Before I start lecturing you about what to do in the morning in order to boost your creativity, I have a confession to make: My name is Yoav and I am not a morning person.
Even though every morning I was woken up by the warmth of the first rays of sunlight, the joyful chirping of birds and a personalized alarm clock, my morning (bad) mood still remained. It was a real struggle figuring out how to start my day, but I soon learned that it wasn’t the only conflict I was faced with. As it turns out, your morning routine sets the tone for the rest of your day and if you put the time and effort into making it a productive one, your creative juices are sure to flow!
If it wasn’t enough that I am not a morning person I also happen to work in a creative environment. You have to be sharp and on point as soon as you clock in. (I’m sure any of you professionals out there can relate to that). So what is an exhausted fellow to do in order to boost his creativity as soon as the sun rises? Create a killer morning routine to boost and sustain creativity for the whole day!
Below you’ll find the best tips to make sure you wake up with a bam!
As a kid, I tried to go to sleep as late as I possibly could, coming up with different excuses only so I could play another battle of Mortal Kombat. But as I got older, I realized that I needed to cherish these glorious hours of sleep because while your eyes may be closed your brain continues to work. So in order to provide your brain the time to reflect, learn and grow – you should ideally go to sleep at a “normal” hour.
How: Research has long claimed that at least 7 hours of sleep at night is what your body and mind needs in order to wake up and feel accomplished. Find your “sweet spot” between 7 to 9 hours a night. Beware of sleeping for longer as this can make you feel dopey.
Why: When your eyes are closed, your brain goes into a mysterious journey into the night. At this time everything you’ve learned, experienced and accomplished throughout the day is processed by your brain. These are the moments your brain needs to recharge and come up with creative outlets, so you can wake up feeling fresh and prepared to tackle whatever the day might hold. Did it ever happen to you that you went to sleep with a question in mind only to wake up the next day with the answer? Well, that’s the kind of clarity I’m talking about.
Sleep tip: Before going to sleep try watching and reading funny or interesting material that will stimulate your senses. This way you’ll dream about it, or at least think about it when you close your eyes, making it one of the first thoughts on your mind the next day.
Rise and shine! Are you awake yet? If you are like me, then this is the moment where even giving your significant other a good morning kiss seems like mission impossible. At this crucial moment of the morning get up on your feet, stretch a little and head to the kitchen to pour yourself a glass of water. This will not only give you that kick you need to open your eyes but also get that oxygen flowing through your body and into your brain, preparing your mind and soul to tackle the next task.
How: Drink at least 2 large cups of water (16oz), room temperature is recommended.
Why: Your brain tissue is 76% water and your body tends to be slightly dehydrated in the AM. That means your brain is operating on ‘low fuel’. Drinking water will allow for good digestion and will provide H2O to all of your body cells, including your brain of course.
Drink tip: I would be shocked if at this point your hand isn’t reaching out for the coffee pot. But hold on! I learned a valuable life lesson from my animation professor back in college (don’t ask, she was a health nut). If you do drink coffee first thing in the morning, do not let it enter your body on an empty stomach! (This can cause a mix of stomach acid, anxiety and loss of appetite).
Which leads me to my next tip…
When I was younger, I was sure that my mom was trying to trick me when she said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But as I grew older I learned that eating when you wake up gives you the fuel that your body requires in order to be productive. No need to eat like a King, but make sure that the food you do consume has the right nutrients.
Why: Eating the right amount of nutritious food in the morning has indicated to have an effect on enhancing memory, attention, the speed of processing information, reasoning, learning, verbal abilities and drum rolls, please… creativity! So what’s on your menu? :)
Food tip: The new “it thing” on the market is chia seeds. They are high in fiber, packed with antioxidants and they are really fun to chew on :) Add them to any of the above choices for a complete and fabulous first meal of your day.
One of the biggest mistakes I made growing up? Thinking that just washing my face was enough of a kick to start off my day. Boy, was I wrong. The morning shower has a few essentials aspects that can stimulate your creative senses. From the time you close the curtain and turn on the water, a shower gives you few minutes of solitude before going out into your day.
How: Try to use warm water for the most part of your shower, as it is better for your skin. Allow yourself enough time to really give your body a good scrub. Use this time to jog your memory of that crazy dream you had last night!
Why: Morning showers are a great way to wake you up and keep you calm. The freshness of the water helps your cognitive processes to relax, renew, and regenerate, which leads to your ideas and solutions to effortlessly present themselves. So you can step out of the shower with a new idea and say “ta-dah!” (add jazz hands, if you feel like being a complete fool).
Cleanse tip: Before wrapping up, turn the knob to the coolest temperature and give yourself a splash of icy water to really give you that extra slap in the face (and it’s great for blood circulation). A scream always helps me recover from the shock – you should try it too!
Music is the beat to my life (and I’m sure it is for you too). Everyday when the dawn rolls in, I play music on my phone and keep it on throughout every task I might have. Lyrics and sounds stimulate the creative juices in the brain and will put you in a mood to either rock it out or feel the love in the air.
How: My secret? I have a “Wake up and go!” playlist. It starts with songs from back in the day that have a slower beat. Slowly it builds to songs that makes me want to move, dance and sing along to!
Why: Parag Chordia, Director of the Music Intelligence Lab at Georgia Tech, said that music is a significant, if not essential contributor, to the development and cultivation of creativity. Listening to music is a highly engaging process that activates multiple areas of the brain and helps us to develop greater creative capacity.
Listen tip: Rapping to yourself the actions you’re performing really helps transform any ordinary chore plus you might just end up with a whimsical hit.
Let’s get physical! For me, even something like walking to the bathroom in the morning felt like climbing a mountain. However, once I started forcing myself to get my body moving early, I felt ready to take the day on. (it also means you’re excused from doing any physical activity after work and you can hit that happy hour instead!) Exercise, in general, is known to improve memory and thinking skills, so crossing off that task in the AM means your brain is ready to accomplish whatever might come its way.
How: Exercising doesn’t necessarily mean you need to hit the gym. A solid 30 minute run outside will stimulate all of your senses (especially if you live near a beach!). If you’re ashamed of your bed hair, then doing some push-ups and crunches or even yoga at home can be a great solution!
Why: Researchers noted that regular exercise is associated with improved divergent and convergent thinking, two major components of creative thinking.
Move tip: The hardest part is convincing yourself to begin to exercise. It is all in your mind: Just go ahead and get going, and once you’re in it, there is really no turning back! The rewarding feeling afterwards is worth every drop of sweat.
When you lock the door behind you and head off to the office, your morning routine “work” isn’t done. The route you take to your job can impact how your day will unfold. Try to mix it up by taking different forms of transportation, choosing different paths and even stalling a little more to soak up your surroundings.
How: My best advice to you is to try and change up your daily routine (both the route you take and the means of transportation). Another personal tip: People watching. I think it’s fascinating to look at what others are doing first thing in the morning. Look around you, get inspired from the people and objects you see, so you can remind yourself of the glorious sights you’ve encountered.
Why: Creative energy comes from exploration. When you provide your body and soul new roads each day to work, it will spark all of your senses to question, feel and wonder. If you can walk to work, it’s even better: studies show that walking stimulates creativity.
Change tip: I allow myself to only be on my cellphone for up to 10 minutes on my journey to work. Then, I put it back in my pocket and use what I see around me as my ‘social feed’. Disconnecting from your mobile will ensure a giant boost to all of your senses.
I know it seems like a lot of work for that precious amount of time you have in the morning. But trust me when I say that following some of these tips will make you appreciate the rest of your day. With that said, there’s no need to rush and complete all of these tasks at once. In fact, it’s the exact opposite! Take a breather and move at your own pace so you can give your body the time to acknowledge all the goodness you’re giving it!
How: Set an alarm ahead of time, and give yourself a few minutes to wake up and do at least half of these tips at your own pace. If a thought or an idea arises in the middle, stop and write it down!
Why: By giving yourself space and time you’re setting your mind free. This, in turn, will help you generate more original and unique ideas.
*This blog was written, mostly, during the hours of the morning using all of the above-mentioned tips.
Ready to get creative? Start by creating your own stunning website!
References: Psychologytoday.com: Sleep for Success: Creativity and the Neuroscience of Sleep Davidwolfe.com: Drink Water First Thing in the Morning for These 5 Reasons Consumerreports.org: Why eating the right breakfast is so important Dailymail.co.uk: Shower in the morning to boost creativity Huffingtonpost.com: Music and Creativity Creativitypost.com: Creativity Emerges When You Change-Up the Routine
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