I have a secret to tell you: I’m a morning person. Despite finding myself up way later than I should be most nights, I don’t actually enjoy it. In an ideal world, I’d be going to bed no later than 10:30PM and waking up at 6:00AM. Strange, right? I actually want to wake up early.
I’ll let you in on another secret: I didn’t always use to be this way. In fact, it was only when I started university last year that my attitude towards the morning really changed. I’ve always had to wake up early to get to school, but I used to dread being up before the sun was properly set in the sky. When I think back to what sparked this change, I can only link it to one thing – I wanted some alone time.
Living in dorms meant sharing my space with roughly 25 other girls, and seeing one girl every time I was in my room. Waking up early gave me at least an hour of quiet before the craziness of the day kicked in. Despite no longer sharing a dorm room, I do still have roommates and getting to have a little bit of time in the morning that’s just mine has become a feeling I love.
My hope is that I’ll be able to share with you some tips and tricks to help make mornings the best thing about your day.
ONE – have a bedtime
Who would have known your mother was right? I’m not going to lie, this is the one I consistently struggle with which is why it’s my first bit of advice. Set yourself a bedtime and stick with it. I know that not every night will be the same, sometimes there’s a party to go to or some other unusual circumstance, but on a normal night go to bed at the same time. As I said before, in an ideal world my bedtime is 10:30PM. Realistically, by the time I’m home from the library and have given myself enough time to unwind after the day, my bedtime ends up being somewhere closer to 11:00PM.
As long as you’ve given yourself a realistic bedtime, you’re part way to becoming a morning person. For some people, having a bedtime routine is also helpful. I find that I don’t have time to make my routine anything other than essentials such as washing my face and setting myself up for success in the morning. In the past when I’ve had an actual routine that involved some time to process the day I’ve slept better so creating a routine along with your bedtime is also a good idea!
TWO – set yourself up for success
Part of why I like getting up early is to avoid running around like a chicken with their head cut off as I get ready. I found that setting myself up for success the night before is an essential part of having a good morning. For me, setting myself up for success looks like making sure my backpack is packed with everything I’m going to need for the next day and having at least an idea of what I’m going to be wearing. Anything else I can prepare for the next day like my meals, or making a prioritized list of things I should be finishing, happens most nights but I don’t beat myself up if I don’t remember to do that prep.
THREE – get into a routine
When I tell you that a morning routine is an important part of my day, I don’t mean that I do the exact same things every morning. What I mean is that I have certain sections of my morning scheduled out to do the things that I think are super important. All in all, my morning routine takes about an hour and a half, but I really think it helps me start my day off right.
When I wake up, I immediately lay out my yoga mat do some stretching and/or pilates. Afterwards I jump in the shower (not every day) and finish by getting dressed, putting on makeup (most of the time), and having breakfast.
So you can see that it isn’t a super extensive list of things I do every single morning. I try to keep my routines to a minimum so that my entire day isn’t taken up by routine. I like structure, but I find my morning routine helps me get ready to do the things I love but doesn’t include them.
FOUR – do something active
I find that just getting myself out of bed is a struggle. Even thinking about doing anything more just exhausts me and makes me want to hide back under my covers. So naturally I force myself to do twenty minutes of activity right after I wake up. Incorporating physical activity into your morning makes it harder to crawl back into bed and wakes your body up. I’m not saying you have to go right into heavy cardio, I certainly don’t. I like to start with some simple stretching and then work my way up to different pilates routines. Youtube is a great place to find different morning activities. Personally, I like Blogilates “Wake Up With Me” video and then incorporating one of her 5-6 minute videos either targeting a specific area of the body or a cardio warm-up.
You can do some yoga if that’s more your style or go for a twenty minute run, anything that’s going to give you a little boost of pre-caffeine energy is a good way to start the morning.
FIVE – don’t cheat on the weekends
We all love getting that extra five minutes of sleep, and I’m not saying deprive yourself of the sleep your body needs (if your body is telling you you’re exhausted, listen to it) but I am saying that you don’t want the weekends to be cheat days. Unless you have a good reason, wake up on weekends at the same time you would during the rest of the week. It might seem like it sucks, but waking yourself up at the same time every day makes having to wake up suck less overall.
SIX – brace yourself, then turn that light on
Let’s be honest here, you’re far more likely to go back to bed if your room is still a dark cave in the morning. I like to leave the curtains behind my bed open when I go to sleep at night so that when I wake up I can see the natural light outside and I’m reminded that it’s morning. I also like to turn my room lights on as quickly as possible. I’m warning you though, if your goal is to wake up earlier, this is going to be your least favourite part – at least for a while. However, sunlight reduces our melatonin levels which makes us feel way more alert. So basically, getting yourself some sun in the morning will give you that much needed kick in the bum to start your day.
SEVEN – add a little music
This might seem silly, but I believe that starting your day with an empowering playlist can set the right tone for the rest of your day. Whether empowerment to you looks like some energizing pop songs, songs that will slowly wake you up, or something else entirely, putting on that rocking playlist is going to set yourself up for success. Here are a few of my favourites: