Summer's here and for us teachers, the start of the day can go one of two ways: let yourself sleep in, read a good book in bed, and get the day going around 11am, OR wake with the sunrise, make a to-do list, and get some projects done. By the end of May, I think all of us are eager for the former -- and well-deserved. But by the end of the first week off, we've recuperated from an exhausting year and are eager and ready to get the summer going!
My favorite way to get the day going involves 3 key activities. There are certainly other ideas for a morning routine and starting the day off right -- check out this blog post for morning routine ideas -- but these are my 3 favorite. Why these 3? Because they wake me up and help me get the day going full of energy!
I start training clients at 6am and I love it! Movement is a wonderful way to start the day: it wakes up the body and the mind, gets the endorphins going, and helps the body become more metabolically efficient at burning fat stores. Plus, it feels really good to get the workout in before breakfast. The thing is, this piece doesn't have to be exercising explicitly -- it could be any kind of movement, such as gardening, walking the dog, or housecleaning. The main idea is to get the body moving.
Ok, maybe not for the entire duration of the shower, but running cold water at the end for about 30s can actually have huge benefits for health. First, it's a great way to wake up the mind. I always feel really alert after running cold water on my face and neck. A cold water dip or shower has also been shown to reduce inflammation, improve circulation, boost immunity, and reduce fatigue.
With temperatures as hot as they are this summer, a cold shower really any time of the day is beneficial for fighting fatigue. As someone living with MS, I've been taking cold showers and ice baths for years now in the summers, and it's a great way to wake up and get some things done. I have a swimming pool in my complex that stays pretty cool in the summer months, especially in the mornings, so that counts, too. I love waking up, exercising with my clients, and then hopping in the pool and/or taking a cold shower. Boy, my morning coffee never tastes better than after a cold shower!
Make My To-Do List
After I've gotten dressed, I make my to-do list for the day while drinking my morning coffee. By this time, I'm alert, refreshed, and feel ready to accomplish the day. Writing out my to-do on a piece of paper is great, but I really like BestSelf Co's Weekly Action Pad because it allows me to look at yesterday's to-do list and add anything that didn't quite get finished. There's also a column for "estimated time" and another column for "priority" so it really helps me get organized, focused, and realistic about what I can accomplish that day. It's also super helpful to write it all down -- that way, I don't have to worry about remembering it all.
There are many options for a morning routine; these are just a few. I'm convinced the fate of the day is contingent upon the morning. If you want a relaxing day, make the morning relaxing. If you want to accomplish some goals, make the morning intentional. This way, you wake up the mind and body and prepare them for a productive day. And remember...while I'm all about goal-setting days, we need to sprinkle in those relaxing days, too, every now and then.
How do you like to start the day?