10 Ways To Make Mornings Easier
My family, any former roommate, and pretty much anyone who has ever seen me first thing in the morning, will attest to the fact that I am not a morning person. I’m certainly not denying it. Since I have to be heading out the door for work by 7:30a, I don’t have much of a choice about getting up and moving bright and early.
Now that we’re well into autumn, just days away from winter, mornings are getting increasingly darker, which makes them even more of a struggle for me. While I sometimes struggle to practice what I preach in this instance, here are a few things I’ve found that help make mornings a little more tolerable or even dare I say, enjoyable when I stick to them. None of it is groundbreaking, but all of it has been really helpful for me. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll even be able to call myself a morning person!
Prep Work Makes the Difference
Since I’m naturally a night owl, I use that to my advantage, doing whatever I possibly can for the morning before I head to bed. The less I have to think about in the morning, the better (and the less likely I am to forget something I need!). I pick out what I’ll wear to work, down to accessories, and set everything out. I pack my work and gym bags, and have them sitting near the door. While I’m cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, I put my lunch together, and depending on what I’m going to have, breakfast as well. I also get the coffee maker ready to go. I have a programmable machine, so I don’t even have to worry about turning it on. It was an amazing investment!
Sleep Is Your Friend
If you’re not getting enough sleep, mornings are going to be rough. Figure out how much sleep you need to be at your best, and aim for that every night. Personally, about seven hours is my sweet spot. Try to keep the same sleep schedule seven days a week, or as close to it as possible. It’s not fun on the weekends, but it does make a difference in the long run.
Light It Up
Have you ever noticed how it often feels easier to wake up in the summer months? The natural light of the sunrise is a cue for your system that it’s time to get up and at it! Take advantage of that light in the months that it’s available, but in the darker months, create your own light. Before I get out of bed, I turn on the lamp I have on my night stand. Sure, it’s not pleasant on the eyes, but it certainly helps wake up my senses!
This is definitely the area where I struggle the most, mostly because it’s just a hard habit to break. The extra few minutes of sleep really doesn’t do your body or energy levels any good, so just get up and moving right away! Like most people nowadays, I use my phone as my alarm clock. I keep it on the opposite side of the room, so I have to get out of bed to turn it off. I also keep the volume at a somewhat obnoxious level with a fun song rather than an irritating buzz. Waking up to a high energy song that puts a smile on my face is a surefire way to make the morning a little brighter.
If you really can’t break the snooze button habit, you could try an alarm clock that makes you work. Try one on wheels or even one that flies and doesn’t turn off until you catch and return it to its base.
Make Your Bed
One way that I avoid the temptation to hit the snooze button and curl back up under my warm, cozy blankets is to make my bed right away, sometimes even before I turn the alarm off. After all, I’m not going to immediately unmake my bed just for a few more minutes of sleep. Usually.
Stretch and Breathe
Basically, I channel my inner yogi for a few minutes every morning. Getting in a few good stretches, particularly ones that get the kinks out of back, really helps me wake up. It gets the blood pumping! I also take a few long, deep breaths in through my nose, and out through my mouth. Try breathing in for a count of eight, holding that for a count of four, and exhaling for a count of eight. If that’s too much to start, try a four-two-four count.
One of the first things I do once I’m properly up and moving is pour a glass of cold water. I drink it as I’m getting ready in the morning. I don’t allow myself to leave the house until the glass is empty. It helps me wake up and I get in some water before the day has really gotten on its way!
Avoid E-mail and Social Media
I get sucked into these channels all day, so I make an effort to avoid them as long as possible. I guarantee that nothing so urgent happened overnight that it can’t wait until after 8a to be addressed. Plus, it’s an easy way to lose track of time, and before I know it, I’m rushing around like a crazy person because I’m running late!
Take Some Me Time
Once I leave the house, the day is so focused on what I need to get done, meetings, and so on. Although I’m not always the best at doing this, I try to take a few minutes for stillness before I leave the house each morning. Often, that means reading a few pages of a personal development book, or something similarly encouraging. You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero is one of my favorite choices. I’ve read through this multiple times. Having those couple of minutes is a good chance to set my intentions for the day.
“I just like to smile, smiling’s my favorite.” Buddy the Elf was on to something with that way of thinking. If I start the day with a smile, it sets my frame of mind for the rest of the day. I know it seems so silly, but there is something about plastering a cheesy grin on your face. This helps in the morning and is a great trick throughout the day, as well.
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