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I recently wrote an article about the role coffee plays in our cultural routine. In addition to its practical one, it also serves as a reliable boost for morale.
Coffee shares this distinction with a good many things, the bulk of which are painfully pedestrian: Eight hours of sleep, a mantra in the mirror, a cup of coffee and a read during your commute – we’ve read it all before.
Monotony is the common enemy of every profession so here are seven unconventional but healthy ways to start your morning.
1. Eat pasta
Claire Lower made a great case for why breakfast lasagna is a practical morning meal in a piece recently published by Lifehacker. You can make a big ole’ batch that’ll be good throughout the week, it’s relatively easy to make and it’s a great source of fat, protein and carbs if prepared properly.
There’s so many ways to make a tasty-healthy pasta dish, too. Whole grain noodles for your dose of fiber (whole grains also fight disease and reduce your waistline), tomatoes for your vitamin C, and cheese for your needed drench of comfort.
In 2017, Leah Wynalek did yoga every day for two weeks before heading into work. The results? Most relevantly Wynalek found the routine to drastically reduce the discomfort of sitting in a desk chair all day. She felt “energized” and much more prepared to start her morning.
In a more general sense, yoga has been proven to yield a calmer mind. Mental clarity is the most salient ingredient to a productive morning. Just 10-12 minutes a day is more than enough to starting seeing results.
3. Quick 5-Minute Meditation
“While the body needs consistent movement in order to be healthy, the mind thrives with regular doses of stillness.” This quote arrives by the curtesy of meditation expert Ralph De La Rosa.
Morning meditation is a great way to energize mood ahead of a productive day. Try and wake up a few minutes earlier than usual, sit at the edge of your bed, close your eyes–and breathe. You’ll notice that things seem just a touch more attainable, you become a little less overwhelmed a little less easily. The sacrifice of a few extra minutes of sleep every morning bestows a feeling of preparedness for your daily challenges.
4 Subbing coffee for healthier alternatives
You’ll find no protest from me regarding the effectiveness of coffee (I probably drink something like 9 cups a day) but I’d be remiss to suggest there aren’t a significant number of healthier alternatives that get the job done just as well.
Things like Matcha, (powerful source of anti-oxidants), chicory (rich with inulin), Yerba Mate, (riboflavin, thiamine, phosphorus, iron, calcium) and chai (lowers risk of heart disease) are all great places to start. Here’s a link for Healthline’s guide of ingredients and preparation.
5. Blast Some Tunes
Before I became a fully realized coffee junkie, I used to start every Monday by blasting Another Side Of Bob Dylan front to back. If you’re not careful mornings can be a sort of personality vampire. On the days I leap out of bed and launch straight into work without giving myself even a modicum of personal attention, all of my values and interest feel stale in my mind.
Reserve a little space in your pre-work routine for your favorite song just to remind yourself of your identity outside of the office. Life coach Sharon Stokes corroborates stating: “Music has the ability to shift your state, so play something that gets you in the right mindset for your day. ”
6. Social interaction
Many of us aren’t the most gregarious in the wee hours of the morning but studies suggest that a little bit of social interaction can go a long way in rebooting your moods throughout the day.
Try and touch base with your significant other before you head in to work (I’ll just leave this here), or ignite a conversation with your barista. A brief chat, whether superficial or intimate, can boost alertness as well as temperament
7. Make a plan
In his book, Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business, author, Charles Duhigg, counsels us to determine what things deserve our attention. In chapter 4, Duhigg mentions the four classifications of goals frequently utilized by corporations: the specific, the measurable, the achievable and the realistic – all applied to a timeline.
Make the “smart goal” system keep you on track. Visualizing what you wish to achieve helps your streamline your focus. Setting goals, allows room for the unexpected of course, but having a definitive finish line in mind will make you more productive.