We've all heard somebody (maybe ourselves) say, "I'm not a morning person." For many of us, however, being awake and active in the morning is still a necessity because of our work, school, or home life. Here are a few things I recommend for improving your experience in the mornings.
1) Write yourself a morning routine:
It's much easier to navigate the first activities of the day when they are pre-determined. I recommend writing down every single step you do in your morning routine in the order you want to accomplish it. For example, my morning always begins with walking to the kitchen to make coffee, then brushing my teeth. While coffee is brewing, I tidy up around the living areas and kitchen. This is my routine every day, regardless of the day. Write down your routine, then put it somewhere you will see when you wake up.
2) Choose your clothes the night before.
Especially for women, the process of selecting an outfit can be a time and energy suck in the morning. Worse, it uses up important decision making power that would be better spent on more important tasks! Combat this by selecting and setting out your outfit the night before. Other things you can prep the night before can include lunches, packing your work or school bag, and putting any errand-related items in your car so you don't forget them (library books to return, recycling, packages for post office, items to return to a store).
3) Get enough sleep the night before.
A good morning is created the night before. Getting a good night's sleep (AKA 7-9 hours of uninterrupted snooze time) will set you up for your best chances of feeling rested, alert, and energized the next morning. You can read more about tips for getting a good night's rest here.
4) Practice Gratitude
One of the best ways to break the spiral of negative or stressful thoughts in the morning is by practicing gratitude. Here's a simple exercise: Find some paper and a pen (I use a journal) and make a list of ten things that you are grateful for this morning. Try starting with the basics (I'm grateful to a bed to sleep in) and then see how specific your thoughts can become with moments, relationships, and opportunities you're grateful for.
5) Put yourself before the day's demands.
I recommend waking up about an hour before you actually have to be up to allow yourself time to take care of you. This could include eating a healthy breakfast, sipping tea in your favorite chair, writing in a journal, coloring in an adult coloring book or other creative hobby, reading your favorite magazine, doing yoga, or creating a playlist of new music you want to listen to on your commute to work.
Esther Craven, MT-BC is a board certified music therapist, and the founder and CEO of North Star Therapy. She is passionate about using music to help young adults who are struggling with their mental health so that they can level up in life, be their best selves, and live well. Esther loves to solve problems and is available to hear about your challenges if you schedule a call with her by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by clicking here to schedule a call now.