It’s the little things that count

How to put a spring in your step and experience more from your day

While there’s a lot to love about winter, such as cosy evenings, crackling fires and, of course, Christmas, the dark and cold mornings can make it difficult to jump out of bed with a spring in your step! In fact, we ran some research and found that over half of Brits admit they struggle to get up in the mornings and many of us hit the snooze button up to three times before we roll out of bed.

But never fear – we also asked for the best morning motivation to help inspire us to get the most out of our day. Our research found we like to use little things as a motivation to switch off the alarm and get on with the day. And the most common ‘morning motivation’ used by Brits is the thought of a nice hot cup of tea (30%) – hooray! We can certainly relate to that.

 

To get an expert opinion, we spoke to Psychotherapist Robert Stewart for his top tips on little things people can do to give their morning a boost. He told us:

“The way you start your day can make a big difference to the way you feel all day. So to ensure you start it right, make sure you add a touch of adventure to your normal routine. Even things which may seem like an insignificant change can make a big difference.

“As an example, swapping your tea blend for a new or alternative flavour may seem like a little thing but – if we take our time over the drink and truly appreciate the tastes and flavours that are flooding our senses – it can stimulate certain areas of our brain such as the hippocampus, the ‘library’ of our memories. When this is stimulated, even if we don’t recall specific memories, we begin to associate with the pleasant emotion that memory evokes and it positively impacts on our mood.”

 

He told us five little things to motivate you to jump out of bed on a dark wintery morning and experience more from your day:

1. Start the day with a healthy breakfast. Where we have less exposure to the sun, we lack vitamin D and this affects the production of serotonin, one of our happy hormones. A good breakfast, rich in protein, carbohydrates and vitamins, will give your body and brain a good boost.

2. Shake up your routine. Awakening from our slumber means our brain takes some time to switch on and become fully active. Within this time it will run on ‘automatic pilot’ and we’ll carry out most activities without conscious awareness. This may feel easier, but it’ll mean longer to feel awake. A change in routine will start to awaken your mind as you have to be aware of what you’re doing.

3. Start with a mindful activity. Whether it’s doing some stretching or having a cup of tea. Learn to take a few minutes to savour a moment, and be in that moment as much as possible. Mindful activities have shown to promote both oxytocin and serotonin release, which will set up our mood for the day.

4. Leave a few minutes earlier. Again this may seem contradictory as you may have to get up a few minutes earlier, but the lack of rushing on your commute and reduced production of your stress hormone cortisol outweighs the extra 5 minutes in bed!

5. Start your day with your meetings. So much of our day will be taken up carrying out isolated, singular tasks where we are introspective for the majority of it. Use the beginning of your day to connect with those around you and boost your happy hormones.