You’re up way too late working on a project, at a social event, or finishing up a marathon of Dexter on BluRay. How do you plan to kickstart your day in the morning and make it through until evening? If you’re like me, you might chug a couple cups of coffee or a 20 ounce bottle of soda after cramming down a sugar-heavy pastry.
The truth is, sugar-highs and caffeine rushes are not the best way to kickstart your day. Those are fast-burn fuels that will give you some pep for an hour or two and let you down well before lunch time. If you want to avoid an unhealthy relationship with the office vending machine, here are some better ways to boost your energy and get going in the morning.
1. Start with Water
Drink an eight ounce glass of water before you eat breakfast or brew the coffee. Drinking a clear liquid can help clear away mucous build up that is common overnight, but it also begins an invigoration process for your body. After seven or eight hours of fasting, your body may be beginning to show signs of thirst that you don’t realize are there.
Getting that first glass of water in also helps to set a precedent for the day. Drinking water throughout your day helps your body disperse nutrients, increasing the energy you obtain from other things that you eat or drink.
2. Add Some Protein
Swap out the high-carb, high-sugar breakfast of pastries with something that will provide long-range energy. Combine healthy grains with proteins. For example, a boiled egg and whole grain toast offer plenty of vitamins and minerals that will help you make it through to lunch. Add fresh fruit if you need something sweet.
Other high-protein, whole grain breakfast options could include cereal with almonds and bananas, deli meat rolled into a sprouted grain tortilla, or oatmeal.
3. Get Dressed
This may be an obvious step for many, but for those who work in or around the home, extended pajama time can decrease productivity. If you have sleep-related clothing on, there is always the temptation to crawl back to bed or curl up for lazy television time. Putting on regular clothes can boost confidence and create a greater desire to get things done.
4. Use Quiet Time
Set your alarm 20 minutes before everyone else gets up. Allowing yourself quiet time in the morning can start your day on a calm note rather than a hectic one. Read the next chapter in your favorite book, pick up a few items in the living room, or simply relax and watch the sun rise.
5. Fill Your Kitchen with Scent
Use cinnamon potpourri or pine scented cleaning materials in your kitchen. These scents reduce your brain’s production of melatonin, the hormone that induces sleep. Keep the smells out of your bedroom, though, or you may impact your sleep!
6. Wake Up and Work Out
It may be the last thing you want to do when you wake up groggy, but a morning work out gets the blood pumping and can set an energized tone for your entire day. Try a short aerobic video, a few minutes on the treadmill, some time with free weights or a brisk walk as the sun rises. The key to a good morning work out is to get the heart pumping without overdoing it. You don’t want to suffer muscle strain for the rest of the day.
7. Ramp Up Your Drive
Avoid stressful or negative talk radio or news programs on the way to work. Pop in your favorite CD for the drive or use your iPod or portable music option to fill your ears with upbeat music. Anything that promotes a more positive mindset will help you get off to a happier start.
8. Start with Intention
Do something to boost your energy every morning. Do it even when you don’t fell like it. Even on a challenging day, you can increase your productivity and energy level through positive thought and intentional action.
Find a few energy boosting actions or foods that help you, and start using them today. Everyone responds differently to stimuli and activity. What is your favorite way to kickstart your day? What common energy boosts don’t work for you?