Written by Benjamin Semmens, Registered Nutritionist (BHSc)
Hey guys, welcome back to another edition of Friday Q&A, where our head nutritionist Ben answers your health and nutrition questions every Friday!
This week's question came from Kelly who explained "with everything going on right now I'm struggling to get out of bed, can you help?"
If you're struggling to wake up and get out of bed right now, you're not alone. Our lives have been temporarily put on hold with COVID-19 restrictions preventing us from doing the things we love in life!
Not having things to look forward to can take a huge toll on both your mental and physical health making it even harder to get out of bed in the morning that can leave you feeling a bit 'meh'.
Psychologists have even coined this feeling with a name: languishing – a sense of stagnation and emptiness. Feeling languished can make you feel depleted and exhausted which explains why getting out of bed is the last thing you want to do right now.
On the upside, there are some awesome techniques that you can use to spring out of bed in the morning that will boost your motivation and mood!
Starting your day right is essential - once you've got a morning routine down pat, you can feel calm, relaxed, and focused to be able to tackle whatever life throws at you.
In this blog, I'll teach you how to create the perfect morning routine that will help motivate you to get out of bed and set your day on the right course.
Congratulations to Kelly who won a $20 gift voucher just for asking Ben a question! You can send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Ditch the alarm
If you're waking every morning to an alarm and are constantly hitting the snooze button, it's your body signalling to you that you're not getting enough sleep! And once you overcome this issue you'll be operating on another level.
There are some simple ways to fix this, with the most obvious being going to bed earlier. This may take some time for your internal body clock aka circadian rhythm to adjust, but over time making this small change in your sleep schedule will allow you to wake up with ease without needing to press the snooze button 100 times.
Slowly reduce your bedtime by 5 – 10 minutes each night. Also be sure to exercise daily, manage stress, and avoid caffeine 8-10 hours before you plan to go to bed to make this process a lot easier!
Don't check your phone… just yet
Who isn't glued to their phones these days? The temptation to reach over and check your phone first thing in the morning is difficult, to say the least, but I can give you a bunch of reasons why you should avoid it!
When you wake up and check your phone, you're exposing yourself to texts, emails, tasks, and the crazy news of the world that can make you feel overwhelmed and anxious.
When you read texts or emails first thing in the morning your time and attention are being hijacked with other people's thoughts and needs instead of your own.
Not to mention that our smartphones are super distracting and if you start your day by checking your phone you're already setting yourself up for a day of distraction.
Wait until you've completed the rest of your morning routine (in the next section) until you check your phone.
Take a cold shower (the smart way)
Cold showers have many reported benefits, with the most common being increased alertness and focus. These effects are believed to be from the release of adrenaline in the body when the freezing water hits your skin.
I first tried cold showers for the first time many years ago when I first heard about Wim Hof (the cold-water guru), to no avail. I've only recently been brave enough to face a cold shower in the mornings when a friend of mine taught me a handy tip to reap the cold shower benefits while still enjoying my shower experience.
Next time you have a shower try this: take your hot shower as usual and do whatever you gotta do in there, when it's nearing the end of your shower brace yourself and turn the hot water off and see how many seconds you can stay under the cold water before you turn the hot water on again. Stay in the hot shower for another 30 seconds to warm back up and wallah!
I guarantee you that even 10 seconds under cold water will bring you to life in the morning, and you don't have to sacrifice your whole shower experience to reap the benefits.
Now that you're full of beans after your cold shower, it's time to ground yourself. When you wake in the morning your body's stress hormone (cortisol) levels peak that helps you get out of bed.
Mediation can help to lower cortisol levels allowing you to focus on the present moment, not the past or the future that can induce stress and anxiety. I find that meditating in the morning enhances the practice allowing your mind clarity before the stresses of the day have crept in (1).
Every morning I spend at least 5 – 10 minutes meditating before I exercise, but if you choose to meditate after exercise that's ok too. Meditation before exercise can help centre your focus on the workout and your day ahead, while meditation after exercise is a good way to cool down and use your breathing and awareness to unwind from the workout (1).
I like to move it, move it
I can't stress the importance of exercise in the morning. I'm not asking you to have to be a 2-hour HIIT session or run a half marathon, just participating in any form of exercise will be beneficial to your morning routine.
There are many benefits to exercising in the morning that includes increased alertness, increased energy, better focus, improved mood, weight loss, and improved appetite. When you exercise your body releases adrenaline and endorphins that increase your alertness, focus, and boosts your mood (2).
As crazy as it sounds, using energy increases your energy in a variety of ways. When you exercise you produce more mitochondria that are known as the "powerhouse" of your cells. Exercise also boosts oxygen circulation inside your body allowing you to use energy more efficiently (3).
Lastly, exercise also supports weight loss and helps to improve appetite regulation. Do I need to give you more reasons to exercise in the morning? Grab your runners, lace up and get moving!
You've already got most of the harder parts done. Now it's time to organise yourself for the day with even a little bit of preparation going a long way! Start by writing down your daily tasks into your notepad or journal. When you write down your to-do list, it makes it one less thing to have to worry about.
Once you've written down your daily tasks and have a plan for the day don't forget to put a little box next to the items so that you can tick them off as you go. This process releases dopamine, the rewarding chemical in your brain that makes you feel good.
I also like to write down 5 things I'm grateful for. It could something small like ice cream, sunshine, or hot showers (lol). Gratitude journaling has been shown to reduce stress and is said to be the antidote to feeling sad (4).
Pump your favourite tunes!
My morning wouldn't be complete without blasting some of my favourite tunes. You've had such a busy start to your day focusing and completing all the hard stuff, now you deserve to treat yourself!
Music not only makes you feel amazing, but research has shown that listening to music can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and pain as well as improving sleep quality, mood, mental alertness, and memory (5).
Another cool fact about music is it helps to boost creativity. When it comes to listening to music in the morning, I often pick upbeat songs or songs that remind me of a special memory in my life. Whatever song you choose it will guarantee to brighten up your morning!
Having a morning routine is essential to starting your day on the right foot. I know that this seems like a lot of work and is the last thing you'll feel like doing in the morning but be patient and you will notice the results.
You don't have to do all these tasks straight away, start with one at a time, and slowly build your way to the ultimate morning routine. Don't be surprised if you start to feel better, your mood improves, and you are more productive throughout the day!
If you have any questions or need support with your health, feel free to email our head nutritionist Ben at email@example.com
This article does not constitute as medical advice and does not take into consideration your personal circumstances. Please see your medical professional before implementing the above.