Quarantine can prove monotonous at the best of times. As the weeks stretch on, the ability to remain productive and positive becomes more and more of a challenge.
Your morning experience often sets the tone for the rest of your day. By consciously incorporating positive habits into your morning routine, you could reap some astonishing benefits – all whilst boosting your daily productivity.
1) Go for a morning run
You have heard it a million times, but exercise is scientifically proven to boost both your mental and physical health. The NHS goes as far as to state that individuals who exercise regularly have ‘a 30% lower risk of early death’ – nicknaming it ‘the miracle cure we’ve always had’.
Exercise lowers both stress and anxiety levels through the reduction of hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. The release of endorphins is a further benefit of exercise; creating feelings of optimism and relaxation that will prepare you for the rest of your day.
By simply starting your morning with a run, you are setting yourself up to tackle the day ahead with a more positive and productive mindset.
2) Dedicate 15 minutes to tidying
Cleaning is probably the last thing on your mind when you wake up in the morning, but it comes with some surprising benefits. Building daily cleaning habits can instill a sense of achievement and control – boosting your self-esteem and productivity.
Having a clean workplace can prove especially beneficial when studying from home, as you are likely to be more efficient when you can find materials and belongings easily.
Plus, by cleaning first thing in the morning, you can enjoy the benefits throughout the day!
Chores you may choose could include making your bed, emptying your wastepaper bin, putting on a load of washing or decluttering your room.
3) Listen to music
Music is a huge part of cultures and communities across the globe. Unsurprisingly, listening to music can also significantly boost your mental wellbeing. Music therapy has been developed as a professional tool to aid the expression of difficult emotions, combat depression and reduce anxiety and symptoms of stress.
Not only does listening to your favorite music decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol, but it also releases dopamine – a ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitter that increases feelings of happiness. Listening to 10 minutes of music every morning can alleviate feelings of stress, depression and anxiety.
Left unaddressed, these feelings could otherwise decrease your daily productivity and drain your mental wellbeing.
4) Plan a schedule for the day ahead
Planning is a tried and tested method to maximize your daily productivity. By formulating goals and a structure for the day ahead, a 5-minute planning session can reduce the risk of stress and poor time management.
Whilst it is great to be ambitious when planning your schedule, it is vital to ensure that it is achievable and balances opportunities for both work and relaxation. This approach utilizes planning as a tool to boost productivity and reduce the risk of burning out.
Planning enjoyable breaks is especially important when combatting the monotony that plagues daily routines in quarantine.
5) Dedicate 30 minutes to a new skill
Quarantine has brought forward a current trend in learning new skills to fill time and bust feelings of monotony and boredom. Whilst this is already highly effective, dedicating 30 minutes in the morning to develop new skills can also improve your productivity for the day.
Learning a new skill is reliant on self-discipline and creates a sense of achievement once you see the results of your work. By positively reinforcing your efforts, this sense of achievement can motivate you to tackle the rest of your day more productively.
Skills to focus on could be beneficial to your resume or simply something you may find enjoyable – such as cooking or playing an instrument.
6) Sit down for a healthy breakfast
The benefits of healthy eating and a substantial breakfast have likely been drilled into you from infancy. The importance of fuelling your body is blatant and is supported by extensive scientific research.
Nutrition Australia states that ‘regular breakfast improves your energy levels and your metabolism’. Sufficient energy levels are especially vital when starting your day – maximizing productivity and minimizing the risk of burning out.
Furthermore, a healthy breakfast can improve both your memory and concentration levels.
By setting time aside to eat a healthy breakfast each morning, you are preparing your body both physically and cognitively for the day ahead.
7) Reach out to friends or family
Humans are social creatures and the need to remain connected to friends and family has been amplified by the recent COVID-19 outbreak.
Psychologist Sabrina Read suggests that scheduling in ‘regular catch-ups online or on the phone’ is a necessity when maintaining your physical and mental health in quarantine.
By reaching out to friends and family as part of your morning routine, you are establishing that connection immediately – reducing the risk of loneliness and distraction throughout the rest of the day.
8) Treat yourself
Incorporating a ‘treat’ into your morning routine allows you to start the day on a more positive note. Simply 10 minutes of indulgence can help you rejuvenate, destress, and boost your motivation levels – preparing you for a more productive day.
Although the ‘treat’ may vary for different people, you could dedicate the time to a hot shower, your favorite coffee, a face mask, a good book or meditate
A productive, enjoyable morning routine is beneficial to both your physical and mental health. Be selfish with your time.