These days I bounce out of bed, at 4:30am. I kiss my fiance, wash my face, down some kombucha & coffee and head into work.
I never used to be an early riser, I used to love sleeping, slowly rising while the sun peaked through the blinds…until I chose a career that required me to get up at 4am. The sun is NEVER up at 4am. It’s still night-time at 4am. The body does not naturally wake up at that time. EVER.
I used to get so angry when my alarm went off at 3:55am, I would hit snooze 2-3 times before angrily rising, cursing myself for choosing such a career. That continued for a few months, until I learned behaviours that set me up for an awesome sleep, and an easier rising. Setting yourself up the day before is THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP.
Here are a few things I do every day which I find contribute to feeling fresh and vibrant the next morning:
- Drink 2-3L of water
- Exercise or move daily at least 10,000 steps
- Take a good magnesium supplement before bed
- Limit refined sugars & alcohol (super important on weekdays)
- Make sure I am in my bedroom 8-9 hours before I need to wake up
- No bright lights (warm bedside lamp only) 10-30 mins before bed
I also find that certain routines in the morning will also set me up for a great morning at work. I start work at 5:30am. I make sure I wake an hour before I start so that I am completely awake and alert. Here are my tips for a better morning routine:
- Get up earlier. Having more time in the morning means you can calmly get up and get ready without the unnecessary stress and rush. Scenario one: 3rd alarm goes off, sit up in a fright realising you only have 20 minutes to get ready and leave for work. Quickest shower, sloshing water over the necessary bits, quick brush of the teeth, scramble around for clean clothes, throw your hair up, grab your work bag and head out the door, doing your make-up in the car or on the bus. No time for breakfast. Buy a coffee and a toastie on the way to work. Adrenalin and cortisol (stress) pumping from the second you wake up. Scenario two: Alarm goes off and you wake feeling bright and alive. Bounce out of bed excited for breakfast. Take a cold shower for 30 seconds to get the blood pumping, before turning to warm water for a nice warming lather up. Time to wash the hair, time to add a hair mask, floss the teeth, brush your teeth, put on moisturiser. Calmly get ready for work while sipping on your morning coffee, grateful for the calmness you feel today. Then sit down to a nutritious breakfast, before bounding out the door to take on your day. Which of these scenarios appeal to you? I know which one I prefer.
- Practice Gratitude. I have a reminder set on my phone to go off at 5am, 3 times per week. This reminder will buzz at me while I am getting ready for work, and it simply asks: What are you grateful for today? Somedays I can only manage to be grateful for my coffee, and other days I delve deeper into my gratitude for my family, life events etc. I have found that by practicing gratefulness for 1 minute in my mornings really helps to set my mindset for the day.
- Coffee. Big one for anyone who struggles to talk to people in the morning. Make a cup, chill out for 10mins (not on your phone). Be in the moment.
- Play music. Pump on some beats that make you smile,sing or bop. If you aren’t into music maybe put on a podcast and learn something while you are getting ready/driving to work.
- No Social Media. Try not to look at social media, emails, TV or messages until you have been awake for at least 30 minutes. Say good morning to your spouse, dog, family or housemates first.
- Don’t press snooze. Ok so this is a hard one for me too. You always think that extra 5-10 minutes is going to make you feel so much better, but once you are in the habit of getting up straight away, it’ll be so much easier. Why not use the extra 10 minutes to set your day up? Have the time to actually eat breakfast, make your lunch, put a load of washing on, read an extra page in your book. Once I tried to see how much stuff I could get done in the 90 seconds it took to cook my oats in the microwave. I unstacked the dishwasher, wiped the benches & got my lunch out of the fridge. Man, you can get alot done in 90 seconds, imagine how much you can do in the extra 10 minutes!
- Exercise in the morning. Go for a walk, lift some weights, practice yoga or whatever activity you enjoy. Get the body moving, it will thank you for it by releasing happy endorphins.
If you hate the mornings, and aren’t trying any of this, give it a go, I would love to know if you can turn it around.