Doesn’t it seem like people are busier these days? Everyone is running from home to work to daycare or school pick up to afterschool activities, and on and on. It seems like there is no time to get anything done, let alone take extra time to focus on living a healthier lifestyle. Check out these simple hacks for making your days healthier and more productive.
In the Morning
Mornings can be tough, especially if you aren’t prepared for the day. If you take a little time to plan out your morning, it can help you get the day started in a more productive and efficient manner. This sets you—and your day—up for success.
- Drink a glass of water: Drinking water first thing in the morning helps you rehydrate after sleeping all night, plus it gives your metabolism a jumpstart. Try having a glass of water with lemon right after you wake up.
- Eat a breakfast rich in protein: Eating breakfast is essential. It gives you the energy and nutrition to help you get through your morning. A breakfast rich in heart healthy protein helps you feel fuller longer so you can focus on other tasks before lunchtime.
- Make your bed: Making your bed helps your room look clean, and gives you a feeling of accomplishment before you even start your day. Plus, who doesn’t like coming home to a neat bed after a long day?
- Be active: Working out in the morning helps you feel more alert and gives you energy. According to the National Sleep Foundation, exercising first thing in the morning helps you stay consistent because you get your work-out in before the day gets away from you. In addition, working out in the morning helps you get deeper and more restful sleep at night.
- Review your calendar: Take a minute or two to check over your calendar and to-do list in order to plan your day. Know what time you have appointments and what your priorities are. Knowing what to expect and having a plan to tackle it can make your day run smoother.
- Wake up early: This may seem difficult, especially if you aren’t a morning person or if you like to sleep late, but waking up early is crucial to getting the day started on the right foot. Give yourself ample time to wake up, get ready and leave without rushing. Being late can put you in a bad mindset for the rest of your day.
- Avoid technology: This may sound counterintuitive, but leave your phone in the other room and don’t check your email until noon. Tackle your priority tasks before getting distracted by emails and other less important tasks. If you use your phone for an alarm clock, try buying an actual alarm clock to use instead. Some people even put their phone in airplane mode or silent so they aren’t tempted by their notifications.
- Take time for you: Whatever that means for you—meditate, drink your coffee outdoors, read a few chapters of a book—do something that will excite and refresh you. This can also be an excellent motivation for waking up early in the morning. It will give you something to be excited about doing in order to make getting out of bed a little easier.
The key to setting up your morning for success is to take a little bit of time at night to prepare for the day ahead.
- Put what you need by the door: Take a few minutes to set aside everything you’ll need for the following day. This includes your purse, computer or other supplies. Put them right by the front door so that you’ll remember to grab them on your way out. This also keeps you from forgetting something important, or having to run around to find what you’ll need. You can get the entire family involved to make sure briefcases or backpacks are ready to go the next morning as well.
- Make your lunch: Making a healthy lunch the night before means that you can grab it easily in the morning. It also means that you’ll probably eat something healthier than if you went out to a restaurant or the cafeteria. Make sure to throw in a few healthy snacks so that you’re not tempted to hit the vending machine.
- Set out your clothes: Avoid that time of the morning where you stand in front of your closet and swear that you have nothing to wear. Take a few minutes to lay out what you want to wear the next day, including shoes and jewelry, and make sure that it is all ready to put on. This may mean double-checking that the laundry was done or ironing the wrinkles out of a blouse.
- Clean up the kitchen: It can be tempting to leave dirty dishes or the dishwasher for the next day, especially if you are tired after a long day. But take the 10 minutes you’ll need to clean up the kitchen. You’ll feel infinitely better waking up to a clean kitchen, plus it’s easier to make your healthy breakfast if everything is already clean and ready to go.
- Meditate: Taking a few minutes to clear your mind before going to bed at night will help you relax and let go of the stress from the day. This leads to better and more restful sleep. You don’t need to do a formal 30-minute meditation in the lotus position (unless you want to), but do take a few minutes to sit quietly with your eyes closed and focus on letting go. Check out these tips for beginning a mindfulness meditation practice.
- Go to bed early: Many Americans are chronically overtired and under rested. It can be tempting to stay up late and just get one more thing done, but it’s important to make sure that you are getting enough sleep each night. Being well rested improves your mood, gives you more energy and helps you make healthier food and exercise decisions throughout the day.
Don’t feel that you need to jump in and do everything tonight and tomorrow morning, as that may feel a little overwhelming. Instead, pick one or two tips at a time and focus on making them regular habits. As they start to feel more normal and a part of your routine, pick another one or two and focus on them. Over time, you’ll start to notice that your day runs smoothly and more efficiently.