Some people are blessed enough to jump out of bed at 5 am every morning, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to tackle their day. I have never been one of those people. Even as a child I remember having trouble falling asleep and trouble waking up.
Sadly, our daily structure doesn’t really favor us night owls. If you’re someone who can’t sleep the morning/early afternoon away due to your job, kids, or cat that has to be fed right this instant, rising early is non-negotiable.
Luckily, there are a few things that you can work into your morning routine that can help ease that transition — and get you on the right track to a healthy, productive day. Let’s take a look.
1. Stop Snoozin’
I know, I know, the snooze button is your absolute favorite part of the morning. Snagging a few more minutes of shut eye can feel like a con sometimes. Something you know you shouldn’t do, but it feels so good.
But if you really think about it, hitting snooze multiple times actually does you a disservice. Those ten-minute increments of “sleep” aren’t restful at all, and you’re setting yourself up to have to rush through the rest of your morning, which doesn’t put anyone in a good mood.
2. Hands Off Your Phone
Yes, you have to touch your phone to shut off your alarm (the first time), but after that, put it back down. Those little bricks of information glued to our hands are a wonderous thing, but they can also be our downfall. If you’re someone who checks your email, the news, or even social media before you get out of bed in the mornings, it might be time to re-think that habit.
Give yourself the morning (or at least 30 minutes or so) to slowly and naturally wake up. Your job doesn’t get to demand your attention before your feet hit the floor. Dwelling on bad news first thing is setting you up for failure. And seriously, you don’t need to see what everyone else’s breakfast looks like on Insta before you get going.
3. Count Your Blessings
Instead of mindlessly scrolling first thing in the morning, take a few moments to make a mental list – or a physical one if you’d like to journal – of what you’re grateful for. And do it before you even stand up if possible.
This doesn’t have to take up a lot of time, and it doesn’t have to be profound. Just direct your attention to things that make you happy, like a puppy snoozing at your feet, a piece of art on your wall you really love, or that delicious cup of coffee you’re about to make. The point is to turn your mind to something positive, and to set the tone for the day.
4. Move Your Body
As you’re getting out of bed, try to get in some simple movement that will help to wake you up. This could be a sun salutation, five reps of lunges or squats, or just some simple stretching. Some people even swear by getting into child’s pose before you get out of bed.
We’re not talking about an intensive cardio sesh (unless early workouts are your jam, in which case, go you). But it’s important to get some blood pumping through your veins before you sit down in a chair for eight hours straight.
5. Make Your Bed
Seems a tad frivolous, maybe, but introducing some order into your day first thing can make you feel more at peace and in control of your own destiny. It’s a small task that can make you feel accomplished.
It also makes your space feel less cluttered, which can also benefit your mental health. And it could be a catalyst to keep the rest of your room neat and uncluttered, which could only be a good thing.
6. Wash Your Face, Brush Your Teeth, and Scrape Your Tongue
Splashing water on your face can do wonders for waking you up, but depending on the products you’re using, you can also pamper yourself first thing in the morning. We’re not talking about an 11-step skin care routine here (again, unless that’s how you roll, in which case more power to you). But a simple cleanser, refreshing toner, and good moisturizer could still feel decadent.
And while we all roll out of bed and brush our teeth in the morning, why not give the Ayurveda practice of tongue scraping a place in your routine as well? When you sleep, your body detoxes, and some of those toxins are sitting on your tongue when you wake up (morning breath, anyone?)
Get yourself a tongue scraper like this one, and use it before you brush your teeth, drink any water, or eat breakfast to keep those toxins from reabsorbing into your body. It will freshen your breath, boost your immunity, and actually make your food taste better.
7. Drink Lemon Water
Once your mouth is all fresh and clean, grab a big glass of lemon water. When we wake up, our bodies are parched – and because of that whole toxins on the tongue thing, most of us don’t really want to reach for a glass of plain water first thing. Instead, add a half – or a whole – lemon to your glass. Bonus points if the water is either hot or lukewarm.
Lemon water is not only refreshing (which then makes you drink more), but lemon is a natural detoxifier that cleanses and stimulates the liver and kidneys. Lemons also have lots of vitamin C to boost the immune system, they contain antioxidants that help combat free radical damage, and lemon water alkalizes the body.
8. Eat a Healthy Breakfast
Our whole lives we’ve heard the phrase “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” And there’s some truth to that. We need fuel first thing in the mornings, and studies have shown that skipping the meal can lessen cognitive function and, in some cases, contribute to weight gain.
But that phrase was actually coined by General Foods in 1944. In other words, it’s an ad slogan.
My point is not to tell you to skip breakfast. Quite the opposite, actually. But don’t be fooled into thinking there’s only one way to eat breakfast. Because no two bodies are alike.
You might be someone who feels best after a protein rich breakfast. Or you might feel weighed down and sluggish after you eat eggs. You could feel the most energetic after a light breakfast of fruit and piece of toast, or that might lead to a blood sugar crash.
Find out what makes you feel your best, and then do that. If someone tells you there’s only one way to eat a healthy breakfast, they’re most likely trying to sell you something.
Oh, and don’t forget to take a multivitamin and your daily supplements with food in the morning.
9. Put on Real Clothes
For millions of us working from home, the pandemic ushered in the era of cozily working from your home office in PJs and slippers. It was another thing that made us feel like we were getting away with something. But going too long without wearing actual clothes can be a detriment.
Let’s not even get into the slippery slope that is wearing elastic waistbands all day every day and then suddenly trying to squeeze into those jeans. Putting on real clothes in the mornings sends signals to our brains telling us it’s time to get down to business. It’s business time.
I’m not saying to go full-on business casual, though. Because seriously, who’s got time for that sort of torture?