2020 has brought many changes to our lives. The changes have affected every part of our lives including our family, work, school and even our social lives. It can be stressful to continuously adjust our schedule. Handling all of these changes to our daily routine makes an already crazy year even more stressful. After being at home 24/7 for two months, I knew that I would need some consistency in my new schedule upon returning to the office. I committed to creating a new morning routine for myself that would allow me to maximize my energy and attitude for the day as well as bring some normalcy to my daily life. In this article, I’ll outline the keys to a morning routine that have helped me make the most of a challenging year.
Wake up early. Don’t get me wrong. I think getting plenty of sleep is so important that I wrote an entire article on the topic last year. That being said, I make it a goal to go to bed at a time that allows me to wakeup early and still get plenty of sleep. My advice: Set the bar low. Pick a reasonable time that you can wake up at every day, but make it early and do it every day. Instead of being rushed to get ready in the morning, this extra time allows you to start your day being productive and refreshed.
Do something for your body. I start every day with a run, bike or swim, but you don’t have to be a triathlete to start your day by doing something for your body. Once again, set the bar low. Throw in the ear buds and take the dog on a long walk. Just do 20 pushups and move on. Anything to increase your heart rate. You will find that jump starting your day with some form of exercise will leave you with more energy throughout the day than a slow, sluggish morning.
Do something for your mind. I use the Calm app to spend at least ten minutes in meditation or prayer each morning. You could use this form of guided meditation or just set aside 5-10minutes to sit in silence before beginning your day. This practice allows me to start the day with less anxiety and more focus. If meditation isn’t your speed, crank up your favorite “pump up” music before starting work each morning. Instead of just rolling into your day on default, pick a quiet (or not so quiet) practice to intentionally ready your mind for whatever the day has to bring.
Do something for your overall health. Spend several minutes each morning on a routine that will contribute to your overall health. Committing to eating a healthy breakfast every morning could provide an energetic start to your day as well as improve your overall health over time. Time for shameless plug: consider spending three minutes each morning on your oral health. If you were to spend two minutes brushing with an electric toothbrush and one minute flossing every morning, you would see a significant reduction in plaque at your next hygiene appointment. Additionally, this practice would reduce the inflammation in your mouth and lead to lower inflammatory markers for heart disease, diabetes and other systemic ailments.
Implementing a morning routine does not mean waking up at 5 am every day, running ten miles, meditating for a half hour and drinking two kale smoothies. Setting yourself up for success every day could be as simple as setting a consistent alarm early enough to spend twenty minutes doing something for your body, your mental health and your overall health. Preparing yourself for the day could lead to increased energy, focus and a feeling of accomplishment before you sit down to answer that first e-mail or make that first phone call. During this uncertain and stressful time, a consistent morning routine could help anyone achieve more and begin your day with less stress.
Cheers to dental health,
Dr. Cliff Moore