After each sunrise, we are given another fresh start, another opportunity to accomplish our goals, care for ourselves, and ultimately make our lives into what we want them to be.
In short, the morning can be full of hope and promise, which we can absolutely realize.
Here are four ways to make the most of your mornings—even when you feel like you have no energy at all.
1. Level Up
Increase your energy levels with a high-impact physical activity or an invigorating breathing technique. When career coach Stephanie Thoma feels sluggish, she gets going by doing 100 jumping jacks. You can also do a quick cardio workout: Even 10 minutes of squats and lunges or a short brisk walk can be enough to get you going.
Performance coach Shannon Jamail suggests doing “breath of fire.” (Skip this intense technique if you’re pregnant or have vertigo or high blood pressure, she says.) This involves breathing in and out through your nose. Start with 30 to 60 seconds at a slower pace. Sit up tall. On the inhale, press your stomach out. On the exhale, pull your stomach in. Then pick up the pace. Shorten each breath so your breathing becomes loud and fast.
2. Check-in with Yourself
New York City Yoga teacher Sonya Matejko stresses the importance of “having a conversation with yourself.” How am I feeling? What do I need? Did I sleep well? Then, she says, “use this information to take you through the day more mindfully.”
For example, if you didn’t sleep well the night before, you might decide to take a restorative yoga class instead of running after work. If you realize you need rest, you would decline a dinner invite and stay in with a book.
“Often the best self-care is to simply remember to care about ourselves,” says Matejko.
3. Focus on Your Future Self
Shane Prosser, a U.S. Army veteran and owner of the staffing company FalconTek, spends at least 10 minutes every morning connecting to his future self: “The version of me that has reached my goals. I put myself in his shoes to know how he acts, the decisions he makes, and the habits he has.” Prosser uses this mindset to guide his decisions throughout the day.
Carve out time to consider your personal intentions and aspirations. Then, every morning envision what the future you would do.
4. Think About Work at Home
One study on building a mental connection to work published in the “Journal of Management” found that when people mentally reconnected to their jobs in the mornings, outside of the office, they were more engaged at work. And when individuals are energized and absorbed in their work, they’re more satisfied, enjoy tasks more, and perform better.
The key is not to ruminate about work issues, but to focus on actionable solutions. For instance, you might plan out your workday and reflect on helpful resources for potential challenges. That is, think of work issues as creative challenges you can figure out.
The best way to make the most of our mornings is to see mornings for what they are: an opportunity to reconnect to ourselves and set the course for a great day.