Even though most of us dread that morning alarm clock and struggle to get going in the a.m, it’s important to cultivate good morning habits, as they can help set the tone for the day. As far as what not to do in the morning, there are a number of surprising habits that can ruin your mood, zap your energy, or make you less productive. Not every morning is going to be perfect, but if you try your best to avoid these habits first thing, you might find that the remainder of the day turns out a lot better than you expected.
Here are 7 things you should not do right after you wake up, according to experts.
1. Check Social Media
So many people check their social media first thing in the morning to get the latest gossip, news and family/friends happenings, but this can leave you feeling stressed. Remember, you are coming out of a relaxed sleep and when you immediately bombard your brain with too much stimulus, your body can become stressed. Ignore your phone until you’re on your way out the door, when you’ve showered, dressed, eaten breakfast and your mind is more alert.
2. Drink Coffee
If you’re a coffee drinker, you’ll want to wait a bit before you pour yourself a cup. The sheer activity of waking up elevates your cortisol levels to start with. Drinking a morning cup of joe will just make you jittery and hyper-alert, and confuse your body’s natural cortisol monitoring system, leading to an afternoon crash later. Studies say that the best timing for your daily cup of coffee is between 10 a.m. and noon.
3. Choose Breakfast Options Without Protein
Something like a bagel or croissant is a quick option, but it can lead to an energy crash later in the day. Although these foods may give you a quick jolt of energy, it will likely be followed by a blood sugar crash which could leave you feeling more hungry and sleepy, not to mention a little foggy and grumpy as you roll into work. Instead, eat high quality proteins and fats for a long-lasting source of energy to keep you focused and productive.
4. Twisting & Bending Your Body
It feels good to stretch your body out in the morning, but avoid anything too aggressive. During sleep, your spinal discs absorb fluid as part of a natural rehydration process. This causes the discs to expand, which is why you can actually be a few centimeters taller in the morning. However, this natural process also limits movement of the vertebrae and causes the spine to stiffen. As a result, flexing and bending when you first wakeup is not only harder but potentially dangerous. Move gently right when you wake up to avoid any injuries.
5. Go Straight To Your To-Do List
Treat your first waking hour as a kind of moving meditation. While you’re brushing your teeth or taking a shower, avoid thinking about what’s ahead. Don’t think about your tasks, deadlines, pressures, or calendar. Instead, let your thoughts and awareness move to the people and things in your life that you’re grateful for.
6. Check Your Email
Because people use their cell phone as an alarm clock, they are prone to instinctually check email before they’ve even wiped the boogers from their eyes. By opening your email before you’ve gone to the bathroom and brushed your teeth, you are allowing someone else to set your priorities. That stack of to-do’s in your inbox is more likely to drain your wellbeing, success and happiness than add to it.
7. Make Too Many Decisions
Make the little decisions about your day before you go to bed. Having a routine in place lets your brain work a bit on autopilot in the morning, meaning that you’re not wearing down your brain early in the day with decision fatigue. You don’t want to waste each day’s finite amount of energy and brain power on silly things like ‘What should I wear today?’ or ‘When will I be able to exercise?
Sometimes these habits are inevitable, but if you can keep your mornings more calm and restful, experts say you’ll feel better throughout the day.