Ask MCG: How do I enjoy my mornings more?

Dear Ms. Career Girl,

I hate mornings. I feel like I always start my mornings on the wrong side of the bed.  What should I do to make my mornings better?

Thanks, S.E.

Your alarm goes off at 5:30 AM.  The sun is shining through your window.  You’re feeling refreshed, energized, and ready to start your day.  You can’t help but smile as you’re getting up and stretching.  You feel GOOD, and it’s going to be a great day.

Reality: You hit snooze 5 times because the last thing you want to do is wake up.  It’s way too early to do that workout you SWORE you’d do the day before.  You force yourself to get out of bed and make some coffee that you can chug.  You feel groggy and in a bad mood.

We are all aware of the usual advice experts give us about what to do in order to have an ideal morning: get at least 8 hours of sleep a day, eat a healthy and balanced diet, work out in the morning, etc.   After years of being a night owl, becoming a morning person was no easy feat.  Through my experience, I realized that it’s not just about getting adequate amounts of sleep or being healthy (although they are VERY important factors), it’s the little things that can make a difference too.  Here are a few things that I’ve found to be very beneficial:

  1. Use a sleep app.  I use an app on my iPhone called “Sleep Time” every night.  I set my alarm through this app and it will wake me up when I am in my lightest sleep phase so I won’t wake up groggy (and it works, too!).  It also records your sleep duration, when you’re in deep or light sleep, and sleep efficiency.  All you have to do is download the app and sleep with your phone next to you on your bed.  Best of all, it’s free!
  2. Read something inspiring. One of my close friends says she reads a passage that she finds inspiring every day right after she wakes up.  It acts as a reminder of her core goals and sets her mind toward the right direction.  If you usually read the headlines in the morning, I highly recommend reading the “Pick Your Brain” articles on an app called Flipboard.  The articles all have a positive tone to them and are geared towards personal development.   Or if you’re a quotes junkie, read a few inspiring quotes to begin your day.  “You become what you surround yourself with,” and, in this case, it includes what you read and take in.
  3. Do as much as you can the night before.  How many nights have you thought of something that you needed to do and then said “I’ll just do it tomorrow”, only to wake up the next morning and completely forget?  If your tasks can be completed in a reasonable amount of time, go ahead and do it before you go to sleep.  That way, when you wake up the next morning, you won’t have to worry about forgetting or rushing.  It can eliminate excess stress and allows you to focus on yourself.
  4. Plan something exciting for the day.  Remember that feeling of excitement when you wake up on a day that you’ve been looking forward to?  Recreate that feeling by having something to look forward to everyday.  It doesn’t have to be big, like a shopping spree or vacation.  Stick with something small, like enjoying a new flavor of coffee, reading a book you’ve been wanting to read, trying out a new exercise class, or catching up with your girlfriends.  We all have something to look forward too, no matter how big or small.

Mornings should be peaceful, calm, and energizing.  They are the precious hours you have to yourself before you face the events of the day.  Starting off on the right foot can really set the tone for the rest of your day.  What do you do to make your mornings better?

Vivian Ta

Vivian is a running fanatic and founder of The Daily Runner, a website dedicated to inspire people all over the world to start running. Currently pursuing her Ph.d in Experimental Psychology at the University of Texas at Arlington, Vivian is also a certified fitness instructor. Her fitness and wellness column is featured on MCG every other Wednesday. Connect with Vivian on Twitter @dailyrunnerpage and on Facebook Facebook.

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