Remember the glory of sleeping till noon as a teenager?
Sooner or later, we all come to learn that adulting means waking up earlier rather than later. Now that I’ve graduated college, I can’t start my day at 10 a.m. so I’ve been trying different ways to turn my mornings into an enjoyable experience, rather a snooze-button filled, late-wake-up panic. Along the way, I’ve learned a few things — maybe these tips can help you start your day on the right side of the bed (perhaps figuratively and literally)!
Wake up well
As a chronic snooze button-hitter, I’m guilty of falling right back asleep until the very second I have to get up. Usually, this behavior slows me down in the morning and can make me irritable. Starting the day in panic mode does not set me up well to handle my responsibilities feeling stable and collected.
When mentioning this habit to one of my friends, she walked me through how she starts her morning. She sets two alarms and when the first goes off, she turns it off and stays in bed. But instead of falling back asleep, she runs through what’s coming up in the day ahead.
Taking a few minutes to stay relaxed after waking up can make the transition into physically getting up much easier. At the same time, running through the day in your mind can help you feel prepared, rather than overwhelmed, when jumping into your routine. Having a game plan for the day’s logistics will give you confidence you can face everything head-on.
And before you check your phone and start drowning in electronic reminders and messages, give yourself the chance to absorb natural light. Open your curtains and blinds — especially in the winter, natural light can be a huge morning mood booster. Our bodies naturally react to sunlight, and it’s a good way to help your body transition to its normal, active daytime phase.
Instead of turning on lights, try opening just the blinds in the morning for the peaceful feeling that comes with sunrise. When the weather gets nicer, cracking a window open can allow the sounds of the waking world in, whether that’s a city coming to life or birds and rustling trees. Hearing noises from outside you can make you feel connected to those around you and make your own home space feel more open.
Make your bed
After moving into my apartment this past fall, I had a headboard for the first time in years, new bed linens, and an earlier wakeup time. So why was I treating my space like a college dorm room, when I’d leave my bed in the same crumpled heap it resembled when I woke up?
The past few months, I’ve made a conscious effort to do what my mother always dreamed of: making my bed the second I get out of it. Never have I cultivated a habit that I’m more thankful for at the end of the day.
Timewise, this is one of the quickest parts of my morning. All it takes is pulling the comforters up, folding my blanket, and tossing my pillows on the bed. Even though it seemed silly at first — who’s going to be looking in my room when I’m gone all day? — coming home to a made bed alleviates post-work agitation. Now, I can easily go into my room after a long day at work and feel put-together, rather than distracted and unnecessarily stressed by a messy environment.
Taking the quick minute to make your bed in the morning can anchor your day in feeling productive and organized.
Plan some choices ahead
Try planning your next-day outfit and setting it out the night before. For me, doing this erases the early-morning panic of scrambling for something to wear. Having my outfit, socks, shoes, and accessories either hanging up together or laid over the back of a chair cuts my morning prep time down by at least five minutes. It also makes for a more leisurely morning routine.
To enjoy my morning, I know I’d much rather spend those precious minutes reading a book, grabbing another helping of breakfast, working on a crossword, or just sitting and drinking my coffee. Taking a few minutes to check the weather and plan an outfit the night before makes my mornings more efficient — plus, I have time to pull together outfits that I’m excited to wear, rather than the first thing I can grab from my drawer.
Similar to planning your outfit, take some time the night before to figure out your lunch plan for the upcoming day. Do you typically bring your lunch to work? Do you set aside money to buy lunch every day? No matter what your typical lunch looks like, make it something to look forward to and less of a hasty morning scramble.
We’ve all been there, grabbing a few things from the fridge and shoving them in our bags. Not that my Hostess cupcakes don’t go with the raspberries and leftover stir-fry, but it may not be the best combination. It’s much easier to greet the day the peace of mind when I know that my lunch bag is sitting ready in the fridge — all I need to do is grab it and be out the door. Packing my lunch the night before also allows for more conscious food selection and helps me balance out my meal without the stress of trying to make my commute on time.
While mornings were never my thing, I’m growing to appreciate the intentional use of small pockets of time that allow me to shape my day positively.