Do you have a morning routine?
How many times do you press the snooze button before you get up in the morning, putting off the inevitable getting out of bed and starting the day to the last minute possible?
Having just a little too much time in bed before emerging and then having to rush.
Ignoring your grumbling tummy, contemplating if you can get away without showering, your hair sulking and hoping no one notices that you didn't iron your clothes.
Mornings - love 'em or hate 'em, every day has one, so if you're not a morning person, starting every day feeling tired, grouchy, grumpy, stressed and rushed will have a significant impact on your day.
So if you are more of an owl than a lark, keep reading because I'm going to share 13 ways to make your mornings a delight.
I've never been a morning person, far happier reading (or partying!) late into the night. So much so, one year for my birthday I got 3 - yes, 3! - alarm clock radios (remember them?!) as presents.
My morning routine used to be:
- Leave getting up until the last possible second
- Get ready for work bleary eyed
- Feel grumpy, grouchy and tense
- Feel stressed as I rush out of the door
- Spend the day feeling scruffy, and playing catch up
Not the best start to the day, but not unusual. So if that sounds all too familiar, let's look at some ways to change your morning routine, to increase your everyday self care and get more energy, positivity, calmness and focus for a more productive day.
The night before
Give your morning routine a helping hand by doing some preparation the night before,
1. Quality Sleep
Waking refreshed and replenished will make all the difference to not just the start of your day, but the whole day.
For a simple yet effective way to encourage sleep, take a look at Neville Medhoras 'Amish hour' - an hour before you want to settle down to sleep, turn off all electronic gadgets - TV, computer, tablet etc. Couldn't be simpler!
Or you could try the Relax Melodies app, where you select sounds and melodies to help you drift off. Choose from waves lapping, birds singing, rain, a cat purring etc etc. You can have more than one sound and different tones. It also includes a couple of guided meditations. There are more sounds and more meditations in the paid version, so if you like it it may be worth the small investment.
If you prepare lunch to take to work, doing it the night before will not only take the pressure off in the morning, but also mean you are likely to have a better quality meal.
I can't tell you how many times i've been frantically searching through the ironing basket trying to find something to wear 10 minutes before I've had to leave the house! It's an unpleasant way to start the day, so don't do it to yourself.
Get what you're wearing ironed and ready, it saves not just time, but that totally unnecessary stress when you least need it.
4. Wake up earlier
Okay, you may not relish the thought of getting up earlier but just 10 little minutes can make an enormous difference to your day, and if you adopt the Amish hour (as in No 1 above) you are more likely to wake feeling refreshed.
Waking earlier means you won't have to rush, reducing stress and introducing calm.
If you prefer to be woken gently rather than terrified awake by a shrill alarm, try Sleep Cycle alarm clock . This clever app somehow knows how to wake you when you are in your lightest sleep phase, so you wake feeling more relaxed. It's free, though as with most apps, you can upgrade to a paid version, the free one is just fine.
5. Drink water
Your body just went 8 hours without water, so it needs re hydrating. Take a good long drink of water, cool but not cold from the fridge as it's too shocking to the system. Add a slice of lemon if you have some.
Be aware of what sounds you like in the morning, and try something new. If you always have the radio on, try silence, see how that feels and vice versa.
I've avoided the 'E' word here, because exercise sounds too earnest!
Help your body to wake up by moving it, and it can be at any level you wish.
It could be gentle stretches, yoga, or a mindful walk. If you're feeling energetic, 10 minutes of cardio or a run, the choice is yours. You can mix it up, do something different on different days, depending on the weather, for example.
It's always nice to have an unhurried shower with time to condition your hair, shave your legs and just chill.
Try a warm/cold shower - a few minutes with warm water, a few minutes with cold is very stimulating, and can help if you're feeling sluggish.
And afterwards, some early morning pampering - your favorite body lotion, time to spend on your hair makes for a good hair day, and you know what a difference THAT makes!
Skipping breakfast might be tempting, but unless you've prepared for being hungry midmorning and have prepared something you can eat, the temptation is to grab something - anything. So keep control, and eat well.
Make breakfast a treat, and make it varied. Sweet, refreshing fruit, warm vanilla pastries, eggs and bacon... After all, variety IS the spice of life!
And filling your home with the smell of freshly made coffee is definitely one of lifes simple pleasures.
Journaling is fantastic at any time, but is a particularly great way to start the day. 'Morning pages' by Julia Cameron is a widely used method, and if you click the link there is a short (2 minute) video of Julia talking about what to do and why.
Journaling helps reduce stress, increases self awareness and self acceptance and is a powerful tool to use. Check out my guide below.
If you'd like some extra information about starting a journal, this guide that takes you step by step through the whole process.
The guide is available on a Pay What You Want basis, meaning there is no set price, you pay what you feel it's value is to you.
So grab a book and get scribbling!
Things to avoid
The TV is a massive time suck in a morning, and when every second counts it's something you can do without.
12. Social media
As with TV, it's so easy to fall down the rabbit hole of social media and climb out again blinking and confused, wondering what happened to the time.
13. Work Emails
Looking at work emails in personal time makes work/life boundaries fuzzy. Keep those boundaries firm by only answering work emails in work time.
So there you go, 13 ways that will make for a morning of self care, creating a much better experience for you, leaving you feeling energized, focused, positive and ready for a productive day. And if your self care could do with a boost, see below.
Take my FREE 21 day Self Care Challenge, designed to kick start you into prioritizing your wellbeing and starting a regular self care habit.
Written assuming you're busy and on a budget, it's simple, highly effective and fun!