We’ve all been there – your alarm goes off on a cold and dark winter morning and the last thing you want to do is leave the comfort of your nice warm bed. It can really put a damper on your morning mood. Here are some tips that will help you rise and shine on those cold snowy days with a smile on your face and a positive outlook on the day ahead.
Take a Few Moments for Yourself
One thing that will help you when you first wake up, especially in the winter months, is to meditate, even if just for a few minutes. By taking a few minutes to sit up straight, close your eyes, and focus on your breath, not only will it help you reduce morning stress and increase your ability to focus, but it will provide you with positivity for the day ahead.
Once you’re in the habit of meditating first thing in the morning, your ability to deal with stress will increase over time, so even if you have a bad morning that turns into a bad day, you’ll be better able to handle it when it comes along.
Morning Breathing Exercises to Increase Energy
Skip the coffee and change your breathing for a morning energy jolt. Yogic breathing practices, like “kapalabhati” breathing (or skull shining breath) focuses on taking several short sharp breaths in a row, revving up your nervous system and creating more natural energy. Start by inhaling deeply through the nose and then use the abdomen to forcibly exhale also through the nose. Follow that by a quick sharp inhale through the nose and you’ve completed one round of this invigorating breath. You may sound like you’re blowing your nose, but nothing beats the focus and energy you’ll feel after 10-15 rounds of breathing this way.
Stretch It Out
One thing I recommend to get things going on cold winter mornings is to stretch first thing for 10 to 20 minutes. There are many stretches one can do depending on personal preference and health complications, such as injuries and age, but I recommend especially focusing on the lower back, hamstrings and shoulder areas. Stretching helps to get the blood flowing and the joints limber, which is particularly important in colder weather. It also helps to center one’s mind for the day ahead.
Stimulate Your Mind as Soon as You Wake Up
As soon as you wake up, do something that stimulates your curiosity. Rather than checking your phone and social media, read a book, read the newspaper, or write down your goals for the day. This will get your mind moving and engaged, and your whole self more motivated to start the day.
Prep Your Morning the Night Before
As an entrepreneur working from home, it can be particularly difficult to get moving in the morning. I find it useful to prep for the morning the night before. That means getting the coffee or tea pot ready the night before, setting my tabs in my Chrome browser to open automatically in the morning, and putting together my to-do list before bed. That way, I’m ready to hit the ground running as soon as I wake up, as opposed to tiredly fumbling through needless morning routines.
Soothing Ginger-Chamomile Tea at Bedtime
How you feel waking up in the morning is 90% about how you went to bed, and only a little bit about what you do first thing in the morning. While there are hundreds of great tips on getting great sleep – not eating an hour before bed, using amber lights in the bedroom, keeping your room at 67 degrees F, having a tech-free bedroom, and on and on – I have one easy go-to that helps me get great sleep even if I had a late-night snack or stayed on my laptop too long.
Steep chamomile flowers in hot water for up to 4 minutes and add a couple slices of fresh ginger root and sip before bed. The chamomile flowers are calming and help you wind down. The ginger fights inflammation and aids in digestion, so even if you had a heavy meal it can help your digestive tract settle down for a long night’s sleep.
Don’t let winter blues get you down! There are loads of fun activities and special events that take place in the winter time to make up for the extra hours of darkness. With these tips, get up and ready to take on a new adventure. Perhaps skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, skating, or just taking a walk and admiring the nature covered in snow.