If you think your morning doesn’t really begin until you get to work or school, then it’s time for a wake-up call. What you do between waking up and walking out the door sets the tone for how you feel the rest of day. Luckily, some of the most common flubs are easy to fix, says psychologist Melissa McCreery, PhD, and the founder of toomuchonherplate.com. Avoid these five missteps and you’ll stay on a positive track all day long.
Blunder 1: Hitting the Snooze Button
That extra nine minutes of sleep won’t make you feel more rested. In fact, just the opposite—abruptly awakening after a snooze puts your body into a state of sleep inertia, which can leave you feeling groggy and disoriented hours later.
Better idea: You’ll feel more refreshed if you wake up at the same time each morning. (Sorry, that applies to weekends too!)
Blunder 2: Forgetting the H20
Many adults operate in a constant state of mild dehydration—we’re simply ignoring our thirst needs and cues. Experts still recommend getting about eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid (that includes water-rich foods like cucumbers, lettuce, and melon) a day to keep your body operating at its peak.
Better idea: Before you grab your coffee and go, go, go, take a moment to drink a small glass of water. (Why not sip something while your coffee or tea brews?) And keep sipping throughout the day. Bonus: You’ll have more energy too.
Blunder 3: Eating a Late Breakfast
You know better than to skip breakfast (moms everywhere repeat that truth), but did you know that postponing your most important meal is another mistake? “Our bodies have just been sleeping, and starving, for six to eight hours, so we need that immediate meal to boost our metabolism and kick our energy level into gear,” says Brooke Alpert, RD, a nutrition expert and the author of The Sugar Detox.
Better idea: Allow enough time in your morning routine to nibble on something quick but hearty (like Greek yogurt or toast with peanut butter) within the first two hours of waking up. You’ll prevent that sluggish feeling and promote weight loss.
Blunder 4: Immediately Checking Your Email
You want to get an early jump on work—hey, we’re guilty of this too—but this screen-time habit may actually make you less productive in the long run. Answering email first thing distracts you from accomplishing your goals, says McCreery. “It’s better to focus your energy in the direction you choose rather than react to someone else’s priorities.”
Better idea: Tackle your personal top to-dos first and designate a specific time later in the morning to deal with your in-box.
Blunder 5: Doctoring Your Coffee
We were thrilled to learn that our morning java fix is actually good for us. Research shows that coffee is a rich source of antioxidants and reduces the risk of certain cancers and disease. But some coffee add-ins may undo the good: “Sugar and sugar-substitutes set off a cycle of giving you highs and lows, which makes you crave more sweets through the day,” says Alpert.
Better idea: Wean yourself off the sweet stuff by using less and less over the course of a few days. Milk and cream have a natural sweetness to them that can satisfy that taste craving. These stir-ins also lend a nice shot of calcium and protein.