Starting your morning off with the wrong tone can really put a negative spin in the rest of your day! For the last 12 months my morning routine has been a complete miss! I went from enjoying a cup of coffee and a good breakfast, to running out the door and doing my makeup in the car on the way to work.
If you are like me, your morning routine consists of snoozing your alarm 5+ times, starring at your closet for 15 minutes trying to figure out what to wear, and then throwing your packed lunch into a bag as you run out the door later than desired. The stress I put my mind through first thing in the morning often leaves me feeling a little more moody and a little less friendly. What has been my excuse? “I’m too busy … I’m too tried … I didn’t sleep well”. They are valid reasons to snooze and feel moody, but they all point to one thing: a lack in priority setting and organization. Yes I have a busy work schedule, yes I do not sleep well, but I also choose to waste time on pointless activities (ie. a few minutes too many on social media) instead of spending those minutes preparing myself for the following day.
My favourite part of days off or being home alone is the freedom I have to complete activities at my own pace. I love waking up rested, not feeling rushed, and relaxing with a warm drink (or smoothie) before I start house chores or run errands. These type of mornings do not come by often, but when they do they leave me feeling refreshed and stable! I sometimes find myself wishing every morning was that relaxed, and lately I have desired that more than ever. So guess what I did last week? I MADE A CHANGE! Actually, I made several changes.
Are you desiring a less stressful morning routine? Read my tips below!
1. Put the phone down (disclaimer: I am still working on this one)
Five minutes on Instagram leads to an hour on Youtube. I get it. The little hand-held device is sneaky and addictive!
When I get tired of the blue hue hurting my eyes, I put the nighttime filter on instead of putting the phone down. If I lie in bed and do not fall asleep within 10 minutes, I grab my phone again to keep occupied. It is an ugly cycle! The same happens when I wake up; I grab my phone to check messages or the weather (*coughs* or social media) before I am even 100% awake! Not picking up the phone at first craving will allow your mind to focus on the task at hand and feel more present.
2. Pick your outfit the night before
I am so indecisive when it comes to my outfits! I miss the days when the hardest decision was what colour of scrubs I would wear. I have a bit of flexibility in my outfit choices with my current positions, and this wee freedom is giving me a run for my sanity! I want to look casual but also professional. I want to be able to move but not look too sporty. I want to keep warm but not look bulky with layers. I want to be wear office attire but be comfortable on my feet all day. I kid you not, there have been mornings where my closet floor becomes a sea of clothing as I try on outfit after outfit! I now begin to visualize the outfit for the next day as I am getting ready for bed. It is not the perfect solution (my goal is to put the complete outfit aside), but it has sped up my routine and kept my closet floor pretty clean.
3. Pack your lunch
This is something Anth and I are really good at … most days. When we cook dinner we make enough for four meals so that we have lunch ready and packed the following day. This fall I had four days where I would work additional evening shifts, so I would go to work with two packed meals and a snack. This has saved us stress in the morning, given us healthy meals to consume, and saved us money ($10 lunches 5x/wk add up)! On days we get home late and I have zero desire to pack lunch, I remind myself that I will likely have even less of a desire at 6am, and I make sure there is some sort of meal ready for us. Okay fine, sometimes I use the “I worked longer hours than you today” excuse and make Anth pack us lunch. But! It is acceptable sometimes because he loves freedom in the kitchen, right?
4. The 30 minute exchange
The exchange mainly looks at what time you go to bed and at what time you wake-up at. If you know you need seven hours of sleep to feel rested and are planning to wake-up 30 minutes earlier, then you would also go to bed 30 minutes earlier. I already tend to go to bed early, and I have a suspicion I function better with six hours of sleep vs eight, so my focus has been my wake-up time. My original goal was to wake up 30 minutes earlier than I normally do, but I took a leap and decided 60 minutes was a better idea. I have been waking up at 4:45am for 6 days and I must admit I am so happy with the change! The extra hour gives me time to: do stretches or a 20 minute workout, have God time, do my hair and/or makeup at home, and feel relaxed the whole way through!
Perhaps 4:45am is crazy for you to consider – I know, it sounds wild; pick a time frame (20 minutes. 30 minutes, 60 minutes) that is manageable for you and give it a try! It is also a good idea to know what activities you want to get done in this time (ie. God time, work out) so that snoozing is a little harder! Which leads me to my next point.
5. Goodbye snooze button
Stopped snoozing! I know that button is ever tempting, but I have full faith that your will for a good morning is stronger than the button’s will to keep you in bed! Snoozing helps no one. Ten more minutes of sleep really feels like one minute, so our hope to be more refreshed and rested by the time the alarm rings again is quite unrealistic. If i really want to snooze I will literally turn the phone off (*insert fear of sleeping in and being late*) and sit on my bed for a minute or two, gently encouraging myself to get up and going. Snoozing make us late, late makes us stressed, stressed makes us unfriendly, less cautious at work, and even sick. So snoozing is evil!
However! If you cannot live without a snooze or two, set your alarm 10 minutes earlier. This way you can hit snooze once and still be on time!
6. Practice gratefulness and positive thinking:
Name a few things (3 or 5) that you are grateful for (make them different each day). If a negative thought (ie. comparison, anger, playing out arguments) enters your mind, nip it in the bud! Research studies have found that being grateful leads us to become more enthusiastic, determined, and optimistic. Those character traits are the very thing we need to overcome obstacles in our job, and get through our day without feeling completely defeated or bitter. Each morning, reflect on what you would like to achieve that day, and spend time encouraging yourself. You CAN succeed! Bad days will happen, people will be rude and irritating, but only you have control of how your mind approaches these situations. Other benefits of gratitude include a decrease in depression, anxiety, an increase in satisfaction with life, and even better sleep. So if you come home from a stressful or discouraging day at work, spend a few minutes reflecting on a few thins are are grateful for that occurred that day/shift.
7. The armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18).
By far the number one tip I can offer you! Disclaimer: I too need to be more active with this.
When my sisters and I were younger, we wrote out this passage in multi-colours and taped it our bathroom door. Every morning it was meant to be a reminder to put on the armor of God as we headed into our day. I believe in heaven and I believe in hell. I believe the devil wants to stomp around our lives destroying whatever he can gets his little hands on in order to suppress our joy and purpose. The best way we can combat that is by allowing God to step into our lives and give us that spiritual protection we cannot attain on our own. Christian or not, if interested, I challenge you to speak this verse over yourself every day for the next week, and see what a difference it makes in your life.
Did you find these tips helpful? Do you have tips that have helped you have a smoother morning? Did Ephesians 6:10-18 make a difference in your week?
Share your thoughts on a comment below!