Fall is here!
It’s officially October and I’m scratching my head wondering where time has gone.
I started a new job in the beginning of September and the past four weeks have flown by. My new position is awesome, but this past month has been exhausting! Information overload, adjusting to a new schedule, and handling a busier workload have all contributed to my tiredness.
Even worse, with fall here, the days are getting shorter and waking up in the morning is getting harder and harder. During the summer, my 6 am wakeup call doesn’t seem so bad because the sun is up, but now, I’m waking up before the sun. Even though I’m a morning person, there’s something that seems so wrong about waking up while it’s still dark outside.
I’m finding myself snoozing my alarm for almost half an hour (yikes). That’s half an hour less sleep. That’s half an hour of personal work I could be getting done. Instead, I’m lying in bed in a half conscious state making myself more tired and less productive than I would have been had I just woken up.
Here’s what I’m doing to establish a morning routine.
Prepare the Night Before
I’ve started to take on more responsibility the night before so I’m not stressing in the morning. I don’t do much – mostly get my lunch together and take a look at what I have on my plate the next day. I remind myself of any meetings or deadlines I have coming up so I can wake up prepared.
Set An Alarm That Works
Part of my trouble is that my current alarm is too soothing. It goes off, but doesn’t get me to the point of consciousness that I need. I’ve recently switched to a more “annoying” alarm that gets me up on the first or second ring, and have set an even more annoying alarm as a backup. By using two different alarm tones, my half asleep brain can tell when it’s absolutely time to get out of bed.
Another option is using a sunrise simulating alarm clock. These clocks work by gradually lighting up the room like a sunrise would. According to a study done in the UK, the light emitted from these alarm clocks ups the cortisol production in our body and “prepares our brain and body for the stressors of the day.” Our bodies see a 50% increase in our cortisol levels 20-30 minutes after we awaken in the morning. Light lamps tell our brains to start producing that important hormone before we awake, so we feel more alert once we are up and don’t groggily hit the snooze button time and time again.
Set Up A Cozy Spot
Especially in the winter, getting out of a warm bed and stepping into the cold sounds like a nightmare. I try to ease the transition by having a comfortable spot waiting for me when I wake up, outside of my bed. I grab a super soft blanket, sit in a lot of pillows, and plug in some mood lighting.
Have Something To Look Forward To
Waking up early can absolutely be hard, so I like to wake up far earlier than I need to and start my day on the right foot. I give myself a lot of time to do things I enjoy in the morning that I might not have the chance to do later in the day, such as blogging, reading, or online shopping. I like to sit on my sofa with a delicious cup of coffee and let my creative juices flow. I try to do something somewhat productive and will not spend my entire hour scrolling through social media. Setting aside some special “fun time” is essential to a good day.
Do Some Light Exercises
Besides coffee, moving is the best way to wake myself up and get my body moving in the early hours. My favorite thing to do in the morning are some light stretches or a yoga routine. I follow Rodney Yee’s 20 minute yoga lessons and they are the best. My husband always jokes that I spend too much time with Rodney 😉 He has 5 different lessons that are all 20 minutes or less that give me a great stretch, and the soothing music helps me slowly come to my senses.
Flex Your Mind
There are mornings and days when my brain feels overused. It’s frustrating to be awake for a few hours and still feel foggy. I find that doing something that requires brainpower is a great way to clear the sleep from my head. I like to read, but there are a lot of other options. I had a math teacher who would do a calculus problem first thing in the morning because it helped her mentally prepare for her day.
Time and time again, someone tells us that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and how important it is. My go to breakfast is 2 scrambled eggs with a dash of salt. I’ve got the cook time and technique down and the protein helps keep me full until my mid-morning snack. I’ll admit, there are days when I feel physically ill thinking of having to eat breakfast, and on those days, I opt for a veggie smoothie instead. Other days when I have to be in to work early, I’ll make a jar of overnight oats and eat them on the drive. Whatever you choose to eat, stay away from foods that are high in empty carbs and sugar, which will leave you hungry quicker.
Whatever you choose to incorporate into your own morning routine, the trick is waking up earlier to give yourself more time. If we can start our mornings slow and allow our bodies to fully wake up, we will be better prepared for the day ahead.
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