Some people wake up when the world is still quiet. They may do a couple of loads of laundry, work out, and save the world all before the sun shows its face. I am not one of those people. From the bottom of my heart I wish I was, because it’s like you’re ahead of the game before it even starts. I’ve tried to set my alarm early, and practice all those little tricks to force myself to become an early bird. The problem is that I am a night owl, but I’ve learned that even if I can’t feel alert at 5 in the morning I can still make mornings work for me. They are, in my experience, one of the biggest factors in determining the flow of my day. If I sleep in, barely get out of the door on time, and do my makeup in the car, my day is just as messy. I know this from experience; day after day after day. So I’ve streamlined a morning routine that yes, makes me get up earlier, but also (in my opinion) isn’t over ambitious forcing me into something my genetic code says I’m not.
If you are a morning person (you lucky dog), then you can still benefit from this tips. You just have the luxury of spending more time on your favorite parts! In this Slay Your Day Series, we will look at more than just mornings, but they are the foundation that everything springs from. Follow along and let’s transform ourselves from sleepy sirens to sultry slayers!
How to Master Your Mornings
This checklist is different for everyone. Some of you are mothers, in which case you have a whole other layer of complications and needs to account for. Some of you are bloggers and entrepreneurs, and some have intense office jobs. One thing we all have in common is a huge task list, and many hats that we wear each day. There was a point in my life where I was seeing a therapist to get through a really hard chapter, (which can be saved for another time, book deal perhaps?) and one thing she was big on was making a personal inventory of the things we needed to do in a day to feel good. Basically a self-care checklist. I think of my morning routine like a mini self-care checklist, one that also feeds into creating balance from the minute I wake up .
The Initial Wake Up
Let the music move you…right out of bed!
The hardest part, am I right?! Personally I’ll give myself 1-2 alarms a couple of minutes apart, and the last one I have set to play music. Pick something motivating or moving, whether that’s the latest Ellie Goulding hit or old school Eye of the Tiger. Whatever makes you come alive! I still need those 1-2 normal alarms to start to wake up, otherwise my brain wouldn’t recognize anything as music.
Then I try to think of 3 things I’m grateful for without even getting out of bed. For example, that I am alive and breathing, that my loved ones are too, and that the sun came out (hey, in Seattle that’s huge!). In Christian-speak we call these popcorn prayers, but it really is just a method of starting your day with an attitude of gratitude. As opposed to being mad that you have to get up and go to work.
Wake up Your Body
Stretch it out.
Now that my body is only half in zombie-state, I wake up the rest of it. A quick stretching session does wonders.
Warm lemon water.
The benefits of lemon water are many, but the biggest is that it gets your system moving like it should by aiding digestion. I love the warmth. I love using my electric kettle which gets the water to the perfect temp before I can say abracadabra. Or at least close :). I drink this as I go through the rest of my morning routine.
Get your heart pumping (a little).
Usually I prefer to shower or bathe the night before to save time, so I don’t like my morning workouts leaving me
drenched in sweat glowing. If you like to get your intense workouts behind you before the world wakes up, I applaud you! I’ve tried that, and even after 2 months of Insanity or some other challenge I just find that for me it’s best if I save my super intense workouts for later in the morning, day, or evening if possible. It is important to do something though. Take your fur baby on a walk, do an online toning or Barre video, basically just do enough to get your heart pumping but the sweat glands not pouring. You may need a quick 2 minute rinse off shower, but that’s better than the full shebang!
Wake Up Your Mind
Get your wheels turning.
Current events, part of a podcast or TED Talk, a chapter of a book or audio book are all good ways to engage the brain. They’re something constructive that gets your brain thinking on a larger scale. It’s so easy to get stuck in the world of ME, and this gets me thinking from a different perspective.
With the news I try not to get on social media when I wake up. Try is the key word here, because as a blogger I wake up to what seems like endless notifications all calling my name. I’ll address this more in my spring “digital detox” experiment, but basically I aim to give myself a brief rundown of what’s going on in the world around me without chasing the white rabbits of the interweb. You could do this with TV news, but for me that takes too much time and I’m only getting a very small, local slice of what’s going on. I’ve talked about it before, but I love The Skimm. It’s delivered straight to your inbox, and breaks down current events in a very understandable and interesting way. I can’t recommend it enough. The challenge is not being distracted by the other emails in your inbox. If I can’t resist, then I star the good ones for later, and move on!
Go over your schedule and To Dos.
This is not the time to completely fill out your planner, this is the time to check what’s already been set and make changes if needed. Look for potential problems or challenges, and slots where you might have some free time. That way you can try to prepare (as much as possible) for the obstacles, and know when you should be able to cross some to do’s off your list. I also love one of my planner’s sections where you identify the 3 biggest things that MUST get done that day.
Wake Up Your Spirit
Saturate yourself in good.
Spending time closing out the impending noise of the day, and filling my spirit is priceless. In fact, of all the things I try to put in my routine, this is where I see the most benefits. Personally,I read Scripture, follow a devotional plan, and set aside time for prayer. During my meditation I also run through my schedule, knowing that my best laid plans might come crumbling down.
These may seem little, but trust me they are huge!
Make the bed (just like momma told you).
Moms have a lot of wisdom, and this is one of them. There is something magical about having a made bed. I don’t know why, but taking that 2 minutes to get the bed made will put your mind at ease. Even it is just the comforter thrown straight with some decorative pillows. For me it doesn’t have to live up to army standards. We’re streamlining this process, remember?
Look good, feel good.
Last but certainly not least is to take an extra 10-15 minutes to polish off your look. I’m lucky enough to wear scrubs to work, but it’s amazing what a casual updo and some extra makeup does for my spirits. It’s the little details that make the biggest difference. Not that car makeup is awful, it’s just not polished, and probably not very safe. 🙂
That, ladies and gentlemen is how I master my mornings! I’m not going to tell you that I wake up like this every day, because there are many times I stay up way too late and get up 10 minutes before I’m supposed to leave. However, there is a drastic difference when I start my day this way. Get the timeline on how I do it in 75 minutes, recommended stretch and workout routines, helpful apps, and scheduling tips by subscribing to my Angel Squad Insider!
Next week in the Slay Your Day Series I will be looking at how the often under looked night-time will set you up for success, and make mornings like these possible.