Birds are chirping, sunshine is streaming through the window, a majestic song starts to play. Wait a minute: This isn’t a Disney movie. And unfortunately, not everyone can wake up like a princess. The reality is a little less pretty.
Your start to the day might feel hectic and groggy. Worse, sometimes the way your mornings go can set the tone of the rest of your day. Keep reading for five tips to make your morning better and, in turn, your overall mood.
1. Do a Quick Mental Health Check
You may not be a morning person, but there’s a difference between struggling to get up and perpetually being in a bad mood. Sure, it’s not fun to make yourself wake up early, but that shouldn’t be affecting your whole day. If it is, there may be a bigger problem than just waking up on the wrong side of the bed.
Start taking note of how often you feel off or out of it. This could include feeling fatigued, irritable, or simply down. If you notice these emotions have been taking over lately, it might be due to anxiety or depression.
When your morning blues extend all day and beyond, it’s time to take action. That could involve seeking out mental health treatment, whether that be medication or therapy. Learning to understand your emotions and how to respond to them is vital to your well-being.
2. Establish a Routine
Hopefully your mental health checks out and it’s just that you sometimes feel a bit discombobulated in the mornings. This could be the result of not getting enough sleep or not sleeping deeply. If so, you’ll need to prioritize higher-quality rest. In the meantime, you can make your mornings easier by reducing the number of decisions you have to make while tired.
Research has found that limiting the amount of decisions you make each day can improve your mental focus. It can also help keep your critical thinking skills sharp. That’s because you won’t be using them for mundane decisions like what to wear and what to have for breakfast.
A morning routine reduces decision fatigue by giving you a method of getting ready for the day that you can habitually repeat. Your brain can simply go on autopilot mode until you’re fully awake. Your day will get off to an easier start when you aren’t having to immediately make decisions that strain your mental capacity.
Waking up and going straight into performing complex tasks or making decisions can feel frustrating. It’s like operating a machine that hasn’t warmed up. So ease your mornings by developing a routine to follow.
3. Change Your Alarm Sounds
For a non-morning person, there’s nothing worse than a loud, obnoxious alarm waking you up. That all-too-familiar mechanical beeping is enough to startle you out of sleep. While this is accomplishing its job, it’s not really in your best interest to wake to such a jarring alarm.
The quality of sound can affect you more than you might think. This is especially true when it comes to the kind of sound used to wake you up. Harsh sounds designed to jolt you awake can actually decrease your mood and alertness.
In contrast, softer sounds or even music are better options. These sounds will still wake you up, but they won’t scare you out of sleep. Rather, they will lift you out of your slumber more gently, making getting up a more positive experience.
4. Meal Prep Your Breakfast
As noted earlier, it’s a good idea to give your brain some extra time to fully wake up. Having to do this task and that as soon as your feet touch the floor can be challenging. So not having to make breakfast in the morning – or even decide what to eat — will give you an easier start to the day.
You can accomplish this by getting a jump on breakfast the night before. You could fully cook your food, then heat it up the next day. Alternatively, you could do just the preparatory work, such as browning sausage to throw in an omelet in the morning. Or make overnight oats or a slow cooker breakfast so your morning meal will be ready to eat when you wake up. Whatever prep steps you take beforehand will lighten your morning load.
Having breakfast at the ready will ensure you eat this important meal every day, and that will improve your mood, too. You need that fuel to not only get your body going, but also your mind. How can you expect a car to run without gas? Similarly, treat your body with respect and get some brain food in there!
5. Squeeze in a Quick Workout
According to perkiness authority Elle Woods, “Exercise gives you endorphins, and endorphins make you happy.” Without going too far into the science here, she’s basically correct. Exercising regularly, even for short periods, can be beneficial to improve your mood.
So try to get a quick workout into your morning routine. It could be 10 minutes of yoga, five minutes of stretching, or a speed walk around the block. Whatever exercise you’re into, try to incorporate a little into your mornings. Doing this first thing will both help you fully wake up and make you feel better all day long.
Making Mornings Easy
Mornings may never be your favorite time of day, but you can improve them – and your mindset into the bargain. Remember to give yourself time to take it slow and breathe. Even for night owls, mornings are unavoidable – but you can lessen your stress by making them simpler. You’ve got this!
Also read: Tips To Improve Mood Naturally