Image by: Susanne Nilsson
By MacKenzie Nelson-Greene
Ladies, at one point or another, we all experience some form of lag. Whether you have a scheduled lag time at round three in the afternoon every day, or every once in a while you just can bring yourself to make it to the five o’clock whistle, that dragging feeling is your body telling you something very important.
Do not assume that these occurrences are something that can be cured with a giant cup of coffee or a sugar boost. Forcing your body to have energy is the equivalent to putting a Band-Aid on a broken leg.
It is important to evaluate your morning practices when you experience this lag—especially when there is a consistent pattern in the dragging feelings you get throughout the work day. Check out these four essential practices for every morning to help you become a more efficient worker during the day!
Yes. Breakfast. It has become cliché to say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it is also very true. Your energy levels throughout the day depend on your breakfast. While breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it is also the most skipped or the most flubbed up.
My mom always says “When I eat breakfast, I get really tired.” This is because there are many breakfast foods that can weigh you down. Sugar-filled cereals, donuts, and various breakfast pastries are not the best decision for such an important meal.
Consider breakfast foods that are high in protein and low in heavy greases and sugars.
A bowl of high-protein oatmeal with some fresh fruits is a great way to start your day. It will fill your stomach but not weigh you down or make you feel sluggish.
Another great breakfast trick is to replace your entire breakfast with a protein shake or a vitamin-packed smoothie. Add a little bit of dark chocolate for sweetness and antioxidants. When you “drink your breakfast”, you are effectively getting all of the nutrients your body needs in a more efficient way (for those of us who cannot seem to find time for breakfast).
No complaints! Many of us who feel sluggish in the morning will benefit from a little bit of cardio to start our days. Getting in even ten minutes of cardio will get your blood pumping early on, and keep your metabolism high throughout the day.
You may find that you are hungrier throughout the day when you exercise in the morning. This is your body telling you that it craves protein to maintain that energy level. Feed your body what it needs, and your efficiency will skyrocket.
“But, MacKenzie! I can’t exercise in the morning!”
Why not? There are twenty-four usable hours in every day, and ten to thirty minutes of that time can be spent focusing on your body. Boost your energy in the morning, and you will have less chance of lag in the afternoon.
#3) Wake Up an Extra Hour Early
For all of us snooze-hitters and alarm clock-throwers, this one will be tough in the beginning. However, waking up an hour earlier than usual can really help you create a strong morning routine.
By giving yourself an extra hour in the morning, you will find the benefits heavily outweigh the fear of losing one hour of sleep.
First and foremost, that extra hour will give you time to get your morning exercise in, as well as get you paying close attention to your breakfast.
Additionally, the time you have after you add those two practices to your hour can be spent doing whatever you want. Do you have a presentation to prepare for? Is there a project you can put extra time into? What could you do with your extra time in the morning?
Even if you simply relax and watch morning news programs every morning, you are still giving yourself the ability to create a routine for yourself.
The extra time in the morning is basically to help you get rid of that rushed feeling that we sometimes feel when we have hit snooze one too many times. That feeling can lead to unnecessary stress that ultimately makes us crash in the middle of the day.
Give yourself a little bit of time to relax in the morning. Leave for work early, and see how much less traffic exists when you just exit your house ten minutes before normal. There is so much to do with that extra hour, and I recommend doing anything you please, just don’t fall back asleep.
#4) Give Yourself a Routine
Routines are incredibly important to everyone. While we should always be open to bumps or changes in the routine, having a running list in your head when you wake up is a great way to feel accomplished by the time you leave the house. Once you have covered all of the items in your routine, you feel more confident than if you just bounce around the house. Additionally, a routine is a great way to avoid the “I know I’m forgetting something” feeling that we get when we leave the house sometimes.
Routines are also great when it comes to your organization. If you are not the most organized person that you know, you will find that having a routine can help that. You will notice that you always put your keys in the same spot, and perhaps you will begin setting up your kitchen in the most efficient way to create your breakfast.
Once you realize how helpful a morning routine is, you might find that carries over into your workspace. Your organizational skills will skyrocket, and in effect, your efficiency at work or home will do the same.
The beginning of your day can set the tone for your entire day. By paying close attention to what you do in the morning, you can seriously increase your efficiency and avoid that lagging, dragging feeling that you get after a few hours of work. Remember to always eat your breakfast, do your best to get in some good exercise, give yourself an extra hour, and make sure that you have a morning routine. What are some practices you cannot live without in the morning? Share with us in the comments below!