Hey guys 🙂 Hope you’re all doing well! I thought that today I would share my morning routine which, when I actually stick to, leads me into a happier and more productive day.
Let me just start by saying that, even though I wake up at 5am pretty much every day now, I AM NOT A MORNING PERSON. Until a couple of years ago, I was always the girl who would just roll out of bed, get dressed as quickly as possible and head out the door, normally late and still hazy. I LOVE sleep, my bed is my happy place and I don’t function properly on little sleep. I’ve been known to sleep through my many alarms and sleep in to the point where my parents / brother / boyfriend actually fear for my life while I’m in bed catching up on some sleep.
This used to happen a lot more in the past when I was still living with my parents and everyone would be out of the house before I was even up. However, it happened again a few months ago when I had a bad cough and didn’t manage to get much sleep during the night. My boyfriend leaves the house at 4am and I had my alarm set at 5am and my phone on silent. I slept through my FIVE alarms and since my phone was on silent, I didn’t hear the many calls I received – I’m normally at work by 7am or 7.30am at the very latest. I was asleep until 8am at which point, my mum came over to check that I was still alive and scared the hell out of me in the process.
I’ve shared all of this to express the fact that I totally understand how difficult it is to get out of bed in the morning and how unappealing waking up earlier than absolutely necessary sounds to most people – myself included. Which begs the questions, why and how do I manage to wake up at 5am daily. As most people who don’t live with their parents anymore will understands, life can be really really really busy. For a while, about three years ago, when I had just moved out of may parents’ house, I used to wake up, go to work, run a couple of errands or shop for food after, go home, cook, eat, clean up, maybe watch some TV and then go to bed. Leaving me exactly zero hours to myself.
The day to day can be really quite tedious and I started to hate it. Also, my boyfriend is very adamant about how much waking up earlier has helped him in terms of mood, productivity and effectiveness – so I thought I would try it out. After a LOT of trial and error, I’ve found my favorite way to start my day which helps me have a really positive and grateful attitude and makes me so much more productive.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I don’t do this every single day of my life and when I do, I don’t do every single step. However, when I do all of the things I’m about to mention, I do feel so much better and I find that it’s immensely helpful.
So, here goes…
Preparation really is key for me because otherwise, I’ll procrastinate and take ages to start my day, at which point, I’ll realise I don’t have time to do what I had planned on doing which leads me to just stay on my phone and check out instagram or something and just start my day that way. Which, although there’s nothing really wrong with that, I don’t like to miss out sleep for!
Step one: WATER
I start my day with a big glass of water; when I’m being really good, I add some lemon juice and apple cider vinegar to it too. Re-hydrating your body after sleep is super important; to be honest I’m a HUGE coffee fan so I just tend to switch on my (pre-prepared) coffee machine first thing. But, to remind myself to drink more water, I leave a glass and water bottle next to my coffee maker to drink up while the coffee is being brewed.
Step two: STRETCHING
I’m a big fan of movement, especially first thing in the morning – It really helps release some good energy and to just set your day into motion. During warmer months, I normally go out for a 30 minute walk with my mum. Right now, because it’s cold (I know it’s not REALLY very cold but at 5am, even in Malta, it’s a bit too chilly for me), I roll out my mat and do some light yoga. Now, I don’t really go to yoga class anymore, even though I love it, because the day only allows for so many things – time is always an issue and for me feeling stretched too thin or feeling like I HAVE TO do something is a big NO-NO.
Again, I don’t do this daily, but I try to because I feel the immense benefit of it immediately. To get myself to actually do it, I roll out my mat the night before – If I see it first thing in the morning on my way to the kitchen, I’m more likely to do it. More importantly, I allow myself to do just a couple of minutes if I’m not in the mood or just pressed for time. I just sit on my mat, do a couple of quick stretches and some deep breathing – for literally just 5 minutes – and get to my day when I’m not in the mood for much else. Some days, I do a 30 minute yoga session (just from what I remember from class and what feels good to me) and do a 10 minute meditation afterwards. WHICH IS AWESOME – but if I’m being honest, happens maybe once to twice a week and is not realistic for me to do daily. Having said that, a five minute stretch and a couple of deep breaths is still very helpful and effective for me and takes very little effort.
Step three: COFFEE
You didn’t think I wouldn’t mention my favorite part of waking up now, did you? I prep my coffee maker, which also has a warmer at the bottom, the night before and switch it on to brew before I do anything else. I have my first cup of the day after I stretch and sit down to enjoy it. Just for five minutes really but that’s something I really do enjoy. I make two cups worth of coffee and normally take the second cup with me in a to-go cup on my way to work. Which is great because, a. I get my second coffee fix and b. I have a reusable cup with me to fill up on the go because, most days, I’m out and about all day for work and I can stop by at a coffee shop and get a re-fill without having to drink out of a paper cup and a plastic top which is not sustainable for the environment – unnecessary waste – and drinking hot liquid out of plastic lid is not ideal health-wise either. Now, I’m not perfect and I do forget my cup some days which means I will use a one-time-use to-go coffee cup sometimes, but I try to avoid it as much as I can.
While I’m having my coffee, my new favorite thing to do is read a quote or short story from a Mindfulness book I received as a Christmas gift – it takes a minute or two but puts me in a wonderful mindset for the day. Other days, I plan out my day in my diary – yes in this digital age I still use an old school diary. In it, I write down things I’d like to accomplish throughout my day and the act of crossing each one off after I’m done is immensely satisfying for me. Be it work things, appointments, calls I have to make, errands I have to run – whatever it is – I find it very helpful.
Step four: BREAKFAST
Breakfast foods have always been my favorite foods, however, if I’m being totally honest, I don’t normally have breakfast at home first thing in the morning. I listen to my body and when I wake up hungry, I’ll eat, normally just some yoghurt and fruit or some cooked oats. When I don’t, which is now most days because my body seems to have gotten into a routine, I grab something which I’d have prepared beforehand, like some banana bites; recipe here https://holisticnutritionninja.blog/2019/01/08/breakfast-banana-bites/ or a couple of oat balls; recipe here https://holisticnutritionninja.blog/2018/11/12/no-bake-oat-energy-balls/ , pop them in my bag and that’s that.
Step five: HEAD OUT
Finally, about an hour and half after waking up, I’ll head out to work. I have a shower, get dressed, grab my (many) bags, grab my to-go coffee and head out. Again, preparation is key for me here too. If I have a gym session, I’ll pack my bag the night before and if I’m being really efficient, I’ll also lay out the clothes I’m going to wear – one less thing to worry about in the morning. Also, my work bag is always prepared; it doesn’t really change much day to day so that’s just an easy thing to check every night and grab before I leave.
These are not things I do every single day because there are days when I can’t get out of bed until 30 minutes after my alarm and I don’t have the time, or I’m simply not in the mood. I’m FINALLY a strong believer in not forcing myself to do ANYTHING. I tend to be an all or nothing kind of person but if my own history has thought me anything at all, it’s that when I force myself to stick to a strict routine or work out regiment or diet or whatever it is, it’s not feasible or realistic for me. So, I try to do some of this and feel better for it. Some days, like today, I do it all and feel great, other days I’m exhausted and don’t feel like doing much, so I don’t.
Striving for perfection is futile, however, striving for balance and improvement, even if it’s just having a big glass of water or simply laying out my clothes the night before to avoid feeling rushed in the morning, is really helpful, at least for me.
Have you implemented a morning routine that you find helpful? If you’re curious about whether or not any of the steps I’ve mentioned would be helpful to you, I strongly recommend trying out one or two things at a time and monitoring how you feel. Maybe wake up just 30 minutes before you normally do and give yourself some time to enjoy your morning coffee or lay out your clothes the night before and give yourself time for a 10 minute stretch before getting to your day.
If you do try any of these steps out, or have suggestions, let me know in the comments below 🙂
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Sarah’s Healthy Eats – @holisticnutritionninja
Thank you for taking the time to be here and read this ❤
Until my next post, be well xXx <
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