So mornings, in general, are hard. That’s not a question, just a fact of life. Waking out of a lovely slumber to force yourself to start a new day can be difficult. But, what’s the alternative? Not waking up? Yea, I’ll take the alarm clock for 200, please.
So the question, then, is how to make this most necessary task less task-like. The internet and self-help aisle abound with hundreds of ideas and routines to get your mind and feet in total harmony come sunrise. But who has time for all of that? We’re just trying to wake up here! No need to fret, lovelees – I’ve reviewed the masses and threw in a few of my own to bring you my favorite 5 for your breakfast-skipping pleasure (wait – you probably don’t want to skip breakfast unless your doing intermittent fasting) . Hopefully you’ll find a few new ideas to ease that transition from sheet to street.
I. Wake up early. No for real, like early.
I know, I know. For someone who doesn’t even want to wake up in the first place – why in thee world would you want to wake up earlier? Well, apparently that’s what (most) successful people do. Science has long held that we as humans function best in the mornings. Science obviously doesn’t have some of the friends I have, but regardless – for many, getting an early start to prep your mind and thoughts may help to set the intention and tone you want for the day.
Case in point: I used to be a part of this team where we had 5 a.m. morning business calls. I loathed these things. Not because they weren’t helpful, but because they were just too dang early. I can understand morning, but 5 a.m. fam? However, now that I am older (and maybe a little wiser), I can see the wisdom there. At 5 a.m., life hasn’t even woken up yet so you get the opportunity to kind of “beat the rush” and decide how your day will go on purpose. I’m not saying that I am about to reinstate a 5 a.m. call in my life, but I can appreciate an early rise to get it going.
It’s been reported that Apple CEO Tim Cook starts his day at 3:45 a.m. and immediately starts hacking away at the 700-800 emails he receives a day. Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Chief for Vogue, gets her mornings started at 5:45 a.m. with an hour long tennis match. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is already in the gym by 4 a.m, and you’ve seen them guns… So I’m just saying, these people may just be on to something. And if you’re in the market for some morning routine tweaks, perhaps an earlier wake-up time will do the trick.
II. Get in a good workout
Notice I said good – not necessarily long. After all, not everyone has the circumstances to spend hours in the gym before a long day of work. It’s just not possible. However, a quick workout could be just what you need to get your body and mind primed for the day.
So how can someone who may not be predisposed to early morning risings go about hyping oneself up enough to sweat first thing in the morning? Note the following tips and see what works for you !
- Lay out you workout clothes (and work clothes) the night before. This way, when you’re fumbling around in the dark at say, 6 a.m., you already know the leopard leggings with the grey and gold racer-back are in arms reach. The same idea goes for your workout bag, especially if you’re showering and changing at the gym and going straight to the office from there!
- Phone a friend. No really, get someone on the phone. “Hey, you up? You ready? Let’s go!” Often having an accountability partner will keep you motivated enough to keep your word. We are often far too quick to give up on ourselves (“just sleep in – you deserve it”), but we’ll often think twice before standing up a friend. Also, even if someone can’t physically work out with you – wake up calls are great ways for your friends or family to be an encouraging (or annoying) voice that makes you fling off those covers and get out of bed.
- Put down the phone (aka Go to Sleep). Like you really need to put down the phone and go to bed. And when I say go to bed, what I really mean is go to sleep. There is a difference. I know, I know… it’s so tempting to play Candy Crush til you fall asleep, but if you’re going to be hitting the gym first thing – you really need your beauty rest. So finish all your tweets, text your sweetheart goodnight, and then put your phone on the charger (out of arms reach if you can’t be trusted) so you can sleep. That way, you’ll be well rested and more likely to have the energy to sweat first thing.
And if going to the gym is not quite your bag, work out at home! Ever heard of the 7 minute workout?? Issa thing. According to Chris Jordan, the director of exercise physiology at the Human Performance Institute in Orlando, Fla., “There’s very good evidence” that high-intensity interval training provides “many of the fitness benefits of prolonged endurance training but in much less time.” There are plenty of 7 minute workout apps for Apple and Android. Download one and get to work!
III. Write out your goals for the day.
I am totally a “list” person. I like lists. Lists of things I want to do, places I want to visit, foods I want to try, items I want to buy… and I also like to write (obviously). So when I wake up, or even better the night before, I like to create a list for the day so I can decide what things I will accomplish. It shouldn’t be too exhaustive or overwhelming – after all you realistically are not going to accomplish an 85-item list before noon. But, it’s a great way to prioritize the day and an attempt to not allow smaller things to interrupt the accomplishment of larger things.
The benefits of list writing are actually backed up by science. Did you know that? I didn’t. But according to the article on listproducer.com, lists will help you be healthier. How so? Here’s a few notes from the article:
- Reduce anxiety. As soon as you start writing things down on paper (or in your smartphone) and get it out of your head — your stress levels will drop.
- Boost your brain power. The act of making a list uses parts of your brain that might not normally get used.
- Improve focus. Using your list as a roadmap will help you to keep your eye on the prize. Having a tool to keep your focus will help you in all aspects of your life.
- Increase self esteem. Once you do this (cross something off your list) you will feel an amazing sense of accomplishment.
- Organize your thoughts. If you declutter your mind and write out a list your thoughts will be less jumbled in all areas of your life.
Without a good list, the day can often be overrun by last minute orders or even worse, our good friend procrastination. Try creating a list, being sure to include things you actually want to do. That way, by the end of the day you can feel accomplished when you look the way you took control of your day and also see where you may want to make better use of your time tomorrow.
IV. Meditate, pray, or read positive affirmations.
Regardless of personal belief or background, everyone can find a way to get centered. To be inspired. To pause and reflect. To be thankful. To just be.
Once the day gets fully started and the demands of the masses press in against us, it’s often too late to “take five” for yourself. So why not do it in the early morning hours? On purpose. Set aside the quite time to read something inspirational. To meditate on a verse or read and repeat some daily affirmations. It’s not just some mumbo-jumbo. Our brains work in a most fascinating way, and it takes everything we think and say in a very literal way. Consider the following example of being in a very real-life situation where you are trying to convince yourself not to cry. Hey, it happens… So you’re in the moment and you tell yourself “Don’t cry” only to find it makes you cry even more? Read the following explanation from blog.mindvalley.com:
There are actually two things happening in the brain that make phrases like “don’t cry” increase your negative emotions.
First, when you tell yourself “don’t cry,” you are giving your brain 2 commands. The first command is don’t and the second is cry.
You can process the two words together and understand the meaning, but your brain hears the word “cry” and begins to activate the neural connections for that command. In the end, you’re essentially telling yourself to cry, over and over again.
Second, a simple command like “cry” takes one small process for your brain to interpret.
It’s straightforward and simple.
A command like “don’t cry” takes some interpretation.
While your brain is busy firing off the processes to follow the command “cry,” it’s also going through a multi-step process of following the “don’t” command and then negating the entire command of “don’t cry.”
Unfortunately, after all that work, you haven’t given your brain an action to take instead of crying.
It searches for something else to do, but you haven’t told it what to do. Next time you’re in a situation where you want to experience the opposite emotion, think of that opposite emotion and command yourself to do that instead.
Instead of “don’t cry” try “I am calm” and see what happens!
Get it? Positive affirmations are the business. If you have a hard time coming up with your own, a quick google search under “positive affirmations” will give you tons from which to choose.
IV. Hydrate to wake
Did you know that constantly hitting the snooze button only confuses your body and can actually negatively affect you for hours after finally waking? Hours, fam. Who wants to start their day like that?
Instead of snoozing, try boozing – water that is. Go head on and chug down at least 16 ounces of fresh, clean water to tell your body it’s time to do the thing. Benefits? Plenty!
- Cranks up your metabolism
- Hydrates your body (after all, it’s thirsty after a good
eightfive-six hours of sleep)
- Helps your body flush out toxins
- Gives your brain fuel
- Can aid in digestion and other functions
- May even make you eat less (I cannot personally vouch for this one, but Google says…)
Not a big fan of water by itself? Add a splash of lemon or line to give it a zing. And if your like me and your bed isn’t by the fridge, keep a nice bottle by the bed so you can reach for it first thing. Easy enough, right? Certainly easier than the workout one…
So those are my five! What do you do in the morning to shake off the night? Do you have some favorite morning routines? Do share! Let me know, I’m always down to add more to the list. Happy waking!