There are a few things you could change in your morning routine that will get your day off to a better start. I love my mornings, and while I don’t necessarily do all of these things every day, they are all in my toolbox for the days I need a boost. The more stressed, tired or grumpy I feel, the more morning rituals I do. They can almost guarantee I’ll leave the house in a good mood and ready for the day ahead.
At the moment, I practise the Wim Hof Method of breathing every morning. If you don’t want to go full scale into this method, some focused breathing at the very least will improve your day. Tomorrow when you wake up, the first thing I want you to try is sitting on the edge of the bed with your feet flat on the floor and taking five deep breaths. Get that oxygen deep into your body and notice how quickly your body fills with energy.
I struggled with genuine gratitude for years before I realised that when you lack energy, this is one of those things your brain just will not spend precious resources on. Don’t beat yourself up if this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to you, but being grateful is a good habit to get into. Since I’m all about saving time (especially first thing in the morning), tie your gratitude practice in with your breathing. With each deep breath in, think of something you are grateful for that day. Be grateful for whatever resonates most with you – a roof over your head, running water, technology (seriously, how lucky are we to have access to practically everything on our phones?), people you love, your job, morning coffee, your health and so many other things. There’s no right answer here, just spend a few breaths thinking about the things that are good in your world.
As a trainer, of course I believe that exercise and strength training are important, but that’s not what we do in the morning routine. The movement here lasts less than five minutes. The idea is to stretch and warm up your muscles, plus get your heart pumping and blood moving. If you never exercise, this might be something like sit-downs (where you sit on a chair then stand up and sit again… over and over). If you’re already used to doing some exercise, think of things like burpees, star jumps, push-ups, lunges or planks. Set a timer for three or four minutes and rotate through for 30 seconds each. I get them done in the four minutes it takes for my morning coffee to brew.
Here’s one example of what I do.
So far the exercises above haven’t taken up much of your morning routine, the next one saves time and you’re probably going to cringe at the idea at first: take a cold shower. There are so many reasons why a cold shower first thing in the morning is good for you. Straight up, the shock changes your breathing pattern and can calm the nervous system. The cold makes you feel more energised and resilient. It’s uncomfortable, so before you even leave the house you’ve already left your comfort zone and survived. That alone sets you up to be more confident.
If an entire cold shower from start to finish seems impossible for you, ease yourself into it with what I like to refer to as the Cold Water Sandwich. Start with cold water, add warm and shower at a civilised temperature, but before you get out, turn the hot completely off and cool down. Aim for 30 seconds of cold at the end of your shower to start with. Do this for a week and you’ll feel the benefits. Once you see how energising it is, you’ll be more willing to attempt a start to finish cold shower. (No need to get totally crazy here, while I always start and finish with cold water, I probably average four completely cold showers each week.) How do cold showers save you time? I can guarantee you get in and get your showering done much more quickly than when you have time to relax in the warm water!
Try these things for a few days. You can build on this later, because time and time again, super successful people credit many of the same rituals for getting their day off to a winning start. One step at a time, but be warned, there’s more to come! For now, get used to these changes and pay attention to how they impact your energy and day.