Even if you consider yourself a morning person, we can all agree mornings come far sooner than we’d like. That said, your morning will define the rest of your day, hence the phrase “woke up on the wrong side of the bed.” What if there were a few elements you could add to your day in order to make the most of every morning? Well, you’re in luck! Here are five easy tips to make the most of your mornings.
- GO TO BED: Yes…I know, you know, we all know. Sleep is important. But how many of us really treat it as such? Simple things like shutting down all electronics a half-hour prior to bedtime makes a major difference. Sure, it’s tempting to scroll through Pinterest one last time to find more ideas for your dream kitchen…or troll Facebook to see what hundreds of people you don’t even talk to anymore are having for dinner. Resist! These are not important things, whereas your sleep is vital. Turn on some soothing sounds, read a few chapters in a book or do some breathing exercises. Your body and mind will thank you in the morning. Don’t worry! Your crazy uncle Tom’s tweets will still be there to entertain you on your morning train commute.
- STRETCH: Remember in your 20s when you could sleep on your friend’s futon or even their floor and wakeup without any physical consequences? Those days are over, and now, between stress and aging, when we struggle to get out of bed our body sounds a little too much like popcorn being popped in a microwave. Taking even just five minutes to do a few simple side stretches, neck rolls and forward folds will give your body what it needs to start loose and fresh. Plus, forward folds (leaning forward towards your toes) is considered an inversion in yoga, which is known to energize and relieve depression. Win, win, win.
- THE MAGICAL 10: We are creatures of habit. Even refusing to have a routine is a routine in and of itself. The thing most of us have in common is when it comes to waking up, we tend to wait until the last minute. If we can complete our morning routine and get to work within two hours, that’s how much time we allot. But giving yourself ten extra minutes can be life-changing…or, at the very least, morning-changing. That ten minutes could be spent walking to the train versus taking the bus. Or you could use it to make a nutritious breakfast instead of grabbing a high calorie granola bar. Perhaps it simply allows you to take a little bit more time getting out the door, instead of running out in a chaotic, stressed mess. No matter how you spend it, giving yourself a little extra time can’t hurt; it can only help.
- PREP: Similar to why weekly food prep is all the rage, the same can be said for prepping for work the night before. Whether you have kids or simply can remember back to when you were one yourself, there is a reason parent’s lie out clothes and pack lunches the night before. It makes morning more efficient. Prep your breakfast, pack your lunch, put your bag by the front door, and lie out your outfit before you go to bed. Eliminating multi-tasking and decision-making allows your brain to be carefree upon waking. Plus, instead of spending time in the shower wondering what you have clean to wear, you can mentally prep for the day’s activities, allowing you to start the day ahead.
- BE GRATEFUL: The new Marie Kondo tidying up craze discusses at length the importance of saying thanks to your material possessions, from clothes to the roof over your head and everything in between. This seemingly surface-level habit establishes mental gratitude for what you have, which, over time, transforms how you view the world around you. Take a quick moment, when you open your eyes or as you walk out the door, to think of one thing you appreciate. It might be the fact that come 5:00 p.m., you get to go home, put on your over-sized sweatpants, eat take-out and secretly watch The Bachelor. It doesn’t matter the “what.” Find something to give you motivation and remind yourself that today is a good day. You might be surprised to see how that new perspective can change the day’s events.
Tomorrow morning is the start of a new day, and the choice is yours. You can snooze your alarm, frantically throw yourself together, arrive to work ten minutes late and count the minutes until the end of the day. Or, you can apply these simple tricks and use the first hour of your day to set the tone for those that follow. So, go ahead and prep the night before, set the alarm 10-minutes earlier, say thank-you, touch your toes, and shut that phone off! You’ll set yourself up for success. Who wouldn’t want that?