Mornings are critical. They set the pace for your day and usually set the mood as well. There’s nothing like waking up refreshed and ready for your day to start. But wait…there’s something you’re missing. Before you just jump on into your day, you could be making some critical errors that affect your health for the rest of the day, the week and months to come!
Originally inspired by Oprah Winfrey, here’s what we found you’re missing out on:
Mistake 1: You hit the ground running.
You jump out of bed ready to face the day head-on. Many of us think that’s the best way to do it: attack the day and you’ll get more done. The problem is that you may be demanding too much from your back muscles when you just jump up out of the bed, which are often stiff from a long night of resting in one place, says Robert D. Oexman, MBA, DC, a sleep and chiropractic expert and director of the Sleep to Live Institute. Move too quickly and your muscles may spasm and put you at risk for lower back pain or even a slipped or ruptured disk. Another reason to get up slowly: When we stand after lying down for hours, the blood rushes to the legs, and this can cause a lightheaded feeling that puts us at risk for a stumble. This effect, called orthostatic hypotension, is especially common in women, says Alan Hilibrand, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon and spokesperson for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
Try this instead: Before jumping into the shower, waking the kids up or turning on the morning news, Oexman recommends hugging the knees to the chest (one at a time, then together). This will not only help warm up the muscles, but it will also get blood flowing throughout the body so you’ll feel more stable when you rise and shine.
Mistake #2: You focus on work or your to do list early.
You get up early so you can get more things done, right? Well…that may be true from a time standpoint, but it doesn’t help you in the long run. Motivational speaker, entrepreneur and life coach to today’s billionaires, Tony Robbins, says the first thing anyone needs to do when they wake up is to take time for themselves. Not prepping for something, not trying to get ready, but time for themselves. He says, “if you don’t have 10 minutes for yourself every morning, then you don’t have a life.” OUCH! When you take time for yourself, he says it “primes” or readies your mind into being in the most receptive emotions to accomplish your goals in the long run. Remember self-care is not selfish, it’s necessary!
Try this instead: Robbins says in your 10 minutes, focus on 3 things: first three minutes, focus on giving thanks. Getting into an attitude of thankfulness for the small things around you, for the big things, for everything! Just start saying the things you’re grateful for. Next three minutes, focus on long term goals, things that are six months to a year away. Start calling those things into existence. Not in a way that causes confusion because now you have “all these things to do,” but in a way that pushes them to the forefront with a confidence knowing you’ll get them done. Last four minutes, focus on three outcomes you want to happen short term.
Mistake #3: You check your phone before doing anything.
The light from your phone should not be the first thing you see in the morning. It’s not only bad for your eyes over time, it’s also bad for your internal clock. You check your phone and you’re already seeing what emails you have, what’s on your schedule for that day, ramping up your heart rate before it’s time and not making time for yourself. To help you start your day with a positive mood and to set your internal clock (so that you can wind down later at night), you need sunlight. Come through sunlight! Letting in those a.m. rays may also help you regulate your weight, found researchers at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
Try this instead: Do what’s listed in #2 then open the shades all the way as soon as you get out of bed (or, um, as soon as you put on a bathrobe).