8 Steps to Energize a Gray Day

Published: February 12th, 2015 |

When it’s gloomy out, how you start your morning is key.

Waking up to a cloudy, overcast day seems to make even the most chipper of us want to stay in bed and pretend we don’t have to be productive. Since that’s sadly unrealistic, give yourself an advantage over a potentially low-energy day by following this simple morning routine from Coral Arvon, PhD, director of behavioral health and wellness at Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami.

1. Get some air. In the first 30 seconds after you open your eyes, the sleep-inducing melatonin in your body decreases after building up overnight, Arvon says. Step outside on your front stoop, balcony, or patio, or simply stand in front of an open window. The outdoor air will energize your body.

2. Stretch gently. Anything from easy yoga moves to slow jumping jacks will increase circulation and stimulate your body.

3. Drink water with citrus slices. The water will help you rehydrate, and the zing of oranges, lemons, or grapefruits can help you wake up.

4. Pay attention to your breakfast. Whether you’re having yogurt and cereal or something fancier, eat mindfully and resist the urge to turn on the TV or do anything else during your meal.

5. Do a breathing exercise. Inhale for 5 seconds, pause, then exhale for 15 seconds. Do this for a few minutes.

6. Ignore your phone. Don’t answer calls for at least 30 minutes. Talking to someone first thing in the morning can drain your energy, Arvon says. Let it go to voicemail to keep your mood positive, then return the call later on.

7. Say a morning affirmation. Try something like, “Today is going to be a happy, healthy day,” Arvon says. “I usually do that and when something ‘bumps’ me during the day, I can stay calm.” Make up your own affirmation and use it throughout the day when frustrating situations pop up.

8. Make the most of your time. If a rainy or wintry day foils your weekend plans, use the time to take care of low-key tasks you’re normally too busy for, such as tidying your home or organizing your emails. You’ll feel better when you’ve been more productive, Arvon says. Plus, if you play upbeat music you love, you’ll stay energized and feel happier all day long!

—Nicole Kwan

Keywords: breakfast, happiness, mind, stress