Getting out of bed has always been
one of my biggest downfall. My entire K-12 career was characterized by missed busses, truency threats, and the “accidental over-sleep” incident. After high school, I realized that mornings don’t ALWAYS have to be bad. This is also a side effect of being married to a morning person. When we moved in together I was actually worried that he might expect me to wake up early for the mere enjoyment of it. This meant no more pretending I was “too busy” to answer his phone calls in the morning… YES, I SLEPT TILL NOON – GET OVER IT. Finding a way to meet in the middle became necessary. Young and in love, I figured it was worth a shot. It’s been a year or two, and I’m finally making progress.
Long story, short – here is how I learned to start my day instead of dreading it:
1. Go to bed at a decent time.
What?! Who knew? If you turn off your lights, put down your phone, close your eyes and fall asleep at a reasonable time, you actually have a chance of waking up not tired. I had to share a bed with a morning person to learn this valuable life lesson, but I am here to tell YOU that its not too late. Seriously, it’s all about pattern. Go to sleep early like old people, and wake up early like old people. And guess what? ITS GREAT! The day is so much longer! This brings me to wonder how much day light I have missed by over-sleeping. Also, I’ve read that morning people are usually happier people. No wonder I’ve been grumpy all these years.
2. Name 5 things you are GRATEFUL for.
It’s easy to wake up grudgingly, spiting the day for dragging you out of your warm, cozy bed… But don’t. When you start your day off thinking about your hatred for structured society, you are choosing to have a bad day. Before you get out of bed, spend a minute or two reflecting on reasons why you are happy to be alive. My best friend, A.V., tattooed her finger “PSALM 118:24” as a friendly reminder that “this is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Family, friends, fur babies, job, school (just kidding), sunshine – you name it. If you are grateful for it, just spend some time reveling in it and you will most likely have a more positive outlook on your entire day.
3. DRINK COFFEE.
This one is obvious. Most of you have already discovered the magic of one, two… maybe five or six cups of coffee in the morning. But did you know there are a bunch of studies that prove there are more benefits to the warm, magic potion than just kickstarting your day? Rumor has it that people who drink coffee in the morning are generally healthier AND happier. I like to call them the “mug-half-full” kind of people. Moral of the story, drinking coffee is fun, delicious, and not as unhealthy as you thought.
4. Spend time with God.
Whether it’s listening to the Christian channel on your way to work, reading a daily prayer book before breakfast, or praying in the shower, make time for Him. You can even double/triple up on this one: Name the things you’re grateful for, drink your morning coffee, pray, make it as relaxing and peaceful as you can. I don’t know anything that can get rid of negativity and inspire the way God can. Morning is one of the best times to spend with God because you carry that spiritual lightness with you all day long. You may find yourself letting another car in front of you instead of laying on the horn and flicking someone off. It’s all about consistency and when you start a routine with God in the morning, you change your every day life.
5. Exercise. JUST DO IT.
This is where the excuses really start flowing. No matter how early you have to get up, or how tired you are, or how lazy God made you (or me), just do something to get your blood pumpin’. This is the hardest part of my morning ritual, so I started with baby steps: Walking to the mailbox. It doesn’t seem like much (unless you live in Minnesota and it’s winter time) but just getting fresh air and walking up those apartment staircases can be so demanding. I’ve currently upgraded to taking the pups on a multi-block walk (most of the time in my pajamas) and it feels great. In the first twenty minutes of waking up I feel like I’ve already accomplished something and burned some calories at the same time. I’m also much more inclined to choose a nutribullet smoothie for breakfast instead of Cocoa Puffs.
6. Smile at the first person you see.
Smiling is contagious. This is where you can see the effects of your new morning routine in action. Being judgmental and grumpy can be quite habitual, but putting your NFFF (nice foot forward first) is the best way to inspire yourself and others to have a better morning/day. A simple smile can mean a lot. I can think of many times when a stranger smiled at me instead of avoiding eye contact and it really made a difference in my day. I found myself smiling at others, hoping it makes them feel as good as it did for me. Every once in awhile you’ll get that why-are-you-in-such-a-good-mood? face. They probably just forgot their coffee (“mug-half-empty” kind of people). Watch out for them.