The buzz of an alarm clock can be a dreaded sound, but sometimes a new element in your routine can make a difference. Here are some helpful strategies to prepare you for a day at the office:
Prepare the night before:
When you know the location of all your daily work necessities, your morning won’t feel like a mad dash around your house. Packing your gym bag, compiling work documents, prepping your lunch, and even setting out your keys can help you avoid that stressed-out feeling you get when you’re searching for that one last thing. When you can transition from home to work in a calm state, instead of an anxious one, you set the tone for the whole day.
Switch up your breakfast routine:
Sick of cold cereal every morning? Tired of the same ol’ bagel and cream cheese as you rush out the door? Plan a new, delicious breakfast. Introducing new foods to your breakfast menu breaks up the monotony and gives you something to look forward to. Swap out your instant oatmeal for steel-cut or Irish oats. Trade your yogurt for cottage cheese with fresh berries or cinnamon. Ditch your bagel for an English muffin with jam and honey. Put your morning apple or banana to work by throwing it in a smoothie with greens, ginger, avocado, or almond butter. There are plethora of recipe websites that can inspire your next breakfast.
Waking up in the morning is difficult enough; waking up early to hit the gym might be downright impossible. However, the benefits of an early-morning workout are multiple: better sleep, improved metabolism, better long-term results, and increased mental clarity for four to ten hours after exercising. Your workout routine doesn’t need to break world records, but it needs get you moving and be enjoyable enough for you to stick with it. With your mental clarity, plus the endorphin boost, you will be alert and ready to take on your day with a clear head and positive attitude.
Meditation, affirmations, and visualizations:
Though these might feel unnatural at first, mental preparation for the day ahead can bring great benefits. As few as five to ten minutes of meditation in the morning exercises your brain so you can sustain voluntary attention throughout the day. Reciting affirmations and visualizing goal achievement bolster self-esteem and solidify ambitions. Write down affirmations and stick them somewhere you will see them every morning, and recite them as you brush your teeth or wait for your coffee. When you visualize yourself accomplishing a goal, it makes the event feel possible, and gives you confidence to chase down those goals. With your eye on the prize, you can enter the office with determination and a sense of direction.
Any or all of these changes can jumpstart your morning. A word of advice: just like New Year’s resolutions, don’t try to overhaul your whole life overnight. Start with one change, maybe two, and incorporate more once you have mastered the first few.