Four Tips to Help Get Your Day Off to a Better Start
GUEST POST: Gus Worland, Founder, Gotcha4Life
Physical fitness gets plenty of attention—for good reason. A healthy body can help prevent everything from heart disease through to diabetes. Although just as important, mental fitness doesn’t always receive the same consideration. One simple way to build mental fitness is adopting a morning routine that sets your day up for success.
Morning routines are powerful. They set the pattern for the rest of the day. A stress-filled morning often spirals into an anxious afternoon. In comparison, starting the day with a focused routine can help create a sense of calm and confidence that makes the rest of the day seem more manageable. A consistent morning routine can also help to prioritise physical and mental fitness for the rest of the day. Everyone’s ideal morning routine will be different, so the following suggestions should be considered a starting point, rather than a prescriptive step-by-step guide. Experiment with what works for you, and remember that consistency is key.
Gus Worland, Founder of Australia’s leading mental fitness and suicide prevention foundation, Gotcha4Life, outlines his four tips to help get your day off to a better start.
Mental Fitness is Vital
Mental fitness is so important to me. There are so many people taking their own lives—around seven men per day and two women per day. Suicide is the number one way for men to die.
The ‘old school’ Aussie bloke mentality of ‘she’ll be right mate’ just doesn’t cut it anymore—particularly when subtle little changes in your day-to-day routine can make such a difference.
We all need to be role models—for our own children, for our apprentices and employees, for anyone who looks up to you. We all need to get out of our comfort zones and try something different like these changes to your morning routine.”
The most important aspect of creating a morning routine that builds mental fitness is consistency. It’s all about consistency at the end of the day. It’s not just about every now and then—it’s about committing to a new routine for at least a month, and seeing how you feel at the end of that.
The morning routine that you commit to might be really simple. You don’t have to make huge changes. It’s just about using that time when you first wake up in the morning to set yourself up for a great day.
1. Buy An Alarm Clock
My first tip is simple: buy an alarm clock.
We wake up in the morning, hit snooze, and immediately pick up our phone. From the minute we open our eyes, we’re flicking through our notifications, reading emails, replying to texts, looking at Facebook – all while we’re still lying in bed.
When we check our phones, we’re inviting a whole flood of stimulation into our brain. We’re confronted with a range of issues that seem to all simultaneously demand our immediate attention. This can be particularly confronting if you’re in a relaxed state, such as that after sleeping. Instead, maintain that relaxed state for as long as possible.
Go and buy an alarm clock – that way, you don’t even have to have your phone in your bedroom. I do this myself, along with all my kids. Of a night, my whole family leaves their phones all lined up on the kitchen bench charging—it’s great!
We all want to get ahead of things and make sure we’re on top of our inboxes. We’re all committed to our jobs. But, we aren’t sleeping enough as it is, and as soon as we wake up, the drama starts. We’ve got to start looking after ourselves a bit better. No job is paying you from the minute you wake up. So, take some time for yourself in the morning and start your day off right.
Freddy Fittler (head coach of the New South Wales State of Origin team) gets all his players to do this. Mobile phones are taken off all the players. Freddy wants them to talk, to make eye contact, to get to know each other—to build a real team. It’s impossible to do this with a mobile phone in hand.
We’ve become addicted to mobile phones, and they are a necessary evil. We just need to stay away from our phones for the first five minutes of our day—it gives us all a much better chance of getting through the day with less stress.
Plus, reaching for your phone as soon as you wake up is a surefire way to derail your morning routine. Before you know it, you’ll have spent half an hour on Instagram and be rushing out the door to get to work.
Get out of bed. Go to the toilet. Then, come back and sit on the edge of the bed. While seated, breathe for a minute – in through the nose for five seconds, out through the mouth for five seconds. Do that for a minute. It should take about five breaths. Nice and easy.
When you’re stressed or anxious, your breathing is usually fast and shallow, rather than slow and deep. This is the body’s natural response to stress. Taking some deep breaths can actually help to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps to produce a sense of calm.
3. Drink Some Water
Put a glass of water next to your alarm clock before you go to bed at night. While you’re sleeping, you’re getting more and more dehydrated. So, you need to start hydrating as soon as you wake up. Take a minute or so to drink a glass of water.
Hydrating actually helps increase our cognitive function and gives us a clearer mind. It can improve your mood and energy levels, and even balance out hormones and emotional responses—all in less than a minute.
4. Make Your Bed
Lastly, get up and make your bed.
It might seem small and inconsequential, but making your bed can help to set the tone for your entire day.
It can make your physical space feel less messy and cluttered, which impacts on your mental space.
If you’d like further details, or are keen to run a mental fitness program at your organisation, contact Donna South (National Manager Membership & Marketing, Weld Australia) on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0409 609 031. Weld Australia has partnered with Man Anchor and Gotcha4Life to help build the mental fitness of Australia’s welders.