Starting my day off right isn’t always as easy as it sounds—there’s a lot that goes into being in the right mindset to work and create that I don’t often hear talked about. Maybe it’s something others don’t experience as much as I do, or maybe it’s not the most interesting topic to talk about, but I always find it useful when others share their mundane experiences, so that’s what I’m going to do today!
The saying “waking up on the wrong side of the bed” is kind of how I approach my mornings because I feel like they are the pillars of my success. I am by no means a morning person, so I find it difficult to get it started at all, but when it’s done wrong it can send me into a spiral of anxiety and discouragement to accomplish all the things I may have set out to that day.
If I have a lot on my to-do list for the day and I want to feel ready to take it all on, then I need to have something in my stomach within 20 minutes of waking up, including coffee. I just don’t know how people function without eating first thing in the morning; the pangs of hunger are just too much to bear when I’m trying to focus on powering through client work. Eating something in the morning also helps to regulate my eating habits for the rest of the day, not really forcing me to snack until lunch and then being too full to eat a hardy meal before taking on the rest of my day.
I started meditating every morning in November of 2018, after I had suffered and ankle injury and was overwhelmed by anxious thoughts on a daily basis. It helped to focus my mind on only the things I truly found important or worth my time and helped to curb some of those racing thoughts about things that were out of my control. I haven’t been meditating as much as I used to and I’ve definitely noticed a massive difference in the way I approach a new day. I want to start doing that again, if only for 3-5 minutes in the morning right after I brush my teeth and before I do anything else. I would also like to start journaling a bit in the mornings as a way to set myself up for a good day, rather than journaling at the end of a bad one as a means of venting my frustrations. I’ve never done this before, but I think it’s another form of meditation as it allows you to be with your thoughts before the rest of reality seeps in.
Okay, so I’ll admit it right now that I can’t workout first thing in the morning. I always need to eat breakfast first (see above) and let that digest before I can even think about doing anything remotely physical. Since sustaining my ankle injury back in November, I really haven’t been able to exercise, other than going out for long walks. While those do help to clear my mind and get me out of the house, they just don’t offer the same amount of cardio I need to battle the fight or flight response to my stress. I really need to sweat it out and get my heart pumping in order to melt away any anxiety and be mentally capable of handling arduous days.
Now that my ankle has gotten a bit better (sprains last an incredibly long time, unfortunately), I’ve started doing low-impact cardio in my living room in the late mornings, a bit before I’m scheduled to eat lunch. It has made a world of difference to the way I perceive my anxious thoughts and allows me to think more clearly when coming up with solutions to problems that I may have previously seen no solutions to at all. I’ve gone periods without doing cardio, thinking that I would be fine and this anxiety is all in my head, only to fall into dark places when life becomes a bit difficult, as it’s wont to do. I don’t workout every day, but at least 3 times a week seems to work wonders for my mental health, and I hope to maintain that routine going forward.