5 Ways To Kick-Start Your Morning When You’re Feeling Tired
Energy levels flagging? Struggling to get out of bed of a morning? No worries - here are five ways to start your day with a zing.
Feb 16, 2023
About Lee Kynaston
Grooming Guru Lee Kynaston is one of the UK’s best-known and most knowledgeable male beauty experts, with over 20 years experience of writing about men's skincare, haircare and fragrance.
I hate mornings. Most of the time I’m like a teenager whose mum can’t drag him out of bed. So alien to me is the idea of functioning ‘antemeridiem’ that when a business associate recently suggested an 8.30 meeting I automatically assumed he meant dinner. Mid-winter mornings, of course, are the worst: It’s cold, dark and miserable outside and just peeling back the duvet feels like a challenge. Frankly, just writing about it makes me want to go back to bed.
I’m not alone in this aversion to early starts though – according to one survey, only 39% of men describe themselves as ‘morning people’, in contrast to 48% of women. Sadly, everyday life rarely starts at 10am after a leisurely fry up so what’s needed are some simple strategies that’ll give mind and body an instant wake-up call – jump leads for skin and soul if you will.
The ones below really come into their own when it’s cold and dark but they work just as well whether you’re up early to hit the gym (I admire you), have to get up at the crack to catch a plane (I envy you) or are simply a genuine early bird (I still don’t understand you). So, give yourself a stretch, wipe the sleep from your eyes and say hello to my favourite instant energisers…
1. Spring back to life with citrus
My own mid-winter energisers always include one key ingredient: citrus. Not only has the smell of citrus fruits been shown to increase alertness and boost mood, a study by the University of Sussex found that a whiff of lemon can actually help with negative body image by making us feel thinner and lighter – which is handy if, like me, you’re still sporting some post-Christmas poundage. Aesop's nose-tingling Citrus Melange Body Cleanser, with its big lemon rind note, is the perfect early-morning kick start, as are James + Jake Out Of The Blue Energy Elevating Body Wash and MALIN+GOETZ’s bergamot hand+body wash, which features lemon extract, alongside another useful citrus fruit, bergamot. So, forget the coffee and wake up and smell the citrus instead.
Humanery hack: For an instant mood lifter, rub your body wash between your hands, cup over your nose and inhale the revitalising scent.
2. Supercharge your shower time
We all know how refreshing a morning shower can be but if you’re simply popping in and out with the heat set to ‘skin peeling’ you’re doing yourself and the environment a disservice. Used correctly, the morning shower can be much more than a way to get clean – it can be a wellness tool too. Everything depends on the heat of the water. Showering with piping hot water is never a good idea anyway (it strips away skin’s naturally-protective lipid barrier oils, leaving it feeling dry, tight and irritated) but turning down the heat has other benefits too. Alternating between hot and cold water is a great way to boost circulation for example – which is good for the skin and for making you feel invigorated.
Better still, try opting for a cold shower. An ask, I know but not only is it the ultimate wake up call, there’s mounting evidence to suggest it also helps boost the immune system, with a Dutch study published in journal PLOS One showing that people who took cold showers during a flu outbreak were 29 per cent less likely to take time off for sick than those who took hot ones – a handy benefit in late winter and early spring, when respiratory viruses are lurking around every corner. There’s even evidence to suggest cold showers can help with depression too.
Humanery hack: To cap off your energising shower apply Jack Black Turbo Body Lotion Energizing Gel Moisturizer which features invigorating Eucalyptus. Or try Ren Atlantic Kelp and Magnesium Anti-Fatigue Body Cream which is designed to stimulate and restore tired skin.
3. Pep things up with peppermint
Ever wondered why mints taste fresh or why peppermint is an ingredient that pops up in everything from face washes and shave gels toshampoos and foot sprays? It’s all down to the fact that peppermint contains menthol – one of the few naturally occurring cooling agents that trigger cold-sensitive TRPM8 receptors in the skin, tricking it into feeling cool.
It’s why products containing peppermint feel instantly refreshing and invigorating.
What’s more, a study published in Science Direct also showed that menthol has the ability to dilate blood vessels, which may improve overall scalp and hair health, which makes peppermint products the best shower companion outside of your other half. anatome's Invigorating Hand + Body Wash contains peppermint, as do Raw Naturals Supernatural Hair & Body Wash and Telfer & Ross' Twisted Peppermint Beard Shampoo. Alternatively, kit yourself out with products from MESOA. The entire range features peppermint it as a signature ingredient, with the Face Wash and Shaving Gel being particularly invigorating on a cold and frosty morning.
Humanery hack: If you’re feeling brave, try using alongside the cold shower I mentioned – if nerve endings are already stimulated from the cold the effect of the peppermint will be even more pronounced.
4. Exfoliate to energise
Exfoliating skin with a face, scalp or body scrub might be great for polishing skin, getting of dead skin cells and improving the performance of serums, masks and moisturisers, but it has another function that’s beneficial for when you’re feel tired and sluggish – it helps boost circulation. Not only does this help remove toxins and bring nutrients to the skin, because of the physical scrubbing action it also acts feels instantly refreshing. Choose a product that also features refreshing ingredients like the aforementioned peppermint or citrus oils, like Jack Black's Face Buff Energizing Scrub or BAVE's Bergamot & Cedarwood Salt Soap Scrub (one of my favourite body bars) and you’ll elevate the energising action of your exfoliation.
Humanery hack: For all-over exfoliation use Baldape Parlour's cleverly designed Loofah, which allows you to reach bits of your bod you wouldn’t normally be able to reach on your own.
5. Don’t forget the finishing touches
Cold weather wake-up calls don’t just start and end in the shower – fragrance, beard balms and restorative oils can all be used to put a spring into your step. Studies have shown that a spritz of citrusy fragrance can instantly boost your mood and awaken your senses (Acqua Di Parma's super-zingy Colonia is one of my own go-to pick me ups) while the scent of The Brighton Beard Company Creampot Tom's Lime & Basil Beard Balm on your beard - and under your nose – will help keep you lively on your commute and beyond.
Humanery hack: For an instant energy lift throughout the day – especially when that day is dark, miserable and cold – try applying a few drops of anatome's Energy + Strength Essesntial Oil Scent. It features 24 essential oils and has been specifically designed to energise and improve mood. Simply apply to your wrists and inhale for an instant uplift. Think of it as jump leads in a bottle.
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