Even if you aren’t a morning person, you still have a morning routine. It could be as simple as a sipping cup of coffee or enjoying a hot shower when you wake up, or as complicated as an hour-long workout followed by a very specific breakfast. Either way, we've all formed certain bleary-eyed habits by now. Some are more conducive to feeling good for the rest of the day than others, of course, and these five habits will go a long way toward making your mornings more enjoyable and productive.
Skip the Snooze Button
As tempting as it can be to get a few more minutes of sleep, there’s something to be said for waking up as soon as your alarm goes off. That’s easier said than done for many of us, but hitting the snooze button once can easily turn into hitting it two or three times, giving you less time to start your morning routine without actually helping you feel more rested. Waking up and falling back asleep every five or 10 minutes isn’t exactly restful, and having to rush through the shower, breakfast, and everything else you do before starting your day
Start a Dream Journal
While it may be all but impossible to understand the exact meaning of a given dream, especially if you’re the type of person who has especially strange and/or vivid ones, it’s possible to track patterns over time. Unless you’re keeping a dream journal, you’ll probably forget most of the details that could shed some light on what’s going on in your unconscious mind. Plenty of sleep experts recommend starting a dream journal, both as a way of centering yourself in the morning and coming to a better understanding of what’s truly going on up there.
Eat the Frog
According to a famous quote attributed to (but probably not actually spoken by) Mark Twain, “If the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long.” Put in simpler (and less gross) terms, get your most difficult task out of the way as early as possible so that it doesn’t hang over your head all day and you know, even on an off day, that you accomplished something. What that task is is up to you — if you work from home and are prone to being sedentary, maybe it simply means working out shortly after waking up rather than waiting until the evening. The truly important thing is to start your day with a feeling of accomplishment rather than procrastinating for as long as possible.
Play a Brain Game
The morning is, in many ways, a time of transition — from sleep to wakefulness, from yesterday to today. How you make that transition sets the tone for the rest of the day, and for some of that effort is hampered by the usual brain fog that comes from still feeling half-asleep. A great way to clear that fog is with a brain game: sudoku, Wordle, a crossword, or anything else mentally stimulating that will get the gears turning and help you wake up.
If you’ve never meditated before, it can sound like a strange practice. How do you actually think about nothing, and doesn’t it seem certain people enjoy telling others about it more than they actually enjoy doing it? But meditation is popular the world over for a reason, and first thing in the morning is an especially good time for it. If caffeine doesn’t have much of an effect on you and you’d like to be more alert and energized when you wake up, try a quick meditation and see how much better you feel — you might be pleasantly surprised by the results.
Featured Image Credit: Oscar Wong/ Moment via Getty Images