I haven't always been a morning person. I used to roll out of bed 30 minutes before I had to be at class or work, feeling anxious and rushed because I hadn't given myself enough time to wake up and get mentally ready to squeeze the most out of my day. Waking up late and rushing to get ready, skipping a shower, and missing breakfast left me feeling off balance, so I eventually grew tired of always feeling stressed out and adjusted my routine to make those early hours of my day count.
Now that I know that how I spend my morning will set the tone for the rest of my day, I wake up at least two hours before I have to be anywhere. This allows me to follow a routine to feel refreshed and ready for a productive day. I know that the allure of staying in bed all morning and getting as many extra minutes of sleep as possible can be very persuasive, but I promise that creating a morning routine that gets you up out of bed and feeling good will prepare you to take on the day — follow mine and try it out.
- Stretch. As soon as I wake up, I stretch my body, doing a body scan as I lay in bed and thinking about what parts of my body feel tight or knotted, then focusing on stretching where I'm holding tension.
- Affirm. While I'm stretching, I practice morning affirmations — my favorite part of the beginning of the day — where I praise myself for all of the things that I accomplished the day before, give myself the pep-talk I need to do all of the things I have planned, and offer appreciation and love in an easy and motivational way. If you'd like to try this, I recommend drafting you affirmations in a journal or notebook and reading them to yourself until you memorize them.
- Meditate. Once I've affirmed myself, I meditate for about 20 minutes. I'm still kind of new to the world of meditation, so my mind wanders a little sometimes, but I think the whole point of the practice is forgiving yourself when that happens and allowing yourself to start over without judgement. (You can use a guided meditation app if you're a newbie like me.) There are so many health benefits to meditation, like an improvement in stress levels and anxiety (two things I struggle with) and promoting emotional health and self-awareness, which is something that always holds room for improvement.
- Shower. After my meditation, I take a shower. I used to always shower at night, so I could sleep in longer in the morning, but I realized that by doing that, I was missing out on how refreshing a morning shower can feel. I don't think there's a better way to wake up yourself than by splashing some water on your face and washing the previous day off of you. When I was in high school, I grew tired of the frantic "what should I wear?" debacle that plagued my mornings, so I started picking out outfits before I went to sleep. This not only reduces my stress level but also gives me more time for the parts of my morning routine that actually make me feel good.
- Fuel. The last part of my morning routine is eating breakfast. With a healthy breakfast, which usually consists of a fruit smoothie and some seed bread toast, I take my vitamins and drink a glass of water (or two) to get hydrated. Right after I eat my breakfast, I'll pack my lunch for the day to take to class or work.