For many of us, working from home continues to be the new normal. For many others, we’re being encouraged to return to work if we’ve encountered a period of not being able to.
Whatever your situation, it’s natural to feel a lack of motivation with a change in daily structure. It can also send us into a morning lull, and we may find ourselves sleeping in more than we used to. However, during these moments of uncertainty, maintaining a routine is an absolute key.
‘Routines bring a level of certainty and security amidst a time when uncertainty can often feel overwhelming. Daily routines help us to stay focused, maintain productivity and feel fulfilled by activating the reward system in our brains when we complete tasks.’ Alister Gray, Executive Leadership Coach, and Mindset Expert tells YCB.
Alister, who is also Founder of Mindful Talent, adds that waking up early allows us the time to prepare ourselves for the day ahead. But what if the thought of an early start sends fear through your veins? And routine seems impossible? Their experts share their easy tips…
Fuel your brain to focus
What you can eat can help to stick to a routine. Nutritionist Jenna Hope recommends eggs, as the yolks contain choline, which is pivotal for supporting memory, mood, and cognition. As well as eggs, enjoy oily fish and nuts.
‘Omega-3 in oily fish is associated with improved concentration and better cognitive performance! Nuts (specifically walnuts) and seeds are also a source of ALA omega-3 which is converted into EPA and DHA, the active forms of omega-3,’ Jenna explains. ‘Vitamin D from the sun as well as foods such as salmon, mushrooms and eggs can boost brain-power.’
Protect your sleep
A good night’s sleep can make you feel like a new person. And that’s not surprising when you consider just how many health benefits sleeping well can have.
‘Sleep supports the proteins and cells of your immune system to detect and destroy bugs and germs. Sleep also helps to reduce stress, support mental wellbeing and improve heart health,’ says Euan MacLennan, Herbal Director at Pukka Herbs and Medical Herbalist at an NHS practice in London.
‘Research shows that side-effects from herbal medicines for sleep are rarely experienced, particularly compared to over-the-counter medicines. Some of my favorite natural remedies to support sleep include ashwagandha, valerian and oats – which naturally contain Tryptophan, helping to regulate our bodies circadian rhythms,’ Euan adds.
Yoga and meditation teacher, Kirsty Gallagher, recommends meditating for 5 to 10 minutes upon waking.
‘Sit quietly as soon as you get up and focus on your breath; deep breath in and deep breath out, allowing yourself to become calm and present. As thoughts come into your mind don’t get caught up in them or dwell on them, simply acknowledge them and let them go, returning your mind back to your breath.
‘Feel the calm, the peace, the presence. This one pause will make the biggest shift to your day and all that follows.’
Listen to inspiring people
Kirsty recommends downloading podcasts or audio books from some of the world’s most inspirational people.
‘Allowing their words to infuse and shape your day can be really beneficial, particularly if you begin your mornings listening to their positive mantras. From Robin Sharma to Anthony Robbins, Eckhart Tolle to the Dalai Lama, to Louise L Hay or Oprah Winfrey,’ she says. ‘There are lots of amazing and accessible guides.’
Bring bedtime forward
For Lucy Gornall, Personal Trainer at DigMe Fitness, the big secret to being a morning person, is simply getting to bed earlier: ‘I go to sleep between half 9 and 10 and find that getting up at 5 is barely an issued as I will have had at least 7 hours sleep,’ she says.
A nighttime routine to help relax your body and bring a sense of calm is essential. Why not try Pukka Herbs Organic Night Time tea, a soothing and calming blend which contains valerian.
Reduce the negativity
It’s hard when we’re bombarded with negative news but Alister says we should focus on all the things that are great in life.
‘We have over 70,000 thoughts per day; it’s suggested up to 80% of these thoughts are negative in their nature as our brain constantly scans and searches for threats in a bid to keep us safe.’
Try to give yourself a set amount of time to read the news. When time’s up, move on and focus on something else- ideally something happier!
Write it down
Journaling was big in 2019 and it’s even bigger in 2020. Alister explains that a great way to develop motivation is to connect to your reason ‘why’. ‘If you are unsure of your ‘why’, then spend time considering this.
Journaling as part of a morning routine is a great way to delve deeper into your motivations, asking questions such as, ‘What would make today great?’, ‘What am I grateful for today?’, and ‘What inspires me most in life?’.’
Set a wake-up intention before bed
‘Take a moment to make a pact with yourself that you will wake up earlier tomorrow than you did today, and then in small increments, each day, work towards the desired time,’ says Alister.
‘If you are waking at 8 am and you wish to wake up at 6 am, I’d suggest that you break it down; aim for 7.45 am and reduce it by 5/10/15 minutes each day.’
Move your alarm
Lucy says that placing your alarm across the room means you have to physically get up to turn it off.
‘When you’re up, stay up, and crack on with the rest of your day!’
This article originally appeared on Your Coffee Break.