Take advantage of the most important hours of the day. Here are four tips to start your day right:
1. Eat the most important meal.
Everyone knows you shouldn’t skip breakfast, but what’s the best thing to eat? If you’re the kind of person who thinks a granola bar will suffice for breakfast, you’re wrong. Many granola bars are packed with sugar, don’t have enough nutrients and leave you hungry well before lunch. Try these quick-and-easy options instead:
a) Green smoothie
Mix the following in a blender:
• 2 handfuls of spinach
• 1 banana
• 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
• 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
• 1 handful of ice
Blend and pour into a to-go cup to drink on your way to work.
b) Fruity oatmeal
Add some flavor to your favorite sugar-free oatmeal by mixing in some sliced bananas, sliced strawberries and a handful of blueberries.
c) Amped-up toast
Toast a slice of wheat, multigrain or flaxseed bread and slather it with peanut or almond butter. Top it with some sliced bananas. If you’re in the mood for something more savory, cover your toast with avocado slices and a sunny-side-up egg.
2. Morning workouts.
Sunrise sweats can help you lose weight. If you’re not an early bird, a morning workout probably sounds miserable. But if you’re looking to lose weight, an early workout could be just what you need. A 2010 study published by The Journal of Physiology found that “fasted training is more potent than fed training to facilitate adaptations in muscle and to improve whole-body glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity during a hyper-caloric, fat-rich diet.”
What does that mean? It means working out before breakfast on an empty stomach can help you shed a few extra pounds. If you get enough sleep, a morning workout can also energize you throughout the day.
3. Start your day with a quick meditation.
The Mayo Clinic recommends meditation as a way to reduce anxiety, stress and tension. Just five or 10 minutes of meditation when you wake up can lower your stress, reduce your likelihood of pain associated with headaches, and decrease your negative emotions.
We suggest the following two forms of meditation for beginners:
• Guided meditation: Picture a place you find peaceful and relaxing, such the beach in Hawaii or the mountains in Colorado, and try to put yourself there. What do you hear? What do you smell? How do you feel?
• Mantra meditation: Choose a word you find peaceful and calming and repeat it in your head.
4. Do your most important work before lunch.
Although everyone’s productivity peak varies throughout the day, research from Harvard Business Review found that on average, employees’ peak levels of alertness steadily increase once they begin working, decline after lunch and hit a low at 3 p.m.
We recommend stacking the day’s most meaningful tasks — the big projects and important phone calls — early in the day, so you can leave more mindless tasks, such as responding to emails and having weekly staff update meetings, for the afternoon.
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