Weekday mornings can be incredibly hard, but they don’t have to be. In fact, it’s very likely your before work routine could be causing you to start the day off on the wrong foot. If you can avoid a few bad habits before you hit the office, it can set you on a better course for the day. Here are seven things you should never do in the morning on a work day.
1. Don’t hit the snooze
Yes, sometimes getting out of bed in the morning can feel like a Herculean feat. Hitting the snooze button is an unhealthy habit that you should break for two reasons: It actually makes your morning rougher because you’re drowsier from those extra minutes of sleep, and those few extra minutes can even cause you to be late. Instead, try going to sleep a little earlier to avoid hitting the snooze or keep your alarm clock or smartphone far enough away from your bed that you’re forced to get up to shut it off.
2. Don’t check your emails
Do not check your emails (or your social media accounts) until you get to work. Why should you wait? Because when you first wake up, you haven’t really started your day yet — why upset yourself with unanswered work emails before you get to the office? Most of us are guilty of checking our emails while our heads are still on our pillows. “It sets your day off to a negative start,” says Susan Bartell, Psy.D., a psychologist who specializes in work-life balance, to Men’s Health. “And if you’re responding to an email when you’re half awake, you’re more likely to make mistakes.”
3. Don’t shower in the morning
Let’s be real here. While a cold shower can wake you up, how many of us actually take cold showers before heading to work? You’re probably taking a really hot shower and spending more time in there than you normally would because you’re trying to put off going to work. That relaxing feeling you have is the problem — the heat from your steamy shower is telling your nervous system that it’s time for your muscles to relax. Your heart rate then slows down, and you can end up feeling more tired, Jared Heathman, M.D., told Men’s Health.
4. Don’t rummage through your closet
One of the best things you can do the night before work is lay out what you’re going to wear the next day. Those early morning hours invite enough chaos and you should do your best not to add to them. Since you need to look refined and put together for work, plan your outfit the night before and make sure you iron your clothes as well. Try it out for a week and see how it feels. Not only will you be able to look more stylish because you’ll know ahead of time how your outfit will look, but it will actually leave you extra time to sleep longer if you plan accordingly.
5. Don’t eat refined carbohydrates
Sure, bagels are great and a double-decker loaded with cream cheese is even better, but sadly, research shows that loading up on refined carbs in the morning (those made with white flour) make you more likely to spring for junkier foods throughout the day. Instead, opt for foods rich in protein, aiming for at least 20 grams of muscle-building protein in your morning meal, says Men’s Health nutrition adviser Alan Aragon, M.S.
6. Don’t brush your teeth after you eat
Brushing your teeth after breakfast actually sounds kind of gross: Who wants to taste food and coffee with lingering morning breath? Brushing your teeth after breakfast can push sugars to the surface of your teeth and eventually erode your enamel. Instead, try brushing your teeth immediately after waking up. Your stomach and your teeth will thank you.
7. Don’t leave with just enough time
One final thought. Taking all of these “don’ts” into consideration, don’t leave your house in the morning with just enough time to make it into the office. Instead, try and give yourself a little cushion time to account for any mishaps; this will allow for a smooth morning.