Our daily lifestyles are travelling at a fast pace of ‘constant’. We are working longer hours, accessible 24 hours a day from our phones or laptops, active social lives, exercise regimes, managing healthy eating, family duties and responsibilities … it is no wonder that fatigue and stress are forever knocking on our doorsteps!
The good news is that following a simple morning routine can dramatically reduce your stress and fatigue.
If you are recovering from any stage of fatigue or feeling burnout, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to invest in a morning routine. The first crucial waking moments and hours really do set the tone for your entire day.
The time spent immediately after you wake not only impacts your mood and thought processes but the rest of the day. Your morning activities like your breakfast, mindset and exercise determine the hormones that are released or inhibited by your body.
By following these simple practices each morning you will set yourself up for an energised, productive and successful day:
Start the night before
Planning and taking a little time at night to prepare for the next day and having a sleep routine will do wonders in reducing stress and getting a good night’s rest.
Firstly, prepare your clothes for work. How much time is wasted in the morning thinking about what you’re going to wear. Doing it the night before ensures one less stress or decision you need to make in the morning.
Make your lunch and know what you’ll have for breakfast. This will avoid any morning rush of what to eat and avoid you eating something unhealthy. For lunch or breakfast start using leftovers from dinner. Or do a meal plan once a week.
Turn off those glowing screens by 8.30 pm at the very latest – this means TV, internet, phone, game console, etc. Not only does it rev up and stimulate your brain with electrical activity and racing neurons, it stimulates cortisol release, especially after 10:30pm. You know that 10:30pm to midnight second wind – this is fuels by an out-of-sync hormone called cortisol.
So the key is to not let it kick in and instead allow melatonin secretion (the hormone for relaxing and helping us to fall asleep).
We get the most of our restorative and healing sleep between 10pm and midnight. So start a bedtime routine – low lighting, gentle music, read a book, take a bath, do some light yoga or meditation and get to bed about the same time each night.
Wake at the same time each day
Have you ever found that you wake just before the alarm? Our body’s circadian rhythms forms as a ‘schedule’ for the body, causing us to wake up at roughly the same time each day, provided that you live a relatively routine life. You may not like being classified as such, but human beings are creatures of habit.
The body prefers to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep and it also prefers a routine. So if you begin going to bed every night at 10pm, and setting your alarm for 6am, within a matter of days or weeks your body will do this naturally for you.
The body spends a lot of time and energy perfecting this system and a gradual wake-up makes for a smoother adjustment into the day (rather than an alarm clock to shock the body).
Your body will naturally awake so you feel rested, restored, energised and motivated for your day ahead.
During the night our bodies become dehydrated so the first things our bodies need in the morning is water.
Drink at least one to two glasses. This kick starts your metabolism and gets your brain functioning.
If you have been fatigued for a while also add add a pinch of organic sea or himalayan salt this will increase your mineral intake. My morning detox drink is 1/2 an inch of grated ginger, 1 cup of warm water, squeeze of 1/4 of a lemon and 1/2 tsp of organic honey.
Breathing and Meditation
While working in corporate I started researching the benefits of breathing and meditation for stress and fatigue.
I admit it took discipline and a lot of patience, but like the sleep routine, once I started I wouldn’t live without it.
Each morning before breakfast I do 20 minutes of meditation and breathing (I quite regularly sneak in an afternoon or evening session too!). Some mornings I just focus on my breath – breathing in for 7, hold for 7 and out for 7.
Other days I say an affirmation or mantra and often hold a crystal for good luck or grounding, it depends what I need each morning. This practise assists me to feeling calm, clear, grounded and focused for the day ahead.
When you’re in the throes of fatigue, the last thing you feel like doing is probably exercise.
Strenuous exercise is the last thing you need as it taxes the adrenal glands. However, it is extremely beneficial to move your body as it increases your circulation, stimulate blood and lymph flow, and release oxytocin, the feel-good love hormone.
Start with gentle stretching, light yoga, or walking. Twenty minutes is plenty until you start feeling energised to increase your physical activity.
Ditch the coffee, go for herbs and spices
Caffeine tends to interfere with the production of cortisol, especially in the morning when cortisol production is high.
This means that the body will produces less of the cortisol hormone and relies more on the caffeine, which is why caffeine can be so addictive in the morning.
So an alternative is to start your day with leamon and water or herbal teas like licorice root that help strengthen the adrenal glands that produce cortisol, golden lattes or decaffeinated spiced chai.
You don’t have to completely give up coffee (stick to 1 to 2 a day) but drinking it between roughly 10am-12pm, and 2pm-5pm, when the caffeine will not interfere with our body’s own natural cortisol levels for keeping us alert is key.
Eat the right breakfast
We have all been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but many of us still tend to skip breakfast.
If you want to feel energised, motivated, alert, or recover from any stage of fatigue eating breakfast will vastly improve your symptoms.
It is important to eat breakfast each morning so that we replenish and balance the blood sugar levels in our body and brain. However, it is not simply the act of eating breakfast that is important; but exactly what you eat.
Eating simple carbohydrates and sugar foods like pastries, white bread or flour products and muffins create a spike in blood sugar and forces morning cortisol to plummet. This includes most commercial juices, granolas, cereals, and yogurts so check the labels.
Plan for high protein, good quality fats and oils and complex carbs to get your engines running smoothly. My staple breakfast is organic eggs with roasted sweet potato, beetroot with goats cheese, sauté greens and sauerkraut or homemade baked beans with avocado, greens and feta. If i’m on the go its a green smoothie. Make breakfast simple, easy, fun and enjoyable and your energy, mood and fatigue will dramatically improve.
From my own chronic fatigue journey my passion and dedication is in assisting others who are suffering from fatigue and burnout. As a qualified kinesiologist and coach my mission is to guide my clients in living a life full of health, self care and a balanced lifestyle.
So if you are ready to overcome burnout and fatigue, I am ready to work with you! Let’s get to know each other with a complimentary 20 minute “Let’s connect” session.
To book your session, head to my Work 1:1 page.
My promise to you is to motivate, empower and guide you to overcome burnout and fatigue just like I did.