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    Mind and Spirit

    Morning Habits That Can Ruin Your Day

    Skip these a.m. blunders for a more energized and productive afternoon.

    It’s time for a wake-up call! What you do first thing in the morning sets the tone for how you feel during the rest of day. Luckily, some of the most common flubs are easy to fix, says psychologist Melissa McCreery, PhD, and the founder of Avoid these missteps and you’ll stay on a positive track all day long.

    Blunder 1: Hitting the Snooze Button

    That little bit of extra sleep won’t make you feel more rested. Abruptly awakening just nine minutes later puts your body into a state of sleep inertia, which can leave you feeling groggy and disoriented for many hours. That’s not good, given that many of us drive in the morning.

    Better idea: You’ll feel more refreshed if you set your alarm for the time you need to get up – and then actually get up.  Try putting your alarm clock on the other side the room, so you have to walk to turn it off. Once you’re on your feet and moving, you’re unlikely to go back to bed. Each day, give yourself something to look forward to when you wake up – playing with your pet, wearing your favorite shirt, playing your favorite song, having a great breakfast ready (see below) – anything that makes you happy and eager to start your day.

    Blunder 2: Forgetting the H20

    Many adults are constantly dehydrated—we ignore our thirst 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: Make a small glass of water part of your morning routine – before you brush your teeth, while you’re waiting for the coffeepot or tea kettle, etc. And keep a glass or water bottle near you throughout the day, as a reminder to keep sipping. Bonus: You’ll have more energy too!

    Blunder 3: Breakfast Bloopers

    Everyone’s heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so be careful not to undermine yourself. You know better than to skip breakfast.  But don’t put it off – our sleeping bodies have been starving for six to eight hours, says Brooke Alpert, RD, a nutrition expert and the author of The Sugar Detox.  “We need that immediate meal to boost our metabolism and kick our energy level into gear.” Be careful to not load up on carbs, which will make you crash and feel sluggish.

    Better idea: A great breakfast can be an incentive to get out of bed on time. You can nibble on something quick but hearty (like Greek yogurt or toast with peanut butter), make something ahead of time (such as Ellie Krieger’s Strawberry Vanilla Almond Parfait) or treat yourself on the weekend with a dish like a Kale and Sun-Dried Tomato Frittata. Mindful has dozens of recipes to help you sart your day out right!

    Blunder 4: Letting Your Phone Take Over

    Everybody does it – the first thing you do when you wake up is grab your phone (because it’s your alarm clock too!). It’s too easy to get caught up in texts, emails, social notifications, etc.  But this habit may make you less productive in the long run, as it distracts you from accomplishing your morning 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: When you charge your phone overnight, put it in another room, then use a different device for your alarm. Perhaps a fitness wristband, smartwatch, or even an old-fashioned alarm clock. Once you’re up and achieved your morning goals, take a few minutes for some screen time.

    Blunder 5: Doctoring Your Coffee

    Your morning java fix is actually good for you. 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.

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