One of the main things we do with our personal clients and something Atvolve focuses on with our creative teams is habit change. I could write for days on this topic, but what I really want to share with you today is the technique of front loading your day with intentional behaviors.
As we evolve with our at home or in office work routines, it's important to continue to make small health goals and take steps every day towards them. Time and crazy work schedules are usually the things that get in the way of healthy habits. The good news is, you have complete control over your schedule first thing in the morning. One of the best ways to stay consistent with a new habit is to do it first thing, everyday.
Front Load Your Day with Intentional Behaviors
This means, you start your day with the things that are most important. Whether you are working on aspects of your mental health, your emotional health, your physical health, or all of them wrapped up in one, doing something that improves your wellness first thing in the morning allows for a snowball effect to happen throughout the day. By starting your day with an intentional behavior, you prime yourself to be more mindful of your decisions throughout the day. If you start your day with movement, for example, you will walk away feeling amazing, your brain flooded with endorphins, and chances are, you will want to move more and eat healthier throughout the day.
Here are some ideas for you to consider doing first thing:
Drink 16 ounces of water
If you struggle with hydration (75% of Americans are dehydrated), consider starting with a glass of water before your coffee. Dehydration can cause brain fog, muscle tension, excess hunger, and irritability. All of these things impact your ability to work efficiently. Kicking off your water intake first thing in the morning will lead to more mindful drinking throughout the day.
Stretch or foam roll for 5 to 10 minutes
Mobility work is one of those things that often gets brushed to the side. But if you experience pain or tension in any form throughout the day, you can't over look it. Most of us are stiffest first thing in the morning; this is a great time to roll out from head to toe.
Not only do you feel great after working out, but regular exercise leads to growth in the hippocampus region of the brain. The hippocampus is responsible for long term memory, imagination, and creativity. Starting the day this way sets the stage for more efficient work output and chances are, you will want to be more active throughout the day.
Go for a short stroll
Green exercise- stepping outside, connecting with nature, and moving your body can have a huge impact on your physiological and psychological well-being. Green exercise reduces inflammation, improves short term memory, lowers cortisol levels (which lowers feelings of stress), lowers anxiety, protects your vision, and reduces blood pressure. Routinely getting outside, even for short periods of time, improves your mood and composure in the face of challenge. And it's addictive!
Write your intentions down for the day
This is not a to-do list. Rather a couple sentences or keywords that describe your values for the day. They are things that you want to prioritize in your life. Some examples include: 'get to bed on time', 'get 10 minutes of sun', 'set movement and water timers', or 'listen to an educational podcast'. Setting your intentions and writing down your values keeps you mindful of the habits you want to improve.
Read for 10 minutes
An actual book! Maybe it's a novel that starts your day in a different world or an educational subject you're interested in. Give your brain a little creative juice to kick things off rather than bogging it down with social media scrolling. Ditching social media and in material that engages you allows for better mood stability and confidence.
Every morning is a new opportunity to take a small step toward improving your health. Choosing to do something for yourself first thing can have a huge impact on your behaviors and frame of mind the rest of the day. And it can be as simple as drinking a glass of water before your coffee- try it!