Let’s talk about waking up!
It’s the worst.
This post is not a peppy ode to the glory of mornings. Yes, sunrises are lovely and there really is something refreshing and ethereal about the morning air.
Beds are so warm and comfortable. Pillows are soft! Blankets? Divine.
Can we agree that life feels infinitely better when you are wrapped up in a blanket burrito?
I’m writing this post with two types of people in mind:
My fellow non-morning people
For better or for worse, the world does not cater to our whims. It takes us an average of 2 hours or the entire length of our commute-whichever comes first- to truly wake up and feel alive.
Passive-aggressive warnings on coffee mugs were made with us in mind.
We are also expert nappers and will likely know the most cozy and discreet napping nook in every place we have volunteered, worked or went to school. We’ll even tell you, if you can keep a secret.
Whether you are a morning person or not, chances are this pandemic has taken your regular morning routine and replaced it with a quarantine version.
This routine may be different from what you were used to pre-pandemic, and there is nothing wrong with that- your new routine (or lack thereof) helped you get through the last few months, and maybe you even enjoyed it!
As we begin to hear talks of the economy re-opening, I have personally been thinking about what returning to ‘normal’ or creating a new normal may look like.
It’s dawning (hehe) on me that the way I currently start my day is not compatible with the return of commuting to work and seeing people every day.
I’m positive that I’m not alone in this realization!
Hope Is on The Horizon (but not on the internet…)
While researching this article, most descriptions of how people start their day put my routine to shame.
In fact, the internet makes it seem as though the majority of people are waking up 2.5 hours before they leave the house and fitting in ALL of this:
- Meditation or prayer
- Some kind of workout
- Walking their dog
- Eating a healthy breakfast
- Listening to a podcast
- Doing their hair AND makeup
…and after all that, somehow making it to work early.
Let me tell you, I am certainly not this evolved.
And while the how is a mystery, I am more curious about the why.
Why are people motivated to wake up earlier and optimize their mornings? Let’s look into it together.
What’s In It For Us?
Waking up early and maintaining morning routines and rituals is very popular with those who are prioritizing their personal growth and self-improvement.
This could be because early mornings stretch your day. If you feel like there are just not enough hours in a day to accomplish everything you were hoping to do and a little extra, the early hours of the morning are usually when you can carve out that time.
Those hours are entirely your own. In many cases, no one needs you that early! You are not expected to be answering work emails while the others are still asleep.
It’s just you, a mug of something warm, and whatever you want to occupy your time with. Being awake while the world is asleep also has a way of making us feel more industrious and accomplished.
In case this is starting to sound like a peppy ode to mornings, let’s acknowledge that waking up earlier than you have to is HARD and certainly not for everybody.
There are some that swear by it though.
The 5 AM Club
Champions of the infamous 5 AM Club call the hour between 5:00 and 6:00 AM the ‘Victory Hour’. In 20-minute increments they: vigorously exercise, quietly reflect or journal, and engage in a personal side project or work on learning something new.
After this concentrated boost of activity, they are fully awake and can focus on things that they usually struggle to make time for. Passion projects and side hustles finally get the attention they deserve.
Over time, this routine has the potential to transform life because the little things- which are actually the big things- do not get neglected.
As nice as this sounds, you and I are both thinking of a host of people for whom this routine is unrealistic.
In light of that, the rest of this post will discuss my proposed alternative to owning your morning:
Develop a morning philosophy and choosing the activities that bring that philosophy to life.
Introducing: Your Morning Philosophy
I have a question for you:
How do you want to feel in the morning?
The answer to this will form the basis of your morning philosophy.
Think about the mindset you want to begin your day with.
Do you want your day to start by feeling:
Deciding this will guide you toward activities that will help bring your morning philosophy to life.
After all, it’s not about what you do, but how you do it. A long list of morning activities to try is both overwhelming and aimless.
Whereas, finding activities that are compatible with your philosophy is a significantly more conscious way to own your morning.
I compare this to having a ‘word of the year’ rather than a list of New Year’s resolutions. If your word is ‘empathy’ for example, you can allow this word to guide you towards certain practices and experiences throughout the year.
This is more purposeful than a list of goals that tend to lose steam as time goes on.
It’s also a simple checkpoint- are you bringing your word of the year to life?
Let’s apply this idea to our mornings.
I’ll suggest one small, manageable, and meaningful first step for living by your morning philosophy.
If Your Morning Philosophy Is To Feel Calm
Try listening to binaural beats!
‘Binaural’ means related to both ears. It’s a listening experience based on the perceptual phenomenon that occurs when two tones of a different frequency are presented separately to each ear. Yet we perceive this as a single unified sound!
These sounds help bring your brain into a relaxed and meditative state.
Researchers have also shown that combined with psychiatric treatment, exposure to binaural meditation sounds reduced anxiety in a group of patients.
Listening to binaural beats in the morning can help you achieve a calm state more easily. If you struggle with meditation (and many of us do) this is a wonderful alternative.
You can start with this Spotify playlist or one of the many binaural beat compilations available on Youtube!
If Your Morning Philosophy Is To Be Mindful
Being on autopilot in the morning is a reality for many of us. If you want to increase your awareness of the present moment, try gratitude journaling!
Simple jotting down 2-3 things you are grateful for that morning allows you to tune into the present.
Practicing gratitude is an active endeavor that encourages us to attend to the things we normally don’t ponder on: the amazing work our body does to keep us alive, the wonder of waking up in a warm bed, and the beautiful way the sunlight streams through the window.
We love the 5 Minute Journal, but you do not need a complex system to get into gratitude journaling!
If Your Morning Philosophy Is To Feel Energized
Do you wish you could ride a wave of energy throughout your morning?
Try incorporating energizing foods into your routine! This might require some adjusting, as many of us don’t leave enough time for breakfast in the morning.
This is where the power of a morning philosophy comes in- once you decide you want to feel more energized at the start of your day, it’s easier to make minor adjustments to prioritize those few extra minutes it takes to put something great together.
Another simple way to boost your AM energy levels is invigorating essential oils! You can rub them onto your skin or diffuse them throughout the room.
We love peppermint, rosemary, and sweet orange essential oils for this!
If Your Morning Philosophy Is To Be Productive
Take a leaf from the 5 AM club and wake up a 1 hour (or even 45 minutes) earlier than you normally would to get a head start on your day.
Productivity does not necessarily mean getting started on your work emails early- although it can.
It may also be doing some light meal prep for dinner that night, tidying up, or working on a DIY project you usually don’t get around to during the day.
If being productive in the morning is your jam, even one extra hour can make a huge difference when accumulated over time.
If you find yourself fighting through your mornings and feeling fatigued and ill-prepared for the day, the key to changing this lies in the very first hours of your day.
Adopting a morning philosophy is a simple approach to conquering your mornings- once you decide how you want to feel, it's easy to slowly incorporate activities that bring this feeling to life.
I hope this post is helpful to anyone who has Googled ‘healthy morning routines’ and felt super overwhelmed/alone!
They say improving your morning can transform your life.
Who is they? Well, they could be us, if we ever leave our blanket burritos, that is.
Good luck to us both!
What is your ideal morning philosophy and one idea you have to achieve it?
Leave a comment below or flip me an email, you know I would love to hear from you!
Until next time!