Life can be stressful at the best of times. As a lawyer, finding a manageable work-life balance without making too many sacrifices can feel overwhelming. It may seem like from the moment you wake up, you’re rushing around and have a day or a week’s worth of stress weighing you down. This can affect your patience and energy, your work, your relationships, and your overall well-being.
Still, previously, your morning routine was likely pretty predicable: prepare for the day, perhaps tend to your children and get them to school, maybe hit the gym or go for a run—all before heading into the office, court, or meeting with a client. Before, you were likely awake, starting your day up three or four hours before you started your workday.
Now the world has changed due to COIVD-19. The new, temporary ‘norm’ of striving to balance your work life and home roles, during restricted outdoor time, adds a layer of complexity.
Currently, your commute is most likely only to your home office, living room, or dining table to get to work. When you meet with a client, or a colleague, the camera only shows your upper body—not the slippers you may have on, and there may be children or pets making noise in the background.
Under these circumstances, it’s so easy to forgo a good morning routine. If your day starts by hitting the snooze button before rolling out of bed, scrambling around looking for something to wear, then have a tea or coffee, feed the kids and pets, all the while checking emails on your phone as you rush to log on to work—the problem could lie in your morning routine and have negative results.
Find the calm in the chaos
Establishing a new proper morning routine can make a meaningful impact on your day—perhaps more so than you may imagine. Starting your day off the right way, every day—no matter what’s going on—can help to create a sense of calm control.
While it may seem contradictory to add more to your day, during COVID-19, developing a new morning routine ultimately will help you set the tone and steer your day in the right direction. You’ve certainly heard many anecdotes highlighting the habits of highly successful people. They almost always show that productivity is improved by having a morning ritual—one that you control, rather than the morning controlling you. Even more so now, a proper morning ritual is critical to stay mentally and physically healthy.
Set your alarm for the same time every day
Though it may seem obvious and perhaps overly simplistic, even though you are working from home—set your alarm for the same time every day. Keeping your mind and body into as much of a normal routine can make the act of getting up every day a little bit easier. That’s not to suggest that you should wake up before the sun rises—3, 4 or 5 am may work for your clients who are Nikkie financial traders, though it doesn’t mean super early hours will work for you. Similarly, it doesn’t mean that 30 minutes before you’re due to start work is the best time either. Instead, wake up at your right time.
Drink water first—add some lemon
If tea or coffee is your typical morning pick-me-up, the tip of starting with lemon water may seem particularly unfathomable. This is not to suggest that you should forgo your preferred morning beverage entirely—merely postpone.
Drinking water first thing in the morning is a crucial step in rehydrating after a night of sleep. Because that groggy, foggy feeling many of us experience upon first waking—that’s dehydration. Since caffeine is a known to have a diuretic effect, the key priority in the morning is to hydrate first. Drinking water in the mornings will kickstart your day, boost your metabolism and help provide you with energy for the day ahead. Now enter the lemon. By squeezing just half a lemon into your water, you are aiding digestion, adding vitamin C and potassium, and preventing oxidation—just to name a few benefits. Then, once you’re rehydrated, you can enjoy a nice cuppa or your favourite type of coffee.
Time for yourself—mental and physical space
Give yourself 30 minutes or an hour each morning—before the kids are up, before you need to check on family and friends, before your clients need you, before the distractions get in the way—the results can be powerful, and you’ll likely notice the difference in every facet of your life. During this time, there’s few things you can do to improve the start of your day:
Find your peaceful place
Perhaps meditation is already part of your life and you’re regularly relying upon it for peaceful balance. Or you’ve tried it, and it didn’t stick. Maybe you’re interested in starting a meditation practice or mindful breathing exercises. Meditating or practicing mindfulness can be as simple as closing your eyes for 10 minutes and focus on your natural moment of breath.
Regardless of the methodology or practice, finding a way to calm your thoughts and mind is key to a successful morning routine. Consider journaling, reading, or listening to music. Whatever it is, find a way that works for you to clear your mind and make space for the day ahead.
While it can be easy to skip this step, doing so can lead you to feel rushed and stressed. Practicing stillness can help you collect your thoughts and feel grounded, leading to a more positive and productive day.
You’ve heard it a million times and you know the science behind it. But it’s worth reiterating—exercising in the morning is a superb way to start your day. It boosts your mood, metabolism, immune system, and gives you more energy to tackle the day’s to-do list.
Some people prefer planking, push-ups, and sit-ups—while others prefer the fresh air that comes with a morning run or cycling. Whatever form of movement you chose to get your heart rate up for 30 minutes of exercise each morning can improve your mental and physical health and change the trajectory of your day.
Get up and go
For some, the most challenging aspect of incorporating these elements into a morning routine isn’t the physical act of doing any of them. It’s having the motivation to get out of bed and get going. Instead of viewing your morning routine as an optional start to your day—think of it as your most critical meeting of the day.
Invest some time in the morning in yourself and see how the time focused on you, and only you, will provide many benefits. Not only will it lead to a more positive and productive day—it will help provide you the clarity of focus and energy you need to accomplish all that you do in a day.
This post was created in response to the COVID-19 virus and its impact on the legal industry. For more information to help support you and your business, visit our COVID-19 resource centre.