Note from the editor: Working in the legal industry can make for a busy work life and, let’s face it, some days even a job we usually really enjoy can start to make us feel unhappy and run down. In this post, Lili Daniel, One Legal’s Training Manager and a yoga and wellness guru, shares five of her top things you can do to start your day happy and healthy.
For many of us, mornings are hectic. We wake up — after maybe hitting the snooze button, at least, two or three times — get ready quickly, grab our stuff and run out of the door half awake and slightly frazzled.
Starting the day on the right foot is pretty important, though. There’s a ton of evidence out there that says the mornings are the time when we’re best able to concentrate on tasks that need focus and therefore when we’re at our peak productivity.
Everyone will have their own routine that suits them best, but here are a few simple things that I do every morning to help increase my sense of well-being, enhance my health, and give my day real purpose.
#1 Practice Gratitude
Before you roll out of bed, take just a few minutes to yourself to practice gratitude. Consider all of the things that you are grateful for. Maybe it’s a list of things, or perhaps just one thing. Whatever it is, think about it for a few months or perhaps write it down in a journal.
When we practice gratitude, we start the day with what we have rather what we do not have. Having an overall gladness can carry positive thoughts throughout out day. When we are hit with bad news or disappointment we can go back what we were grateful for that morning.
Research shows that this really works. People who regularly express gratitude are less likely to suffer from loneliness, anxiety, depression, or envy. Worth a try, no?
After getting out of bed, take at least 2 minutes to meditate. You don’t need to be a mediating pro. You can simply sit up on the floor with your legs in an easy pose, your spine straight, your shoulders back, and your hands placed on your knees or thighs. Then close your eyes and just breathe.
You can also focus on the area between your eyebrows if you need a focus point. Now just take deep breaths in and out of the nose.
Meditation has so many benefits from relieving stress and anxiety to decreasing blood pressure and increasing pain management. This topic alone needs its own blog in the future.
#3 Drink warm water and lemon
Perhaps you start your day with a coffee (or two). Caffeine can be OK, but — so the evidence says — first thing in the morning is far from the best time to drink it. In fact, coffee simply blunts our natural morning alertness and sends our body’s cortisol levels (the hormone responsible for our feelings of alertness, stress, and anxiety) all over the place.
Instead, try an alternative warm drink. Personally, I drink a mug full of warm filtered water and lemon when getting ready. The benefits of drinking water and lemon extend well beyond just its hydration properties. Lemons, for example, aid with boosting your immune system by having high levels of vitamin C and potassium. Potassium stimulates brain and nerve function and helps control blood pressure. Also, it acts as a gentle, natural diuretic that can help to detox your body.
Do any kind of exercise — a gentle jog, a simple routine of stretches. Just about anything will work. That’s because a short period of aerobic exercise (exercise that makes your heart beat a bit faster) will increase blood circulation to the brain, as well as simply making you feel better about yourself.
Exercise isn’t just about physical fitness. By prompting your body to boost serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, you’ll actually notice a reduction in anxiety, depression, and negative mood and an improvement in self-esteem and your ability to focus and get things done!
#5 Keep things simple
Try to prep the night before. Rather than making lunches, packing your bag, picking what to wear before you leave, try to have this ready the night before.
Multitasking while you’re still drowsy and trying to wake up can increase stress. Also, doing this will help with not forgetting anything and possibly increase your health by having a thought out healthy lunch and snacks packed and ready to go rather than relying on the local sandwich shop.
What are your morning routine tips? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Want more practical advice on staying happy and healthy at work? Download our free wellness guide for legal professionals: