There are many wonderful things you can do in the morning. Things that can help start your day right. Yet there are just as many things you shouldn’t do. Things that, if done, will make you feel crabby, sleepy, and lethargic.
Following are eight things I strive to not do each morning. Many of them are easy to avoid. Others I have to remind myself of. Regardless, they help make my mornings light and joy-filled. Please don’t feel the need to do (or avoid) each of the eight things. More than likely, you won’t encounter all of them on a given day anyway. Just be aware of the ones that resonate with you. When they arise, keep this article in mind.
You couldn’t get comfortable last night. You were tossing and turning and never felt like you could settle in. Now, with your alarm going off, you can barely muster the strength to sit up. The day just started and it’s already ruined. And, being ruined, you share the news with everyone you know. Your spouse, kids, neighbors, colleagues.
In your complaining, you damage not only your mood but also the moods of everyone you encounter.
Avoid complaining in the morning. If you can’t just not complain, try seeing the silver lining instead. For instance, your poor sleep could actually be a good thing: your grogginess might make you less nervous for the big presentation today.
2. Eating cake
There are two different Corey’s. Corey One is healthy. He either skips breakfast (ie. fasts) or keeps it light with some eggs and fruit. Corey Two wants to watch the world burn. He fills his plate with as many sweets as possible: pancakes, cinnamon rolls, jams, jellies, syrups, and whip creams.
Each Corey has a time and place. It all depends on what I want from my day. If I want to get things done, or, you know, feel good, I go with Corey One. If I have no plans, nothing to do, and don’t mind wasting a day, I go with Corey Two.
The food you start your day with determines your mood. If productivity is your aim, avoid junk. More specifically, eat what makes you feel good.
3. Criticizing yourself and others
Who is this cow? You stand naked in front of the mirror. Though you know better, you can’t help but nitpick every ounce of fat, every saggy piece of skin, every imperfection. It doesn’t help that you just went all Corey Two at breakfast and are feeling bad about yourself. Unfortunately, this criticism only serves to dampen your mood even more.
Avoid criticizing yourself and others. I know, I know. It’s hard to do. If you can’t just not criticize, try thinking of things you’re grateful for instead. For instance, be thankful for your beautiful eyes, strong calves, and luscious head of hair.
You may also find the book, Loving What Is, by Byron Katie to be valuable as well. In it, she teaches you how to be accepting and non-judgmental. It’s helped me a lot.
4. Feeling rushed
You’ve felt behind from the moment your alarm went off. You forgot to iron your clothes the night before and scramble to do it now. Your son throws a time-consuming tantrum while you attempt to change his diaper. And your keys aren’t in their usual spot.
By the time you get out the door you are rushed, stressed, and all-around uptight.
Avoid feeling rushed. Instead, take a deep breath. No, deeper. No, deeper. There you go. Hold it for a few seconds then slowly release. Do that a few times. The feelings of rush will subside and you will regain a calm that you can carry with you through your morning. Bonus points if you can get your kid to do it with you too.
Most people are on social media. Most people check it right when they wake up. I was one of those people for a long time. And while I was there, I engaged in a little thing called comparing myself to others. There’s nothing quite like starting off your day already feeling less than.
Last year I did something about it though – I deleted all of my accounts. I haven’t been back.
Avoid comparing yourself to others. If someone is better than you at something, wish them well. Recognize that you two live separate lives. If you must compare, compare yourself against your past. Turn your envy of others into pride in how much you’ve grown. And if that doesn’t work, remove the temptation altogether (ie. get off social).
If you are sad, cry. Let it out. I’ve been there. There’s no shame in it. However, that doesn’t mean you should intentionally put yourself in depressing situations. Meaning, don’t watch dramas that make you weepy the entire day. Don’t rehash fights with coworkers who deal in low-blows.
Avoid things that make you cry. Instead, embrace things that make you happy. For instance, each morning I watch a comedy on my phone for a few minutes before getting dressed for the day.
7. Yelling at traffic
You know it’s going to be there. It’s there every single day. Yelling and honking at traffic only does one thing – put you in a bad mood. So, avoid yelling at traffic.
If you can’t just not yell at traffic, try leaving a little earlier. Or if you don’t want to do that, why not just simply accept there will be traffic? That way, if there isn’t, you will be pleasantly surprised. And if there is, you were right to expect it.
8. Wasting your time
After I drop my daughter off at daycare, I prepare our home for the day. I open the curtains and windows, make the bed, and organize the chaos that is a toddler’s bedroom. All the while, I have an audiobook playing.
Most people are inundated with chores each day. Most people don’t do anything with that otherwise idle time. Yes, the body may be busy, but the mind is often terribly bored.
So avoid wasting this time. Put in your headphones and listen to something that fills you up and makes your day bright. For me, it’s an audiobook. For you, it may be music, a podcast, or a guided meditation.
You would benefit from avoiding the above eight things not only in the morning but in all of your life. However, start with the first part of your day and go from there. For your reference once more, eight things to avoid before 8 A.M. are:
- Eating cake,
- Feeling rushed,
- Yelling at traffic,
- And wasting your time.