With the end of daylight savings, it leaves us with dark and cold mornings that can make it hard to see the brighter side of things. However, we know that you COLD-FXers still like to make the best of it! Spending a few minutes each morning on self-actualization can leave you feeling happy, refreshed and motivated to conquer whatever the day has ahead. Check out these four activities to shake up your wake-up routine:

Morning stretches

Even for regularly active individuals, stretching can often be overlooked. Research shows adding it to your daily morning routine can improve your physical range of motion while reducing the buildup of lactic acid. If you’re experience stress, you can manage it by experimenting with relaxation techniques. Meditation, mindfulness, and even simple exercises can help a person deal with stress more effectively. Check out this daily stretching sequence for useful techniques such as glute bridges, straight leg pulls, calf wall stretches and more!

Take 5 minutes

Taking a few moments to focus on yourself and your state of mind allows you to relax, both physically and mentally, while preparing for the day. In the book Five Good Minutes, authors Brantley and Millstine state, “Sitting or lying down, place your hand on your abdomen and inhale and exhale, deeply and slowly. Try deep breathing. It’s simple: practice breathing through your abdomen and breathing at a controlled rate. Deep breathing exercises help you relax your muscles, slow your heart and reduce anxiety.

You can also try visualizations. Visualize a meadow with a small creek running through it. You are wading in a babbling brook, and you can hear the wind and the birds overhead. The current tugs gently at your ankles. Recognize the rhythm of your breathing. As you inhale, say the word “warm” aloud.”

Verbal affirmations

For many people, their first moments after waking up are defined by stressful thoughts of the day. These first moments are essential in creating your perspective and mood that translate into the tone of your day. We hear the phrase “verbal affirmations” often in discussion about mental positivity but what does it really mean and how does it help? Put simply, they are positive phrases or statements used to consistently challenge negative thoughts. This form of self-actualization can support positive perceptions and result in a benefit to mental and physical health through the alleviation of stress. Check out this guide on creating a verbal affirmation routine to change your mornings!

Energy-boosting breakfast

With the busyness of personal and professional life, it can be hard to find time for simple things, like breakfast. If possible, take a moment or two for yourself every morning to sit down and savor the ritual of breakfast. Genuinely pay attention to the textures, tastes and scents that make it an enjoyable meal – this is part of mindful eating. A healthy, tasty, and nutritious breakfast nourishes both the body and mind, leaving you ready to focus on what matters.