and productive day. Maybe you have others. The most important thing is that you actively do something with purpose and intention. Your mind and body – and even those around you – will thank you.
– By LaRue V. Gillespie, Senior Content Writer for Nutrishop