What do you do when you first wake up in the morning? Do you get out of bed, open your window, have a good stretch and drink a glass of water? Or do you hit snooze on your alarm and immediately fall asleep?
How you start your day matters. In fact, your morning sets the tone for your entire day, and if it starts badly, changing the trajectory can be pretty difficult.
Before I adopted my mindful morning routine my mornings followed the same formula, leaving me constantly feeling like I’d gotten out of the wrong side of the bed.
Abandoning bad habits is just as important as adopting good habits. You can’t “cancel out” a bad habit with a good one (i.e. eating a carrot for lunch doesn’t “cancel out” the cigarette you smoke afterwards.)
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7 Bad Morning Habits To Stop Doing Now
Below you’ll find 7 common morning habits that don’t serve you. Abandon these and start your day with intention, instead.
1. Repeatedly Hitting Snooze on Your Alarm
Having a sleep-in can be a wonderful thing – just ask any sleep deprived parent of a newborn.
But when your sleep-in’s become a daily occurrence and result in you turning into a ball of stress, racing around the house trying to get ready and not arrive to work 30 minutes late, then they’ve become a problem.
First, determine what time you need to leave the house in the morning. Then figure out how much time you need to get ready in the morning at a normal, stress-free pace. Then give yourself a 5-minute grace period when you set your alarm.
For example, if you need to leave the house at 8am and it takes you 1 hour to get ready, then set your alarm for 6:55am.
The final step? Don’t place your alarm on your bedside table. Instead, put it somewhere across the room so you have to physically get out of bed to turn it off. It’ll stop you from being tempted to hit snooze.
2. Immediately Checking Social Media
If you’re the type of person who immediately reaches for their phone and logs into social media before they’ve even opened their eyes properly, then that habit needs to stop.
Remember back to the days before social media? What did you do when you first woke up? You definitely didn’t reach for your phone.
Social media can be both a blessing and a curse, but starting your day with intention doesn’t include mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, coveting an “influencers” new outfit, getting aggravated at a stupid post someone you went to high school with made on Facebook and checking to see how many views your latest TikTok video got while you were asleep.
I’m not suggesting you should abandon social media completely (unless you feel it doesn’t serve you,) but at least wait until you’ve gotten out of bed.
3. Getting Ready in the Dark
Our bodies need sunlight, especially first thing in the morning.
When we’re asleep, our body releases a hormone called melatonin, often referred to as the “sleep hormone.” On the flip side, when we start to wake up in the morning, our cortisol levels, also known as “stress” hormones, start to increase. Cortisol is what gives us the energy to wake up and get started with the day.
Sunlight has the effect of decreasing melatonin and increasing cortisol. In other words, we need sunlight to help us wake up in the morning and not have that “groggy” feeling.
If the sun is up when you wake up, throw open your curtains and let it shine through your window.
Unfortunately, nothing can replace natural sunlight. However, the Philips Smart Sleep Wake Up Light with colored sunlight simulation is clinically proven to help you wake up feeling more refreshed, and is the next-best thing to natural sunlight.
4. Hydrating With Coffee
Hydrating yourself in the morning is important – you’ve probably gone at least 8 hours with a drink. However, as tempting as it can be to pour yourself a hot cup of coffee, try to start your day with a glass of water instead.
While coffee, although being a diuretic, is unlikely to dehydrate you in small doses, starting your day with a glass of water provides many benefits, including:
- Immediately rehydrates you
- Helps rid your body of toxins
- Can jumpstart your metabolism
- Helps to improve your immune system
5. Body Shaming
Do you start your days by looking in the mirror and body-shaming yourself? The Buddha once said – “whatever one frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of his mind.”
One of the worst things you can do in the morning is to start your day off with body-shaming, because the more you fill your mind with self-induced negativity, the more you’re going to start believing these falsehoods.
Instead, start your day with positive affirmations. And if you’re not happy with your current weight, instead of looking the mirror and thinking how much you hate yourself, use that time to complete a 7-minute workout.
6. Eating Dessert for Breakfast
You’ve probably heard the old adage, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”
The research is still out on whether that’s actually true or not. However, what’s definitely true is that starting your day with a sugary breakfast that more closely resembles dessert is not how you should be fueling yourself in the morning.
Sugary cereals, toaster strudels and waffles drowning in maple syrup are probably what springs to mind when you think of unhealthy, sugary breakfasts.
However, there are several common breakfast items that appear to be “healthy” but are just sugar-bombs in disguise. For example, many flavored yogurts contain just as much sugar as a bowl of sugary cereal and many pre-made smoothies have more sugar than a can of Coke.
That doesn’t mean you should drink a can of Coke for breakfast. Instead, opt for healthy breakfast options like a slice of Ezekiel toast with some smashed avocado, or a homemade smoothie with half a frozen banana, spinach, 100% peanut butter and almond milk.
7. Not Making Your Bed
Making your bed in the morning might seem insignificant, but this small task actually helps to set the tone for the rest of your day.
A survey by Hunch.com revealed that 71% of bed-makers consider themselves happy, while 62% of non bed-makers consider themselves unhappy.
Furthermore, in a now-viral commencement speech delivered to the University of Texas at Austin Class of 2014, Naval Admiral William H. McRaven implored graduates to start each day with a task completed, saying that “if you make your bed every day, it will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task…”
How you choose to start your day has a trickle on effect – a bad morning can lead to a bad day. However, the opposite is also true – a good morning helps lead to a good day. Instead of allowing your bad morning to dictate your entire day, replace your negative morning habits with a mindful morning routine.