Wake up and Slow Down

Do you ever find yourself rushing in the mornings before work? Barely waking up before heading out the door and most likely forgetting something? I’ve lived most of my life like this between school and work, and it would always lead to a stressed attitude during the day. I found that it usually began with not getting enough sleep the night before and sleeping in late the following morning.

Now picture a different kind of morning, and picture it happening SLOWLY. You wake up after 7 or 8 hours of sleep, before your alarm clock goes off, feeling energized enough to crawl out of bed. You don’t look at your phone yet. You let the dog out, feed him, then take a long shower. You turn some music on and spend 30 minutes getting yourself ready. Then, you make a healthy breakfast that only takes 5 minutes. 2 Eggs, a piece of toast with avocado, a banana, and a tall glass of water. Then, you watch the Today Show for 20 minutes while you drink your coffee. You have about 15 minutes left to check your phone for emails, news, social media, weather, or to read. Finally, you head out the door for work. This is what my mornings have been like recently, and I’ve become a better person because of them.

I think it’s interesting how much people love sleep but don’t make it a priority. The blame is put on not having enough time when really time is just an excuse. Checking social media, watching tv, and eating have all taken priority over sleep so much that it can be a  hard thing to notice in ourselves. A lot of the sleep I’ve been getting lately has been due to the fact that I’ve severely cut down how much I check social media a day and use the rest of my time getting stuff done.

Being a blogger, social media is important to me for sharing and influencing my readers. I’m inspired by others on social media and think it’s a great tool, but it’s also easily abused. Making sleep a priority over social media has been a game changer. I’ve hid my apps in the back of my phone so I don’t get distracted. This post isn’t about social media but rather having a well intended morning, and the best way I’ve found to do that is getting a good night’s sleep and waking up a little earlier than usual.

Let me guess the thoughts that went through your head while reading about that relaxing kind of morning I described.

“But Kelly, I have 3 kids, 2 dogs and a fish to take care of in the morning too.”

“You don’t understand, you don’t have to be at work until 9:30 and I have to be at work at 7:00.”

“I have to cook dinner, run my kids around, and do chores after they go to bed, and it’s the same thing in the morning.”

“That sounds amazing, but it’ll never happen for me.”

Even though I understand why you might come up with those excuses, I don’t feel bad for you. And that’s just what they are. Excuses. This isn’t about self pity, it’s about taking control of time. Your circumstances should not control time, especially if you ever want to start the day off right.

Do you ever roll your eyes when you hear someone say, “We all have the same 24 hours”? Me too, but there’s truth behind it. Some people who have every reason to have a rough morning still make the most out of their time.  Others sit on their phone in the morning then wonder why they’re rushing out the door. The way you handle all the different things going on in your life can make or break your productivity and stress.

What’s one thing you can give up in the morning that will make the beginning of your day more relaxing?

Don’t get me wrong. I still have mornings where I oversleep and things get crazy, but I usually pay for it the rest of the day. I used to want to spend 15 minutes reading before work in the morning, but that’s also when my puppy is running around and chewing things. Why? Because he just slept for 8 hours. This stressed me out and I would take it out on him. I realized that he’s just a puppy and spends the whole day in his crate. He needs my undivided attention in the morning. I decided to save reading for right before bed, when he’s settling down for the night. I took control of my time based on my circumstances, and when even more time consuming things come into my life I’ll do the same.

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Your ideal morning might look different than mine, but what matters is that you set your intentions during the first couple hours of your day. These are a few ways I make it happen:

I stopped hitting the snooze button

If you go to bed 7-8 hours before you have to wake up, you’ll most likely wake up before your alarm anyway. There’s nothing more annoying than waking up to the same sound before you’re ready. iPhones try to make it more pleasant by adding wind chimes as an alarm tone, but when you hear that every morning you start associating wind chimes with “Ah shit, I have to get up now.” When you’re able to wake up naturally, it feels amazing. If you start going to bed around the same time every night (at least during the week) your body will start waking up around the same time!

I give myself 2 hours in the morning before work

Preparing the night before by putting your outfit out, having your work bag packed, and getting to bed 7-8 hours before you have to wake up helps a lot in the morning. The less choices you have to make in the morning, the less stressed you’ll feel.

I stopped looking at a screen for an hour before bed

I used to think this was an unrealistic thing to try, but since trying it I’ve gotten better sleep and woken up feeling a lot more energized. People wonder why they sleep like crap and it’s because they don’t power down their brains before bed. Take a bath, read a book, talk to someone you live with, snuggle, make a to-do list for the next day, empty the dishwasher. There are a million things you could do before bed that’ll guarantee a good night sleep.

Imagine how much better your day would be if it would just start off right. A lot of people base how their day was based on how it started, so setting intended time in the morning is important. Set a positive mindset and be grateful for the fact that you woke up to a brand new day. It’s a gift.

-Kel

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