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Updated 18 January 2016

Wake up well

Your alarm drags you unwillingly from sleep. The sun is up and you should be too. But before you rush headlong into the day, invest five minutes in your body and mind.

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Scramble out of bed. Shuffle to the shower. Jump into some clothes. Then hit the road running.

Sound familiar? Well, for most of us it probably is. But there is a better way to do it. A healthier, happier, smoother way.

Here’s how to take control of the day before it takes control of you.

1. Find your focus
Some believe dreams foretell the future. Others think they process the past. Whatever their purpose, dreams are a wonderful clue to the workings of the mind. Problem is, they’re notoriously difficult to remember.

Experts say dream recollection is improved if you stay quiet for a minute after waking. Turn off your alarm immediately and lie still, letting your mind return to your sleep. Keep a notebook next to the bed with a pen bookmarking the next clean page – if your dream does surface, reach out and jot it down in as much detail as possible.

Even if you can’t recall your dream, this morning exercise will bring big benefits: it sharpens your mind and thoughts for a much more focused day.

2. Stretch yourself
Have you ever watched a cat or dog surfacing from sleep? He’ll arch his back, lengthen his spine, stretch each leg and then – fully back in his body – wander off to see what’s up.

We humans should take note of this practical process. So, before you kick off the covers, stretch out every muscle.

Start by lengthening your spine – imagine you’re being pulled in both directions. Then stretch your legs and arms and cross your arms over your body until you feel the muscles in your back. Turn your head a few times on the pillow. And finally, as you sit on the edge of the bed, give your spine a lovely arch and curve it from side to side.

3. Look before you flush
It’s a good idea to peek into the loo before you flush. If your urine is dark, it’s a sign that you’ve dehydrated overnight. This can strain your kidneys, which generally depresses all physical functions.

The solution: have a tall glass of water to get things moving.

Rehydrating is a great start to anyone’s day – dieticians warn that many people confuse thirst with hunger, so they eat instead of reaching for the water their bodies crave.

4. Take a moment
As you drink your water, stand at the window, look at the sky, listen to the morning sounds and have a quiet moment.

The world’s leading thinkers are now mining the power of mindfulness, which is simply the practice of being “here”. To quote psychiatrist RD Laing, “The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice."

So, set yourself up for a more successful day with a mind that’s primed to take notice.

5. Stimulate your senses
Treat your bathroom routine as an early-morning mini-spa. Enjoy the rush of hot water on your skin, choose soaps with refreshing smells and use a stiff brush or loofah to give your body a brisk rub.

Also use this time to do the preventive safety checks – the more you know the landscape of your breasts or testicles, the earlier you’ll pick up any lumps or bumps before they become threatening.

Picture: A  waking up woman, stretching from Shutterstock


 
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