6 am on a Monday morning, a mountain of emails, tasks, and activities stretching before you, not enough sleep the night before, and absolutely no desire to leave the warm embrace of your bed. Sound familiar?
Believe me, we’ve all been there. Mornings can be rough especially as we all face an increasing load of professional and personal commitments, but your much-dreaded alarm doesn’t have to be your enemy. There’s no one secret for turning your frantic, hectic mornings into times to practice self-care and relax but we’ve developed a few tips to help improve your relationship with waking up.
Set One Alarm and Stick to It
Figure out how much time it takes you to get ready, choose a realistic wake-up time, and set one alarm. A lot of people tend to set one alarm early for their desired wake up time and end up snoozing it several times before getting up. It turns out that process doesn’t really make you feel any more rested and can disturb your sleep schedule. If you set your alarm for 7:30 every day and find yourself snoozing it until 8, it may be time to face reality, set your alarm to 8, and commit to getting up the first time it goes off. If you find yourself rushed in the morning try timing how long your morning routine takes and waking up with plenty of time to do everything that makes you feel prepared for the day.
Don’t Multitask Your Morning
Eat breakfast or drink your coffee or tea without doing anything else, no multitasking!
Many of us wake up, grab our phones, and immediately check in with work or other responsibilities. Or we scroll through social media over breakfast or while making our coffee. The allure of multitasking is strong, especially when we’re facing an extremely busy day but it may actually be working against us. Instead of trying to get everything done at once, put away your phone and give yourself 10 or 20 minutes to eat your breakfast or sip your coffee. No phone, no news, no tv, just sit and give yourself a moment to enjoy your morning and be by yourself. The work will still be there when you’re done with your coffee.
Stay Off Social Media
This is the hard one. It’s one of the steps in our ultimate nighttime routine too because it’s that important to having relaxing moments in your day. The most important part of not going on social media in the morning is not having it be the first thing you do when you get up. Your desire to scroll may be strong but ultimately, reading the news, seeing what overly happy and beautiful version of their lives people are posting on instagram and getting into arguments on facebook do not make for a relaxing morning. Instead, try reading a book, doing a crossword, a quick yoga or meditation practice, or journaling.
Create a Routine
You can’t control many of the factors that come up in the morning especially when you have kids or pets but creating a routine and sticking to it can make it easier to handle whatever the morning throws at you. The strategy of setting one alarm and sticking to it, mentioned above is the first step to a good morning routine. What comes after that is up to you. Try making a list of everything you need to get done in the morning, prioritize what’s really important, and try out a couple of different orders of doing things.
If you know that doing a short yoga practice in the morning makes you feel ready for the day, prioritize that over something draining like spending 10 minutes answering emails when you first wake up. Figure out how long you want to do yoga each day and plan around it. Maybe you like to stretch on a full stomach or eating might be best for you after your shower. It’s up to you how you want to plan your morning but make sure you stick to it.
Give Yourself a Treat
We’re not saying wake up to a chocolate bar every day (though if that works for you, go for it), but part of learning to not dread the mornings is giving yourself something to look forward to. Maybe you really enjoy your breakfast or take solace in the process of making your morning tea– whatever it is, make sure to include it in your morning routine every single day. Waking up doesn’t have to be a chore or your most dreaded part of the day!