The Best Way to Start Your Day
Many of us no doubt fall into bed each night without really thinking too much about how we’re going to start the next day.
We probably only tend to think about it if we’re anticipating an especially momentous event, something that we’re excited or apprehensive about.
But how good would it be to start every day feeling well-rested, positive and looking forward to the day that lies ahead?
A few practical steps can make a big difference to how well you start your day.
Try to avoid a heavy conversation with your friend or partner late into the evening, no matter how necessary it may feel. If important things need to be discussed agree on another time that suits you both, when everyone can fully commit to talking things through without time constraints.
If you’re stressed and going through a particularly busy time, could you benefit from using a list? Itemising what needs to be dealt with can clear your mind, reassure you that you won’t forget important items and offer you the satisfaction of crossing things off once they’re done.
Let others help. It might be through delegating, perhaps to staff, family or even children. Or consider hiring help, by way of a cleaner, gardener, or accountant; someone who will share your load, whilst ensuring that important tasks are still undertaken.
Sometimes saying ‘no’ needs to happen. Refusing requests and even invitations may well need to be done on occasion. It lets others know that there are limits to your benevolence, reminds them that you have a busy life and is a good way to register that you remain in control of your choices.
One very obvious step is to go to bed at a reasonable time. How many of us continue checking online ‘just’ once more or watch another episode of a show that we’ve been enjoying? Decide in advance how much sleep you want, what time you need to get up and then calculate the time you need to go to bed. Be firm with yourself about sticking to the plan.
Avoid the temptation to press the snooze option on your alarm in the morning. You’re only gaining an extra few minutes, but staying in bed can cause you to eventually wake up with an irritable, weary mindset about the day ahead.
Some people like to start the day with a walk, run or visit to the gym. It wakes them up and puts them in a good mood. It’s their ‘me time’. Have your kit ready, so you can get up quickly, dress and be out of the house. Then you avoid any distractions because you’re functioning almost on auto-pilot. Whatever the weather, you’re not going to dither about going out. There will be no deliberations about it raining or being too cold. You’re out and back before you’ve hardly had time to think and it’s a great way to set you up for the day.
Meditation or yoga practice is another way that some people like to start their day well. They allow thirty minutes practise to get themselves into a calm, gentle place, so focusing on clearing their minds, being in the moment, ready for the day that lies ahead.
A shower, using zesty shower gel is a good way to wake up and start your day, particularly following an early morning exercise routine. In the evening a bath with relaxing oils and candles is a lovely way to wind down before bed, but in the morning it’s good to use more energising fragrances to wake us up, so that we feel awake and ready to go.
Some families like to eat breakfast together first thing. It’s a companionable way to ensure that everyone’s eaten, although it may need an organised approach, having to set the table, accommodating each person’s timetables. But having a meal together allows everyone to ease into their day at a gradual pace.
If breakfast is not always feasible, try to have some healthy options available with which to kick start your metabolism. Fresh fruit, nuts, water are good ways to feel positive about the fuel you’re feeding your body and moving out of sleep mode.
Another way to start your day well is, on a nice day, to interrupt your commute a stop early. It could be good to walk a little way to school or work and you may even bump into someone you know and exchange a few friendly words.
Have something to look forward to planned for the end of the day. It can be a real lift to your mood and energy levels to know that you’re soon meeting a friend for coffee, have bought ingredients for a favourite meal or are going to watch a film you’ve been wanting to see. Little touches can really help the way you feel throughout your day.
Take time to plan ahead and invest in the quality of your days. Then you’ll soon discover the best way to start your days.
Susan Leigh, South Manchester Counsellor & Hypnotherapist www.lifestyletherapy.net