If you’re like me, I proudly state, “I don’t do mornings.”
It was easier when I was younger and filled with a lot of energy. Not so much anymore. As we progress through different stages in our life, mornings can become incredibly challenging. Many of you have to arise to the sound of an alarm clock. Still others are awakened at varying hours in the early morning by young children who are anxious for breakfast and to start their day. Whether you have constraints on your morning hours or not, those hours don’t have to be the worst ones of your entire day. We all know how to wake up, let’s talk about making it better.
Different ways to IMPROVE your mornings.
- What about that alarm clock? If you have to use this torture device in the morning, make it less disturbing. With the advancement of technology, you have so many different choices for an alarm tone. Whatever device you use to wake in the morning, find a tone that doesn’t make your heart race as soon as you hear it. Being awakened out of a deep sleep by an ear piercing alarm will definitely make you feel as though you just swallowed your heart. Don’t turn down the volume, but find something a little less alarming (get it, my little pun!).
- Find out whether you are the type of person that is likely to hit that evil snooze button dozens of times or not. Some people “need” to bolt out of bed in the morning. However, if you’re like me, that sudden rush of blood from my brain makes me feel dizzy, light-headed and sick to my stomach. This is known as postural hypotension. This is a very unpleasant feeling first thing in the morning. I have learned to wake up and rise out of bed slowly.
- What used to be considered as the most important meal of the day, there is a lot of new research regarding your breakfast meal. In most articles I read, and this one in particular, what’s most important is what you eat for breakfast. Skipping breakfast altogether is really not suggested by most health professionals and researches. Think about how active you will have to be in your morning, both physically and mentally, and take that into consideration when planning your breakfast.
- You have to decide whether you need/want to shower/bath the night before or in the morning. When I was punching a time clock daily, I found taking a hot shower first thing in the morning was not only a great way to fully awake in the morning, but also relaxing. Everyone is different and it’s important to find what works best for you. Then, make sure you plan time accordingly.
- Watch out for medications! There are a lot of prescription and over the counter medications, though effective for various symptoms, cause drowsiness. If you have to be somewhere important, avoid these at all costs, especially if you don’t know how they may affect you.
A personal story. I went about my morning routine one day preparing for work. I took some prescriptions and vitamins and then headed out the door. Within an hour of arriving, I began to feel incredibly drowsy. It continued to get worse throughout the morning until I could hardly keep my eyes open. It was absolutely horrible. Well, later I realized I had taken my nighttime medications that help me sleep, rather than my morning medications! Yeah! Be careful when taking medications in the morning.
- Try to get some type of exercise in the morning. No, you don’t have to go out and run 5 miles in the morning. The key here is to get up and move. Even if all you do is gentle yoga or mindful breathing for 5 minutes; this will engage your mind and body into action. Gentle exercise in the morning can be an extremely effective way to get your mind in gear. Here is a great 5-minute workout you can do in your bed and bedroom!
- Rushing about in the morning trying to find what you’re going to wear and what you need to take with you as you leave…now that’s stressful! That will completely ruin your morning and likely affect the quality of your entire day. Be prepared. If you have a special meeting, appointment or whatever, be prepared. Make sure your clothes are ready and set them out the night before. If you need to take something with you, place it in front of the door so you won’t miss it as you leave.
- In two words…time and planning! Always give yourself more time in the morning than you think you may need. It is always best to be too early than late! While going to bed the night before, think about what you may need in the morning and have it ready. These two things will go a long way to making your morning routine so much easier.
There are so many other things that can be added to this list, but I tried to keep it reasonable in size. For me, these are the most important. What do you do to improve your mornings?