I have never been a morning person, just ask my Mum! It used to be such a struggle for me to wake up refreshed and energised in the mornings, and I feel like this only got worse once I started shift work. From the ‘nightshift hangover’ to the sleepless nights between lates and earlies, shift work is not exactly conducive to good sleep.
Recently, after inspiration from a book I read over Christmas called ‘The Miracle Morning’, I have found that waking up just that little bit earlier and adding a few small things into my morning routine has led to increased productivity, more focus, better mood and just generally feeling better all over!
Go to bed earlier – I have covered this in a previous post about sleep, but my top tips would be to cut down on caffeine intake, especially after 2pm, limit the use of technology (phones, laptops, ipads) close to bedtime, sleep with your phone on the other side of the room, utilise the ‘do not disturb’ and ‘nightshift mode’ functions on your devices, try a soothing herbal tea designed to promote relaxation and restfulness and play a relaxing guided meditation that is designed for night time as you go off to sleep.
Meditation – I have started setting my alarm 25 minutes earlier in order to complete a guided meditation by Louise Hay. However, in the past I have set my alarm 5 minutes earlier, allowing me to start my day with a 5 minute morning meditation. This is a great option for those who are reluctant to part with their precious sleep! Starting small and working your way up is always better than going all out and giving up after one day! For anyone who is new to meditation, a previous post of mine covers the basics.
Affirmations – In the mornings I like to ensure I start the day with positivity, and affirmations help to ensure that I don’t get swept up in negative self talk as soon as I wake up. There are phone apps for affirmations, or videos on Youtube…or you can write your own that are specific to your life and goals, and read them aloud in the mornings! I have also heard of people recording themselves and playing it back, so there’s another option!
Yoga – I’ve started doing 10-20 minutes of yoga every morning, in addition to my regular exercise routine. The benefits are amazing, not only has yoga been found to decrease feelings of anxiety and stress, but also lead to increased energy, focus and flexibility. Yoga can also assist with weight loss, improved fitness and strength and prevention of injury (extremely important for everyone, but especially those in professions that require heavy lifting.) Currently, my favourite videos can be found here and here.
I often hear people say that they are not flexible enough to do yoga, but you really don’t have to be flexible at all! No one is an expert when they first start out. I can’t do any of the advanced moves, however I benefit mentally and physically every day from the alignment of movement and breath. There are plenty of beginners videos on youtube, and many beginners classes around!
Reading – I have always loved reading, however before I added this into my morning routine I found that I never had enough time to read all the books I wanted to. I have started adding 10-20 minutes of reading some form of motivational book to my day helps to inspire me and allows me to take on board ideas to integrate into my daily life.
Gratitude – Gratitude is probably my favourite practice that I have adopted over the past year. In the past, I have definitely found myself getting caught up in negative thought patterns, and focusing on what I do not have or cannot do instead of all the amazing things that are in my life! Gratitude has helped to shift my mindset, and allowed me to appreciate how amazing this life is.
Every day I write a list of all the things that I am grateful for, which helps me to start my day with a positive, abundant mindset. One of my favourite things to do with my family and friends is go around and say three things that we are grateful for, and my friends and I often text each other a small gratitude list! Even in the hardest times, there is always something to be grateful for. Here is a wonderful post by the Merrymaker sisters about a magical gratitude practice that you can easy implement into your day.
Try setting your alarm just 15 minutes earlier, and trying one or two of these practices. That’s how I started, and now (on a good day) I have been waking up at 4:30am before my 12 hour day shift in order to start my day in a positive way, improving my mood, productivity and overall feelings of wellness!
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