Okay, full disclosure I’m like half a human in the mornings. Correction, I am half a human no matter when I wake up. No, seriously I can’t even nap because I just turn into this gremlin-esque person and trust me, it’s a worse look than an ugly cry.
It definitely doesn’t help that I spent the better part of the past decade depending on the beautiful sweet nectar of the coffee gods to bring me to life. I know all the coffee addicts out there feel me, it’s all fun and witt when we see those #butfirstcoffee posts, but to the hardcore coffee lover inside it’s like “…but seriously. Did. I. Stutter? COFFEE. FIRST. COFFEE. NOWuhhhh”
So now that I have more time on my hands, I figured It was about damn time I worked out a better morning routine for myself. I had all kinds of great ideas to get my days off to a kick ass start. The problem came when I’d created a list with so many ideas for myself that I had a hard time narrowing it down, and thus (ever the procrastinator), I had a hard time just starting in general.
Finally I decided I had to try them all. I couldn’t seem to give one up, much like when I try and clean out my closet or resist adding more to the cart in my Colourpop order. I was all excited and full of pep about my decision, so I bounced over to my boyfriend to interrupt an intense game of Rocket League and to tell him all about my list of new morning routines.
While he didn’t totally appreciate the interruption, he did offer some extra insight that was a definite game changer for how I tackled this thing. He gently pointed out that if I actually tried to get each item done in one morning, I would pretty much spend the entire day doing my “morning routine”. At which point he looked at me and said “wasn’t the point of you doing all this to be MORE productive not less?”. Ugh, it’s the worst when he’s right. I was setting myself up for doom because my first major attempt at being super productive was to voluntarily drown myself in morning tasks until it was basically time to go to bed.
If we’re gonna have a total TBH moment here, I think I was finally so determined to really take care of my body and build strength (hey I wouldn’t say no to some tiny abs!), that I was pushing way too hard to try and make that happen. Instant gratification is one of my weaknesses, so this self realization wasn’t really a surprise.
So over the course of a month I tested out all my ideas to narrow it down to a morning routine that was simple, enjoyable and easy to achieve. After all the experimenting and note taking, I thought it was silly to just keep my results for myself! Please let me know what some of your own tricks are…sharing is caring 🙂
1. Saying No to Multiple Alarms
Since about the age of 13, if I had to set an alarm, I would set it 30 minutes earlier than I needed to wake up. This allowed me to snooze at least twice before finally dragging my ass out of bed. Yes, I began a career of procrastinating at a young age. I know I’m not alone in this habit, but I am telling you as someone who’s done this for about 15 years, it’s an awesome habit to break.
When I first tried to forgo my multi-alarm system, I was tempted to still give myself 5 minutes of snooze time, to wean myself off the habit. This didn’t work so well for me, 5 minutes very quickly escalated to 15 minutes.
In the end I decided the whole point of this was to quit the bullshit. So I did. What I had been doing was just so counter-productive. I’d crave more sleep, so I would wake up earlier just to put myself BACK to sleep, twice! It’s just madness. So if you are guilty of the same thing, here’s a tip that helped me; would you wake a sleeping child or baby early just to tell them to go back to sleep? No, you wouldn’t because that’s mean. So why are you mean to yourself? This is one of those band-aid/cold turkey steps I’m afraid, you just need to rip it off and give it up. Try not to sugar coat it or try and transition slowly with this one. Once you force yourself to get up after one alarm for a week or two, I promise you’ll not only see the difference but you’ll be closer to breaking your old habit! Kicking your own butt is never easy, but it’s worth it.
2. Drink Water Before Checking Your Phone
So this idea was recommended to me by my a former colleague who swears this was one of the game changers for her morning routine. I was admittedly a little skeptical about getting any kind of results from this at first since it seemed too simple, but my friend convinced me it was worth it. She’s not a lover of social media, so for anonymity let’s call her Jane. Jane told me the point of this for her was to hydrate her body almost the instant she wakes up. She tells me she’s always been a firm believer in drinking water to keep you alert and focused throughout the day, and while neither of us are doctors, I have to agree with her on that point. At Jane’s instruction, I filled a glass of water for myself before bed. (If you have to get up to get the water in the morning, it defeats the purpose of drinking as the first thing you do upon waking). The next part is simple, wake up, drink some of your water and don’t do anything else first. Easy right? Well, sort of.
It took a little while to drill the concept into my head. The first day, I turned off my (one!) alarm sat up and began to drink my water. I also still had my phone in my hand and was more focused on my notifications than I was with drinking. So much so that I actually missed my mouth. Classy. Of course this was just another opportunity for me to practice some self-discipline, so I forged on. And you know what? Jane was freaking right! I won’t pretend to know why this works for us and spout of some facts I found on Google (though there are some interesting ones!), I’m not what you’d call a credible source for medical and nutritional facts, but I am honest about how I feel. And doing this makes me feel amazing each morning. I find that I have more energy throughout the day and don’t burn out as quickly as I used to. I’m more alert, and genuinely find myself in a better mood.
So do what I did, try this out for a week. Then on the weekend, don’t bother doing it at all so you can see the difference. Now tell me you don’t feel 10x better on the days that you did start with water 😉
I’m still drinking coffee in this photo, but look how happy I already am. Glowy faces like that don’t usually happen until the cup is empty 😀
3. Start Your Morning The Night Before
Do you remember when you were a kid and whenever you were getting ready for bed your mom prepped your stuff for the next day? From your outfit down to what outerwear you’d need and what you were bringing for lunch. My mom always let me chose what I was going to wear (within reason), but it had to be ready the night before.
Once I was a teenager I was left more to my own devices (although I was super lucky and my mom always made sure I had lunch whether I thanked her or not). I for sure stopped preparing myself the night before the same way my mom had. Why do today what you can put off until you’re super effing late in the morning?! This was definitely one of those moments were my mom was 100% right. And it really is so damn easy to do.
Dedicate 20 minutes of your evening to getting things ready for tomorrow. That’s not even a full episode of a sitcom! Totally doable. If you’re someone who prefers to bring food from home, split your time into 2 blocks. One for food and one for primp-prep (outfit, beauty accessories etc.). Understand your weak areas, if you have a ton of unorganized makeup, take out the key pieces you need in advance. Do this with anything similar. Get your tea bag and mug out the night before. These may seem like small things, but having the little details handled really makes a world of difference. Does it save you time? A little, yes. But the point is it helps neutralize your mood, or at least it does for me. Fighting with my makeup bag or realizing the sink is too full from the dishes I didn’t do to fill the kettle I never filled, creates absolute chaos in my head. And to be honest, it just puts me in a shitty, impatient mood. I’ll sacrifice 20 minutes of my evening to create a peaceful morning any day, and usually it doesn’t even take me 20 minutes 🙂
4. Simulate Morning Dip
One of my friends likes to do a few rounds of jumping jacks in the morning to get herself going. This is a lovely idea for people who are, well, not me. LOL. I’m down for trying different ways to kick your morning into high gear, but shaking my body around is just not something I can convince myself to do. Maybe one day this will be the type of thing I can handle, but right now it’s not for me. I used to go away to camp in the summer, and one of my favourite things was “morning dip”. Campers and counselors would get up at the crack of down, go down to the dock and jump into the cold lake. I know maybe it sounds crazy that I’d prefer to submerse myself in cold water than jump around, but trust me it’s way more revitalizing than you might think. Also as someone who’s always had semi-problematic skin, the cold water is great way to close your pores up after steam cleaning them in the shower. Even if you showered the night before, take a moment in the morning to splash some cool water on your face. It’s a great feeling and it’s again, such an easy way to jump-start your morning!
5. Eat Something, Seriously.
Now I’m sure this one is on every list, everywhere…including my mother’s. Once again, they’re all right. Believe you me, I am the last person to voluntarily admit that forcing yourself to eat in the morning actually helps. I swear though, it changes everything. The importance of eating is a no-brainer on it’s own, but too many times I’ve chosen 2 cups of coffee in lieu of breakfast and felt like garbage come lunch. Also something that we all know but (especially me) often ignore is food is literally powering your brain. Would you expect your cell phone to work if you didn’t charge it? Exactly. You can’t expect your brain to function at full capacity if it has no juice! I have spent YEARS learning this the hard way.
I know I know, it’s easy to say that but you’re the kind of person who feels sick when they try to eat in the morning. I get it, so was I. That’s why all you have to do is start small. I really enjoy milkshakes in general, so drinking one of those Carnation Instant Breakfasts was pretty easy for me to do. And it definitely helped me focus and think clearly, until I was able to have lunch or a real food snack. Try sticking to easy to eat items in the beginning, a grapefruit with a handful of cashews to go or a granola bar with a clementine. Don’t try forcing yourself into big full bowls of cereal or bagels if you’re not used to eating in the morning. Let the eating habit build until you wake up thinking
Damnnn, I’m HUNGRY!
I hope you guys are able to find any or all my little tips helpful, and as always please feel free to comment and share your thoughts! And if you need a little fun breakfast inspo, go check out my super easy spiced granola recipe!