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Danielle Richardson

Not a Morning Person? Here’s How to Boost Your Early Energy

Give one of the hacks below a try to increase both your energy and focus in the A.M.

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I LOVE COFFEE, SO SKIP this article if you’re expecting advice on giving up your beloved morning Starbucks. You can keep your coffee, but it’s time to discuss a common morning struggle — our lack of energy! Many of us enjoy the taste of coffee or tea, but we’re really using caffeine to solve the underlying issue of not having enough energy for the day.
Low energy can be caused by a lack of rest, systemic disease or chronic stress. To make matters worse, we often compound this with poor choices throughout the day that further deplete our reserves. If you suffer from a lack of energy, simple changes to your daily habits could have profound positive effects. Give one of the hacks below a try to increase both your energy and focus.

Lighten Up at Breakfast. Working in downtown Houston, I observed many busy professionals grabbing breakfasts that consist of pastries, bread, cheeses and other heavy foods. It’s difficult to have enough energy for the day when the first meal is not nutrient dense and difficult for the body to digest. An easy change is swapping heavy options for something lighter like eggs, a smoothie or fruit. Making healthier dietary choices is a quick and effective way to increase both energy and clarity.

Do Not Disturb. I’m a big proponent of unplugging, but I’m also a realist and understand the necessity of staying connected. Make it a morning habit to only briefly check your phone for any pressing matters, then turn off your notifications or place your device on its “Do Not Disturb” setting. Distractions in the form of emails, texts and social media updates decrease your productivity while draining your mental energy. A study at George Mason University by cognitive scientist Dr. Cyrus K. Foroughi and colleagues found even small distractions cause a significant decrease in overall production and quality of work. Changing your phone settings allows you to create boundaries around your time and prioritize important tasks for the day.

Move Your Body. Don’t overcomplicate it. Be active and add simple movement to your day like push-ups, dancing, a few yoga poses, or a short walk during your lunch. Movement, or exercise, gets you out of your brain and into your body while shifting stagnant physical energy. It circulates oxygen, improves your mood, and allows you to feel more present and focused. Not just reserved for the morning, short bursts of movement throughout the day can recharge your batteries and get you over the 2 p.m. slump without a second coffee.

Minimize Decisions With Routine. Last but not least, create a routine to decrease the number of decisions you make each morning. Wake up at the same time and find practices that help you clear your mind and start the day on a positive note. This does not have to be an elaborate 60-minute event. Your routine can be as short and simple as you’d like, but the key is to be consistent. Successful people take control of their mornings with routines to cultivate positive energy and allow a break from the decision-making process, which often depletes energy. Keep your energy high and bring your A game by setting notification boundaries to maintain your focus.

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Dr. Danielle Richardson practices in Houston with Texas State Optical and runs a holistic wellness company, Fierce Clarity. She is a registered yoga teacher and hosts wellness retreats, yoga classes, and pop-up events for busy, professional women to help manage stress and avoid burnout. Follow her on Instagram at @fierceclarity

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