So, I guess this is part two of a series. My intention wasn’t to write a series, but I recently wrote and released an article about the importance of a night-time routine, and if you haven’t already, make sure to give that a read. Anywho, back to the subject at hand: a morning routine. I have never been a morning person, I’m still not one, and I can’t envision myself ever truly becoming real friends with the AM. All of that aside, I am up almost everyday at 5am. And like I said, even though I don’t see myself as a true morning person, I have made great strides to become more adept at getting up early and starting my day with a purpose because I’ve actively worked at it. It takes time, discipline and a whole lot of coffee! Haha, I’m joking, kinda. No but seriously, you can mold yourself into someone who gets up every morning with intention and energy if you work at it. Here are some ideas to help make your alarm clock less of an enemy.
- Make your bed. This is a small but powerful act. It gives a sense of accomplishment within minutes of getting out of bed. And even though it may seem small, it is still an act that you can build momentum off of. It also makes your bedroom look better!
- Light exposure. I briefly touched on this in my previous article, but getting some direct sunlight first thing in the morning is essential to your 24-hour circadian rhythm. And just so we’re all on the same page, your circadian rhythm is the daily cycle that your mind and body adhere to with regards to many things, one of which is the hormone release that governs when you feel sleepy and when you feel awake. You can help to solidify your circadian rhythm by exposing yourself to sunlight in the morning and decreasing your exposure to light as you get closer to bedtime.
- Cold exposure. This is the favorite part of my morning routine. I don’t have a cold plunge, so I just use my shower, but getting doused in some very cold water does wonders to wake you up and help you feel more alert, gives a boost to your immune system, and helps with inflammation. This takes some time to get used to, and a good strategy to employ is starting with a warmer shower and then hitting yourself with 30-40 sec of cold water at the end. Gradually increase your exposure to the cold water with each shower until you get to a point where you no longer need the warm water. The one warning I will give in regards to cold exposure is that you want to confine it to the morning. Taking a cold shower at night may adversely affect your sleep.
- Reflection/meditation/mindfulness. This will look different from person to person. Meditation is a great way to start the morning with a purpose. There’s also journaling, breath meditation, drawing, going for a walk, or anything else you can think of. The key here is to prepare your mindset for the day ahead. Envisioning your day and the things that you want to accomplish can help to make your day more productive. It can also be a time to think of problems that may arise and ways to solve those problems. You can’t predict the future, but you can prepare for it. Make the most of this time to be honest with yourself.
- Coffee. I’m not telling you that you need to start drinking coffee if you don’t already. But for those of you who do drink coffee I have a couple thoughts that may help. Make sure that your caffeine intake is not too high. It is recommended that the average person take in 400mg of caffeine a day or less. This is a general guideline, so you will have to adjust for your personal stipulations. Also, you want to avoid taking in caffeine right when you wake up. This will help alleviate the afternoon crash that can occur when taking in caffeine too quickly after waking up. A general rule is to wait 60-90 minutes after waking up to start consuming caffeine.
The importance of a morning routine cannot be understated. It helps wake you up, prepares you for the day, and gives you a sense of accomplishment right from the jump. Like anything that you want to turn into a habit, it takes time and consistency, but the reward of starting your day with a purpose is paramount to having a good and productive day! So let’s get out of bed and start the day!