Good morning ♥
You Too Can Thrive and Conquer Your Mornings, With a Few Easy Tips and Tricks
I don’t personally believe this, but there are many people who truly think so. I used to be one of them, when I was in high school. Namely because I hated high school and skipped class all the time. Plus I stayed up way too late or all night in a lot of cases, which only made my dread for waking up in the morning all the more deep. But I digress.
I can totally understand why people don’t like mornings, even though I don’t subscribe to that way of thinking anymore. If you work pretty much every day, or go to school, chances are that’s where you’re heading shortly after you wake up. It isn’t as pleasant as, say, waking up on Christmas morning, or the day you’re leaving for your tropical beach vacation. In fact, even the act of waking up each morning may be dreadfully monotonous or dull for you. That may be why a lot of people hate dragging themselves out of bed in the morning, especially if it is any earlier than they are used to.
“If you’re like me, the first thing you want to do in the morning is catch up with all the stuff you missed when you were asleep. But is starting each morning with other people’s shenanigans and the unending drama of the entire world really the best thing to do first thing?”
Or maybe you’re on a journey to better yourself, and you’ve set some goals for yourself in the morning. Be it getting in an hour workout, meditating, taking a walk, or just making time to have breakfast, you may have set yourself some resolutions that need to be done before the sun is even up, in some cases. Perhaps your goal itself is to just simply wake up earlier in order to give yourself more time in the morning and ease into your day. Been there, done that. I’ve made tons of resolutions—New Year’s as well as middle of the year ones—that take place in the a.m. So I understand how it can sometimes be tough to not only acclimate to the earlier hours, but conquer them and thrive, turning the mornings in to a productive and positive time of day.
How does one accomplish such a task? Well if you know me a little bit by now, you know that I’m a self-proclaimed champion sleeper, I’m also a proud member of the No Alarm Clocks Club, I’m an early bird if there ever was one, and I’m most productive in the mornings. I know I’m not that unique—there are many people out there just like me! And plenty of people who navigate their mornings with finesse and skill that I could never hope to have! But I do believe I’m right in saying that we “Morning People” are the minority. Most people need not only alarm clocks but willpower (and sometimes the very strength of the universe) to get out of bed in the mornings. And that’s just to drag themselves to the shower, the coffee pot, and out the door, let alone anything extra! Don’t even think about asking them to do anything more than that in that time frame. Go for a run? Get out of here. Cook and eat a real breakfast? You’re crazy. Meditate or write in a journal? Sounds like prison. I get that way of thinking. I used to be there. I’m just not anymore.
I’m the opposite. And either way is certainly okay. Nothing wrong with being an early bird or a nocturnal owl, or some avian species in between; but there’s also nothing wrong with wanting to try life from the other side every once in a while. So if you dread mornings and navigate yours with a combination of zombie-like sluggishness and just enough energy to do only the bare minimum, but you want to become more of a morning person as soon as this coming Monday, then look no further. I think I might have some advice that may be beneficial for you.
“I can totally understand why people don’t like mornings, even though I don’t subscribe to that way of thinking anymore. If you work pretty much every day, or go to school, chances are that’s where you’re heading shortly after you wake up. It isn’t as pleasant as, say, waking up on Christmas morning, or the day you’re leaving for your tropical beach vacation.”
Your bed should be one of the most important things in your life. Sleep, mornings, and whole days depend on it!
Go to Bed Just 1 Hour Earlier
It seems simple, right? Hitting the hay even one measly hour earlier than you normally would can do wonders for improving your sleep, mood, and mornings. If you hate waking up in the morning, chances are you’re either not sleeping very well or you’re not sleeping enough. You may need more than one extra hour than you’re sleeping, (it varies from person to person, but I’d say most adults need between 6-9 hours of sleep), but just start there. You can even try going to bed just 30 minutes earlier for a week, and then, once you’ve gotten used to that, increase it to an hour. I usually try to be in bed by 10:30p or 11p, with a few exceptions here and there. This may be an optimal time for you, so that you can get plenty of sleep at night, a full night’s rest, and wake up reasonably early so you can accomplish a few morning tasks before heading off to work, school, or whatever awaits you in the day.
Even if you just switch that hour, you can improve your mornings drastically. Go to bed an hour earlier and wake up an hour earlier. You’ll find that suddenly, you have time to cook and eat a nutritious breakfast, or do some yoga, or go for a light jog, or just relax and ease into your morning with no rushing and a lot less stress. Mornings are so crucial for starting off your day, I personally believe that every adult should give themselves at the very least an hour of personal time first thing in the morning, before doing anything else. And who knows, maybe one day you can even wake up an hour earlier with no alarm clock, like I do.
Whether you switch your hour or add it on, giving yourself a bit of leeway in the morning is a super easy way to de-stress your day.
Blue sky, sun shining, birds chirping, air crisp and sweet…What’s not to love about mornings?
Get Better Sleep
This is very similar to the first step, but is different and important enough to warrant its own section. It oftentimes isn’t enough to just trade one hour for one hour. Going to bed earlier and therefore waking up earlier is a positive step in the right direction, true, but if you aren’t getting enough sleep in the first place, you’ll still be tired, sleep-deprived, and not yet functioning to your full capacity. I say that it’s very important to not only get enough sleep, (which, for a lot of people, means getting more sleep), but to also get a good quality of sleep. I wrote a pretty in-depth piece about how to get better sleep not too long ago, so please check that out. I won’t dive too deeply into it here since that is available to quickly read over at any time, but I will list off a few important points:
- Cut out screen time: Try reading for a bit before bed instead of watching t.v. or scrolling through your phone.
- Have a nighttime routine: Be this taking a bath, journaling, meditating, or taking the dog for a walk, any activities will do. Try to have a system before going to bed to help signal to your body and mind that it’s time to wind down.
- Get a good atmosphere: Cut out lights unless necessary, turn down the temperature, play some white noise, invest in fluffy pillows, soft sheets, and a new mattress. Do whatever you need to do to create a prime sleeping experience.
- No caffeine or sugar after a certain time: This can also go for exercise or anything that excites or “pumps up” the body too close to bedtime. Try to fill your late afternoons and evenings with a more relaxed and laid-back feel and activities and you may find it’s easier to get to sleep at night.
Those are just a few, but there are more things you can try to help you get a better night’s sleep, too.
“Most people need not only alarm clocks but willpower (and sometimes the very strength of the universe) to get out of bed in the mornings. And that’s just to drag themselves to the shower, the coffee pot, and out the door, let alone anything extra!”
I bet if you had a breakfast like this waiting for you, you’d get up!
This is a tale as old as time. You’ve probably been hearing this since you were a little kid, I know I have. But it is so important to me to have some sustenance in the morning that I couldn’t bear to leave it out. True, nowadays it’s being less scientifically touted as super important to have breakfast like it used to be, even still, eating at least a small something before you get on with your day can help immensely. Energy, concentration, motivation, even weight loss can all stand to benefit if you fuel your mornings. It can be as simple as having a bagel with your morning coffee, or a quick green smoothie, or even the classic and delicious bacon and eggs. I know sometimes I go to bed looking forward to breakfast the next morning! Although I can’t really eat as soon as I wake up, (I usually have to wait at least an hour or else I get tummy aches), I know I can’t really function before I have breakfast.
The first thing I do when I wake up is pull back the curtains and peer outside. I like actually going outside, too!
I know I already mentioned walking your dog or going for a light jog as some simple activities you can try in the morning to give you energy and wake you up, but most times you may not even have to do all that. Even just stepping out on to your porch or patio can do wonders for your mood. Ever breathed in fresh morning air, without a care in the world? It’s one of the best things ever, a natural intoxicating feeling that will only make you feel better! It may not be ideal to do this in winter, but that still leaves a big chunk of the year that you can enjoy the sight of a sunrise or the sounds of birdsong. It’s really something special, even if it’s only for a few minutes.
When I lived in the downtown area of my home town, I used to love waking up close to dawn and walking downtown. I lived in two different areas close to downtown when I did this: one right smack dab in the middle of downtown, the other kinda on the outskirts, so about a 5 minute walk and a 20 minute walk, respectively. Let me tell you, if you ever have the opportunity to walk in the downtown area of your city around dawn or so, do it. The setting that is usually busy and packed with people is empty and just beautiful. I loved doing this and going to the gym (sometimes it’s busy but overall…no crowds!) or getting a coffee (most shops open at 6a or earlier, and usually don’t fill up til around 8a… so no line!). What a way to start your day, am I right? Try doing that every morning before work for a week. You can thank me later.
“Nothing wrong with being an early bird or a nocturnal owl, or some avian species in between; but there’s also nothing wrong with wanting to try life from the other side every once in a while.”
You don’t need much space, equipment, time, or effort to get in a quick, solid morning workout in the comfort of your own home. Do it as soon as you roll out of bed in the morning, and you won’t have to worry about it for the rest of the day! Win!
Stretch It Out
You may already be subconsciously doing this without even realizing it when you first wake up and start yawning. Making a conscious effort to have a little stretch first thing in the morning can really loosen you up and get your joints and bones ready for movement after laying horizontal for such a large chunk of time. You can even do some light, easy yoga if you wish. I know I don’t feel quite right if I don’t have a stretch in the morning. I just feel tight and ache-y all over. Best part about this is that you don’t even have to get up out of bed if you don’t want to! It’s just about bringing your awareness back to your body and lubing up your joints.
You’d be surprised what a 10 minute walk around the block and a nutritious green smoothie can do for your morning and your whole day
Prep Ahead of Time
I really cannot exaggerate how much this helps in the morning. If you take even 20 minutes at night to get a few things set up and ready for you for the following day, you can go into your morning more relaxed and with less hassle. Think about it: Not having to rush around trying to find everything and get everything together before running off to work or school? Who doesn’t want that?
You can put your keys, purse or wallet, and shoes right next to the door so you’re sure to have everything before you leave. Pick out your clothes, jewelry, and even makeup, and lay them out so you’re not trying to throw together an outfit before you’re even fully conscious yet. Prepare and pack your lunch and have it waiting for you in the fridge. You can set your coffee on a timer or just prep it with grounds and water to be easily switched on and brewing while you are waking up. You can even prep a smoothie or breakfast burrito to be easily grabbed and devoured with no thought at all. There’s no limit to what you can do the night before to make stressful, rushed mornings a thing of the past.
Gorgeous mornings and good vibes are sometimes all you need in this world
Take it all in
If you’re like me, the first thing you want to do in the morning is catch up with all the stuff you missed when you were asleep. But is starting each morning with other people’s shenanigans and the unending drama of the entire world really the best thing to do first thing? Maybe not. I would personally try to do my best to avoid any negativity, meaning I don’t pay attention to the news until I’ve at least had a cup of coffee. Scrolling through Snapchat and my subscriptions for blogs and news are not only entertaining but informational, and I don’t have to worry about some crisis putting a damper on my mood until I’ve at least brushed my teeth. May sound selfish, but honestly, I can’t be a force of good in the world if the world makes me a grump before sunrise. I figure I’ll ease into it and tackle it when I’m at full steam, and I recommend the same approach for you.
“Going to bed earlier and therefore waking up earlier is a positive step in the right direction, true, but if you aren’t getting enough sleep in the first place, you’ll still be tired, sleep-deprived, and not yet functioning to your full capacity.”
Arguably the best part of most people’s mornings, I’m not gonna lie
Positivity and Affirmations
If you can try to wake up in a positive mood and tell yourself happy things, the energy you put out and the very thoughts in your head will surely turn to positivity, even if you hate mornings. Thank the universe for the day, or thank yourself ahead of time for all the great things you’re about to get out of bed and accomplish. There are so many things that are out of your control, but you certainly can control your mindset before you even roll out of bed. Before anyone or anything has had a chance to mess up your mood, steel yourself for it and arm yourself with a positive aura that will hopefully deflect more negativity and bad thoughts. Emotions are human, ups and downs are natural, but life is far too short to not try your best to experience it while as happy as possible.
“If you take even 20 minutes at night to get a few things set up and ready for you for the following day, you can go into your morning more relaxed and with less hassle. … There’s no limit to what you can do the night before to make stressful, rushed mornings a thing of the past.”
This is the view from my bedroom window, kitchen window, and backyard. I’m so lucky to have it! I like living in apartments that give me some open space, greenery, or even a patch of woods to admire and sit next to. Beats a parking lot or someone else’s apartment!
There you have it; a few simple tips to help you finally become a morning person. Start off slowly and ease into it, there’s plenty of time to add on more steps. Before you know it, you will embrace the dawn with renewed enthusiasm and vigor. Then you can move through your day with the confidence that no one can possibly stop you, and you’re being the best that you can possibly be from the very minute you open your eyes.