7 Things You Should Do to Make Each Morning Better

waking up

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So many of us greet the mornings during our work week with despair. Whether you oversleep, dislike your job, or just aren’t a morning person, the worst thing you can do is start your morning feeling frazzled. Here are seven ways to make your mornings better.

1. Make your bed

There was a legitimate reason why your mother insisted that you make your bed every morning, and it was to set you up with habits to take you into adulthood. According to the National Sleep Foundation, one in three men leave their beds unmade or disheveled. Although it might not seem like such a big deal, making your bed can actually set the course for your entire day. Forget the dust mite argument as a reason to leave it unmade. Lewis Howes, author of The School of Greatness, says to Men’s Health that making your bed is equated to successfully completing your first task of the day, which can set you up to have a successful day.

2. Don’t hit the snooze button

You may think it’s good to get those five or 10 extra minutes of shut eye, but it’s probably worse than if you got up on time. When you hit the snooze, you’re allowing yourself to go back to sleep, your body thinks it’s a false alarm and that you didn’t need to do anything because you’re not getting up after all. When your alarm goes off the second time, your body and brain are taken by surprise, resulting in that groggy, fuzzy-headed feeling called sleep inertia, says Rafael Pelayo, MD, a sleep specialist at the Stanford University Sleep Medicine Center to The Huffington Post. The more you hit the snooze, the more confused your brain gets and the more out of it you’ll feel, despite getting a few extra minutes of shut eye. Research has found that this type of sleep inertia can affect you for up to two to four hours after you wake.

3. Steer clear of your phone

man in bed, checking phone

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So many of us are guilty of grabbing for our phones the second we get up. Happier says that nothing starts your day in a more stressful state of mind than going from the comfort of your bed to your smart phone. Give yourself a chance to not deal with anything work related or obsess over emails and Facebook notifications before you have your cup of coffee.

4. Smell yourself awake

Many of us know that a cold shower in the morning will wake you right up, but many of us don’t realize that the scent of your body wash or soap can have a tremendous effect on your mood for the rest of the day, says Art Markman, Ph.D., the author of Smart Change to Men’s Health. Research suggests that lavender can help you relax, while mint can stimulate your brain and citrus can smell you awake.

5. Take 5 minutes

Happier suggests that taking just 5 minutes to yourself in the morning to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee, rather than running out the door with it in your travel mug, will leave you feeling more centered and calm. Enjoy a cup of coffee and read the paper or your favorite book for a few minutes and enjoy the peace and quiet before the start of your hectic day. To enjoy those few extra minutes to yourself, you’re going to have to get up a little earlier so set your alarm 15 minutes earlier. This way you won’t have to bolt out the door. Once you start doing this, you’ll begin to realize just how important it is to prepare yourself mentally and physically for your day. It will also give you a chance to eat breakfast, because you know it will always be the most important meal of the day.

6. Stretch it out

man sleeping

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Try this one before you even open your eyes, says Reader’s Digest. Lift both your arms up and stretch each finger, then your hand, your wrist, then arm. Stretch each arm individually. Next, move onto your legs, ankles, feet, and toes. Finally, end with a neck and back stretch that will get you right out of bed. Congratulations, you’ve just limbered up your muscles and joints and got the blood flowing throughout your body, giving you that extra shot of oxygen you need to wake up. Feel free to let out a loud yawn to release any tired feeling you have left in your body.

7. Don’t make any decisions

Whether you’re waking up a little earlier to enjoy some time to yourself or you’re just making it out of bed in time, the last thing you want to do is throw off your calm rhythm by having to make decisions. To truly reach the apex of morning relaxation, gradually eliminate any choices you need to make, such as deciding what to make for lunch or picking out what you’re going to wear for the day. Try and do all of these things the night before — what to wear, what to make for lunch, what to eat for breakfast, what route to take to work, and so on. Get into a morning routine or ritual and you’ll be golden. You’ll end up having a much more pleasant day at work.

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