What’s the most powerful way to start the day? We asked BODYISM regular Rosie Underwood, OK! Magazine’s Fashion and Beauty Director for the morning rituals she uses to kick her day into gear and feel energised.
We’ve all been there. Monday morning, alarm rings, feet hit the floor and in a frenzied state of fatigue-induced confusion we manically rush headfirst into the week.
It’s a common trait of our increasingly time-pressured lives but it’s a habit worth kicking. That’s because in the first 20-30 minutes after you wake you’re also battling a natural 50% spike in the stress hormone cortisol, a natural phenomenon known as the cortisol awakening response.
Knowing how to navigate this period of high emotions is crucial for your health and work/life balance so here are seven simple steps I try to take each morning to start my day in a kinder, calmer way.
Start by making a positive affirmation. Say to yourself, “I’m making these changes because I want to feel good all day long”. Simple. It’s worth noting that if you’re affirmation comes from a negative thought rather than a positive one, it’s never going to fly, so keep it motivational.
2. Use light as an alarm
We’re animals that wake by the sun and sleep by the moon so startling ourselves out of our slumber with a loud noise will immediately put you in a bad mood. Waking up using light therapy, however, has been shown to regulate your sleep and waking cycles, improve energy levels, boost mood and even been benefit physical performance.
Give yourself more of it. If that means getting up an hour earlier, try to bring your bedtime forwards to compensate. Your body is adjusting to new light, your cells have been working hard to keep you respiring and functioning without food or water for several hours, and you have a full day or work ahead. If you slow things down, your body will respond fantastically.
That classic blotchy morning look is caused by overnight water loss impairing your skin’s natural barrier. Drinking five to six glasses of water as soon as you’re vertical will help flush toxins from your blood and speed up cell renewal. It’ll also help clear a stuffy head for much needed mental clarity when you’re hunting for your darned keys.
5. Get upside down
This is for everyone, not just the yogis among us. By bringing your heart higher than your head you’ll instantly improve blood flow to your brain, giving it more oxygen and nutrients to function properly, improving memory, concentration and observation. You needn’t hang from the ceiling. Holding a downward dog pose for a few slow and steady breaths will do the trick, while providing a bonus stretch for your back and legs to give your circulation an added boost.
Take time over your breakfast, you’re breaking the overnight fasting period and fuelling your body with essential nutrients that’ll keep your energy levels up as the day progresses. Pay attention to different food groups. Stay present when you eat. Tune into the taste and texture and continue to check in with your body as an indication of when you’re full.
7. Ignore digital demands
A surefire way to disrupt all of these positive steps is to bring your phone into the equation. Notifications can trigger stress and anxiety and make even focusing on simple tasks impossible, according to a Florida State University study. Plus they’re rarely aligned to your true needs in that present moment. If you have to, check for travel updates, but save the cat memes for your lunch break.