Mornings are tough.
You’re in a sound sleep, dreaming about lying on a beach somewhere. You can almost feel the gentle breeze and the warmth from the sun, when without warning the alarm so rudely goes off. Suddenly you’re awake, wondering why you’re in your bed. Then reality comes crashing back down upon you. With a groan, you think ‘just five more minutes’ while you grudgingly turn the alarm off. If you’re like me, you actually do lay in bed five…or ten…more minutes. Hey! Nobody is perfect.
I’ve been working on this by setting my alarm for the last possible minute possible. I have my morning routine down to a science how long it takes me to get ready in the least amount of time possible without being late to work. The downside to this is rushing around like a crazy person during that 27 minutes (and 23 seconds). I have found a few tips and tricks that have helped in making my morning routine a bit less rushed and a tad more enjoyable.
Here are a few ideas that can make you actually look forward to mornings (I can hear you laughing!) and start the day off stress-free.
Avoid Hitting Snooze
Do those extra five minutes really make that much difference in how you feel? I’m betting the answer is no. While procrastinating getting out of bed, in theory, sounds completely awesome, chances are you start your morning feeling more tired than when the alarm originally went off. If you have to, set your alarm (or phone if you use that) across the room. That way, you’ll have to physically get out of bed to shut it off. I don’t know about you, but once I am out of bed, I have no chance of getting relaxed again. When I’m up, I’m up for good.
Do Something You Love
Maybe you start off with setting the alarm five minutes earlier than normal, or maybe you dive in with a full half hour. The point is to start a morning routine doing something you enjoy doing. Maybe it’s something you haven’t done in a while or had time for, like picking up that book that you started last month but haven’t touched since. Maybe it’s taking the time to make breakfast instead of grabbing it at the drive-thru on your way to work. If it’s something that you enjoy, you’re more likely to want to get up and do it. Remember, it takes 21 days to form a habit. After three weeks, getting up earlier won’t seem like anything.
Eat a Healthy Breakfast
Speaking of making breakfast at home, make it a healthy one! I, myself, am guilty of just grabbing an iced coffee many mornings and sipping on it until lunchtime. However, on the days that I actually eat a healthy breakfast, I do feel better. Eating a breakfast that has protein, healthy fats, and whole grains really does make all the difference. It helps with focus, energy, and you’ll be less likely to snack throughout the day. My non-coffee morning breakfasts consist of a serving of mixed nuts, a fruit, and a piece of whole grain toast with 5 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein.
Exercise can help with mental clarity and can help to energize you for the day. So dance around your room or take a walk. It doesn’t have to be anything strenuous or hardcore (looking at you Insanity), but even just 15 minutes of activity that doesn’t involve rushing out the door can be beneficial. You may be surprised with how much better you feel. An added bonus is that by making exercise part of your morning routine, you get it out of the way early without any excuses to avoid it after work.
Listen to Your Favorite Music
Listening to your favorite music in a relaxed setting can put you in a good mood for the day. Music is also known to help with creativity. By blasting your favorite playlist, it may help to solve that problem you’ve been working on or break through the writer’s block that’s plagued you for the past week.
Write Down Your Goals for the Day
By writing down your goals for the day, you are more likely to stick to them. There is something gratifying about being able to cross things off of a list as they are completed. Without a list or goals, there’s always a reason to put things off one more day. Time seems to slip away, and that one more day can turn into weeks or months.
I know, I know. This one is hard! I’m guilty of it too from time to time, especially on weekends. The alarm will go off, and within minutes I am checking all of my accounts. To have the best start to your morning, though, for the first hour that you are awake, avoid your phone, email, the news, etc. It will give you a chance to think clearly without being bombarded with the problems of the world. Plus, think of all the extra time you’ll have because you didn’t somehow lose half an hour scrolling through your social media accounts while lying in bed.
Get a Chore Done
Whether it’s unloading the dishwasher, starting a load of laundry, or vacuuming, you’ll start the day feeling productive and have one less thing to think about. Putting everything off for the evening or weekends can make the neverending chore list seem daunting and exhausting. Knock one thing off first thing by making it part of your morning routine and free up extra time for later. An added bonus is you’ll feel better coming home to your home feeling more organized.
Get Dressed (or Dress for Success)
This one may seem obvious, but when you’re in a rush, throwing on the first thing you see that isn’t in a heap on the floor is so easy. By making time to take a shower, pick an outfit you love, and style your hair, you’ll leave the house feeling more confident and accomplished. If it’s the weekend, put on a pair of jeans instead of living in your comfy clothes. You’ll automatically be more productive if you don’t feel like you just crawled out from the swamp.
Enjoy the Quiet
This can be through meditation, yoga, or just sitting in silence reflecting. Whatever enjoying the quiet is to you, embrace it. Enjoy the quiet and the calm. Our lives are filled with noise, stress, and constantly being on the go. We all need that little bit of time to just sit and be without interruption.