Getting up in the morning isn't always an easy task -- late bedtimes, heavy dinners and a general desire to stay in bed all day can make the ring of the alarm sound more like the toll of doom.
But there are people out there -- we've all heard of them -- who can leap out of bed and be productive almost immediately, feeling healthy and excited for whatever the day might bring.
As we get closer to September, the psychological start of the new year even once we're long past heading back to school, planning out a new routine seems like a good way to mark the change in season. After all, having a set way of doing things has long been identified as the key to success, whether you're trying to maintain weight loss or study for a massive exam.
We decided to seek out the advice of those who know how to get their day started right, along with the scientific tidbits that can better help everyone plan out their best possible morning.
Check out the 14 things to do in the morning before you head to work. Have a tip of your own? Let us know in the comments below:
Get Up Right Away
We've all heard it before -- the snooze button doesn't actually prolong your sleep in any beneficial way, because once it's been interrupted, it won't be of the same quality. Waking up early also gives you more time to get your routine started properly. As health expert Keri Glassman notes, if you must snooze, do it only once.
Look At A Bright Colour
Colour theory posits that bright colours can help stimulate our brains and get us moving -- so it would only make sense to add something with a bright colour to your wake-up line of sight. Just make sure it's not also in your face right before you go to bed, as this can have the opposite effect.
People are aware of the need to drink water throughout the day, but it's easy to forget that after a good night's sleep, you've just gone seven or eight hours being dehydrated as well. Drinking at least two cups of water when you wake up will not only replenish your body, but can also get the metabolism moving in the right direction. Add lemon or lime if you don't love the taste of plain water.
If you, like so many people, spend your working days sitting down at a desk, it can be incredibly important to take this opportunity to stretch out your muscles right when you wake up. Stretching will improve circulation and help with your posture for the rest of the day. Check out these suggested exercises.
Meditation is actually suggested by many experts who like to start the day with a clear head, but if you're less inclined toward that commitment, just a few deep breaths can also do the trick. Breathing has been shown to lessen stress and positively impact brain and heart health.
Do 10 Push-Ups
Even if you're not the type to put in a full workout first thing in the morning, pumping out some push-ups can have a similar energizing effect. It gets the blood flowing to your muscles, and can also sharpen the mind for the day ahead.
Yes, it's probably something you were going to do anyway, but showering at night has actually been shown to be better for you than showering in the morning. Even if you don't feel it, you're sweating during the night, releasing toxins, and a good shower (we're not even touching the 'cold water' aspect of health) can rinse that away from your skin.
Make Your Bed
Charles Duhigg, author of "The Power Of Habit," pointed to making the bed as a 'keystone habit,' one which leads to other good habits being formed. It also, he says, can increase productivity, and help people stick with their budgets.
The most important meal of the day? Possibly, but only because it's the first one that sets the tone for the fuel that's going into your body for the rest of the day. Either way, you need to eat breakfast, preferably one which includes lean protein, whole grains, fruits or vegetables and dairy.
Pack A Lunch
It saves money, it helps you control what's going into your body over the course of the day -- and oh yes, it also adds to that same sense of routine that builds on itself. Whether you freeze things ahead of time to defrost by noon, prepackage what you can the night before or lay out containers to remind yourself what you'd like to put in the lunch bag, toting your meal with you to work will stave off cravings and budget-unfriendly decisions.
Make A To-Do List
Sound like a stressful way to start your day? In fact, writing out a list of the tasks you need to complete that day, and prioritizing them, can set out your activities in a way that actually makes sense. Workers who make their to-do lists before leaving the office are known to be more productive, so think of this as a similar set-up for your day.
Tidy Something Up
It doesn't have to be a huge mess like your unruly closet, but tidying up a small space, like the front hall table, before you fully start your day can give you a sense of accomplishment -- not to mention, an organized area on which to make a mess when you get home later.
Write In A Journal
This won't be for everyone, but the health benefits of journaling are hard to deny -- it's been found to help solve problems more easily, increase immunity, help fix disagreements, and yes, clarify your own thoughts. Taking a few minutes to write in your journal in the morning can help structure these thoughts even more, as opposed to the rush that tends to occur in the nighttime hours.
Watch Something Inspiring
Before you fully embark into your day, a touch of inspiration can help open up your mind for creativity, or put you in a less stressful mindset. Try out something like a TED Talk or read a book of quotes -- whatever works to get your juices flowing.