Five Morning Habits of Highly Successful People

5 Morning Habits

Do you ever feel like some people just have it all together? Maybe it’s the dance mom who never seems frantic on Wednesday afternoons with her perfect outfits, perfect hair, and perfectly manicured nails, or the co-worker in your office who is always sitting at his desk sending out brilliant ideas via email before you even make it into the office.

If it seems like some people can produce a type of daily lifestyle efficiency you feel is unobtainable, know that nothing is stopping you from being just as prepared, organized, and optimistic, except for your daily habits. By adopting the following five proven-effective morning habits of highly successful people, you too will be able to do it all with Zen, no matter what the day throws at you.

  1. Follow a Consistent Wake-Up Routine
    Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day (yes, even on the weekends) not only trains your body to fall asleep and wake up more quickly, but it also allows you to be consistent in your morning routine. Nothing sets your morning off on a rough start like running late. If you consistently oversleep, you set yourself up for the panicked morning rush and the anxiety it brings or failing to do something you need to set your day off right—like eating a healthy breakfast.
  2. Wake Up Early. Like, Really Early.
    Not only do you want to wake up at the same time every day, but you’ll also want to wake up early. Some of the world’s most successful people report that they wake up at five or even 4 a.m. If you must be at work by 8 a.m., and you have a 30-minute commute, a 7 a.m. alarm won’t give you the time you will need for healthy habits like meditation, exercise, and eating a healthy breakfast. Commit to slowly moving your wake-up time backward, even just five minutes a week until you are part of the pre-sunrise morning crew.
  3. Get Active.
    If you’re wondering what to do with all the extra time you have in the morning, use it to get active. Daily exercise—even 20 to 30-minutes, can help reduce stress, burn calories, and help keep you fit. Not getting enough exercise can leave you feeling sluggish, fatigued, and unmotivated. A morning jog, yoga session, or workout at your local CrossFit gym will leave you feeling confident and ready to take on your world.
  4. Reflect.
    Take time, even if only five minutes, to reflect on what you’re grateful for, and what you hope to accomplish that day. Many successful people rely on a hand-written to-do list to help them organize and prioritize their tasks for the day. Your list may include personal responsibilities, work requirements, or a mix of both. Throughout the day, check-in with your list, cross off what you have accomplished, and adjust where needed. By the day’s end, seeing how many vital tasks you completed will give you a sense of confidence that will motivate you to tackle tomorrow.
  5. Meditate.
    Before you say that meditation doesn’t work for you, know that there is no right or wrong way to meditate, as long as you take even five minutes to breathe with intention and reflect on what makes you feel grateful, happy, or content. For more tips on how to meditate, review this article from our experts.

Our final piece of advice is not to be too hard on yourself if, on any given morning, things go off the rails. Life happens to all of us, and even the best-laid plans often go awry. When life’s interruptions and disruptions occur, recommit to your morning efficiency plan, and try again. We promise, if you ask all the people in your life who seem to be winning the morning, they’ll tell you that even they have bad days too, but their secret to success is perseverance—and now it’s yours too.

The Days are Getting Shorter—Are You Feeling the Effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder?

SADs-Seasonal Affective Disorder

We’re in full Fall swing, which means baseball playoffs, pumpkin spice everything, cool, crisp weather, and shorter days. If you’re like most people, even if you love Autumn, you secretly crave more hours of sunlight every day. Why? Our bodies naturally crave the energy and mood-boosting power of the sun. When we start to experience fewer regular hours of daylight, especially as Fall turns to Winter, it can begin to impact your mood, especially if you are sensitive to a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). What is this moody condition, and how might it be affecting your internal happiness-o-meter? Read on to find out.

What is SAD?

SAD, often referred to as major depressive disorder with seasonal pattern, is a type of depression that’s associated with the changing of the seasons. Those who experience SAD most often feel a decline in their mood in the Fall and Winter months. While experts still need to conduct more research on the causes of SAD, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) believes the condition may be triggered by reduced exposure to sunlight, causing a chemical imbalance in the brain and a disruption of the circadian rhythm (our internal clock).

While the APA reports that only about five percent of Americans experience SAD annually, it can plague their mood for up to 40 percent of the year.

SAD Symptoms

Symptoms of Fall and Winter SAD may include:

  • Regular feelings of depression or hopelessness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Being easily agitated
  • Reduced interest in hobbies and activities
  • Feelings of low energy
  • Difficulty concentrating

In the most severe cases, SAD can result in thoughts of death or suicidal ideation.

What to Do if You Believe You are Experiencing SAD

If you notice a recurring, negative impact on your mood and emotional wellbeing during times of the year that experience less consistent daylight, talk to your doctor. He or she will be able to diagnose whether or not you are experiencing a seasonal, or more persistent form of major depressive disorder, and can prescribe a treatment plan. Common treatments for SAD include:

  • Psychotherapy – Treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help patients understand and manage their reactions to certain situations and environments.
  • Prescription Medication – For some, antidepressant medications help to increase serotonin levels, improving mood, and lessening feelings of depression.
  • Bright Light Therapy (Phototherapy) – During this treatment approach, a patient sits in front of a lightbox for twenty minutes to an hour daily, ideally in the morning hours, during the times of the year when they typically experience SAD. The light exposure may help to restore the patient’s normal circadian rhythm.
  • Lifestyle Changes – Changing one’s routine to maximize exposure to sunlight may also help improve mood. Committing to an afternoon walk, changing window dressings to allow more natural sunlight into rooms, and sitting near a window during work hours are all helpful tactics. Obtaining regular exercise and eating healthy also help to stabilize and improve mental health.

The days are only going to keep getting shorter until we reach the Winter solstice. If you believe you may be feeling the effects of shorter, darker days, make an appointment now to talk to your Nova Health provider. Together we will build a plan so that you can maximize your enjoyment of every day, regardless of the season.