Rise and Shine! 5 Steps to Make Mornings More Tolerable
Rise and shine? More like rise and whine, amiright?
If you’re not of the early bird species, I’m not here to convince you to become a morning person. There are things like circadian rhythms to consider with that! I am, however, here to convince you that there are ways we can all make the a.m. a little more tolerable, no matter what time you have to begrudgingly roll out of bed.
First, be prepared.
Tap into your inner Girl Scout. Before you go to bed every night take one minute to chicken scratch your tasks for the next day. Some big things, mostly little things, often things that you’d do whether or not you wrote them down. It helps relieve your brain of morning anxiety so you won’t wake up with “What day is it?! What do I have to do today?” mania anymore.
Blankly staring into your closet, playing the I-have-nothing-to-wear game, is no way to start a morning. Plan your outfit the night before instead. Hitting the gym first thing? Get your gear ready to go. (Or hell, sleep in your workout clothes. They’re basically pajamas anyway.) If your coffee maker is set to a timer, you know what to do.
Second, chuck your phone far, far away.
What have we become? We’re all useless without our little hand-held robots. Hate to be all broken record with every article ever written about modern society, but your phone is not a fifth limb. Before bed, banish it to another room if you can, and turn the damned thing off. All the news notifications and texts and emails will be there after you put your contacts in. Give yourself as long as possible – 15 minutes, fine, an hour, great – in the morning before turning it on.
Here’s what’s healthy in the morning: stretching, journaling, downing a glass of water (or warm water with lemon, if you want to be Goop-y), making your bed. (Am I turning into your mother?!)
Here’s what’s not healthy in the mornings: falling down an Instagram rabbit hole of Parisian photographers, seeing that Kathy from HR emailed you about those forms again, anything Trump tweeted at 3:00 a.m. – or any time of day, for that matter.
Third, choose an alarm that’s not, well, alarming.
Unless you love starting every day in a panic (you masochist!), stop using a beep-beep-beep blaring alarm. Switch to a gentler sound, something that feels like a nice electronic nudge.
I’m a big proponent of buying an actual alarm clock – that way you can turn your phone off at night (see above rant) – but if you can’t quite quit your codependent relationship with your phone, the iPhone’s bedtime sound options are straight out of a yoga playlist.
I once dated a musician who had his alarm set to spooky, goofy synth sounds he created. Every day we woke up in a fit of laughter. Now that’s an A+ way to start a day.
Fourth, make a breakfast, any breakfast.
I get it, I do. You’re busy. I’m busy. We’re all just trying our best to get here, there, everywhere and not have food on our faces. Yet every time I take five minutes – five minutes, max! – to throw some breakfast on a plate and then sit down and eat it without a screen full of unread emails or “what did he do now?” New York Times headlines in my face, I feel like I’ve discovered some giant secret to happiness.
I don’t care if you poach a couple eggs or blend a smoothie or dump some cereal into a bowl. Just sit down for a few minutes and enjoy. If you have a porch and the weather is cooperating, revel in the morning air. If you have a magazine lying around, flip through it. Your body and your mind will thank you.
Hell, I’ll thank you.
Fifth, spoil yourself.
Emily L’Ami, the founder of Bodha Modern Wellness, starts every morning by washing her hands with traditional French lavender soap. “It’s a funny little habit that I find really comforting,” she says.
You deserve your own lavender soap. Or donut. Or leather-bound journal for morning musings. Whatever little thing you need to lure yourself out of bed in the mornings, do it / buy it / use it.
Lately, first thing in the a.m., I’ve been treating myself to a spritz of rosewater. It’s refreshing, it’s relaxing and, whad’ya know, literally spraying water on your face will wake you right up. Try it.
Oprah, queen of the world, says her first thought when she wakes up is, “Oh, I’m alive. Thank you!”
You’re alive. At the very least, just for that, it’s a good morning indeed.
Megan McCarty is a writer, editor, etc.-er who has written about life, love and – shh, don’t tell her mother – s-e-x for Garance Doré, Apartment 34, Rue and more. While based in Minneapolis, she’s always ready, willing and oh-so-eager to pack a bag, board a plane and wander new streets.