The claim of a well-balanced lifestyle seems slightly patronising doesn’t it? What does a well-balanced lifestyle even mean? For some it could mean a great work-life balance. For others it could mean maintaining a healthy diet. A well-balanced lifestyle has an array of definitions, but they all stem from the idea of productivity. If I’m pro-active, particularly in the morning, I can go forward with a positive day.
I’ve been a morning person for as long as I can remember. That may seem like an annoying characteristic to have but, as my Dad would say, ‘the early bird catches the worm’. So true it is. I’ve watched my parents start their day from as early as 5am. As a teenager, I never understood why. I now understand, more than ever, that those few hours in the morning can have a massive impact on the rest of your day and what you choose to do within that time is vital. Greg Adenauer’s 7 Mini-Habits To Success; is a great book to pick up for those who are a little unorganised as it teaches you to use the power of quantum habits to build a more successful future. Sounds a little ‘new-age’, but it’s changed my perception of how I utilise my time.
Below are a few habits which I like to incorporate into my daily morning routine. Granted, some people are pushed for time in the mornings and I appreciate that. However, everyone and I mean EVERYONE has 10 minutes to incorporate one or two of the habits below. All it takes is 10 minutes out of your day to maintain a well-balanced lifestyle; which isn’t a lot to ask for…
Wake up early – As I mentioned above, early rising is integral for a productive day. During my studying years, I would wake up at 6am to cram in several hours of revision. This was mostly because I enjoyed the peace and quiet around me, but also because by 12pm my day was done. Even up until today, I believe in 6am starts no matter what day of the week. Obviously that doesn’t quite happen all the time (being hungover and waking up at 6am is not much fun). However, waking up early gives you that time to ease your body and your mind into ‘active’ mode. It can also give you that all important time that you need to perform the habits below without having to rush.
Morning stretch – We’ve all seen those tv ads, movies or YouTube videos where someone arises from their crisp, clean bed – not a hair out of place, raising their arms into a stretch position before eventually carrying on with their seemingly perfect lives. That’s not me. I’m lucky to wake up without a puddle of drool surrounding my pillow and crazy hair. I do, however, like to stretch. Perhaps not a glamorously as you see on the tv, but one or two stretches (particularly of the neck) ensure that my body is liber and ready to start the ground off running (after a coffee that is).
Take time out to meditate – We’ve all heard about morning meditation and how useful it is for maintaining a healthy state of mind, but how many of us do it? Unfortunately, morning meditation sessions have a stigma attached. Many people believe it to be time consuming; requiring hours of trance-like mindfulness. This is NOT the case. I’m a firm believer in mediation, at any time of the day. Morning meditation is my particular favourite as I am able to clear my mind, allowing for new information of the day to absorb in. I know what you’re thinking – I sound a little crazy. Don’t knock it till you try it. I’m not talking hours and I’m not suggesting you need to sit cross-legged and chant. Even sitting at your kitchen table, eyes closed and clearing your mind is considered meditation – and it can do more for your body than any kind of medication.
Find your cocktail – I obviously won’t argue against the fact that a tall glass of water in the morning (especially with a slice of lemon) does wonders for your digestive system, but what about other choices of beverage? I cannot start my day without a coffee. I cannot even hold a conversation without coffee. I’m not even slightly human without coffee. It’s clear that I love coffee, but would I swap it for something slightly ‘healthier’? No way! Coffee is what makes me function so if I need it to start my day then so be it. The point is – find your poison and use it as a treat in the morning.
Avoid tv/social media – I’m a little guilty of this as I use my mornings to catch up with my social media; which I don’t normally do through-out the day. However, putting down your phone (especially before you get out of bed) and avoiding the television is vital for your state of mind. We can all get washed up in the whirlwind of social media and polluting your mind (as soon as you wake up) is not going to start you off in the right way. Go outside, listen to the birds singing or spend time with your family. You’ll be much more entertained.
Play up-lifting music – As I get ready for the day, I play energy-boosting meditation music (which I usually stream from YouTube). A far cry from my usual dowse of rap music, but I find that it puts me in a much happier mood. Whilst in the car, I either listen to an audio book or some more meditation music. Sounds a little strange when you’re used to bouncing to Beyonce in the mornings, but it’s amazing what subliminal messages meditation music can feed you. Energy boosting meditation music is my particular favourite…for obvious reasons.
Write a list and prepare for the day – I love a good list. I write lists wherever I go. Despite having a Filofax, I still write a ‘to-do’ lists for the day ahead. It gets me organised and it enables me to be prepared. Knowing exactly what needs to be done and in what order I need to do them helps me be more productive. I tend to get the more tasking jobs done first so that I can ease my way into a restful evening, but do what works best for you. The idea is that writing things down is more productive than remembering from the top of your head. You’re more likely to achieve everything you set out to do for the day (and then some) if you write it down.
What are your morning routines? Let me know below.