I love mornings. It’s always been my favorite time of day, and I look forward to having some time to myself before jumping into things. Even so, I definitely have some mornings that start off better than others. Here are a few things that I’ve found make a drastic difference to how well (or terribly) my day begins.
This post is the first installment in a new series I’m starting where I’ll talk through different strategies and tips to simplify (and enjoy) different areas of life. I’d love to know what area you want to see “simplified” next! Vote here for next week’s post!
How to Have a Happier, Simpler Morning
1. Establish a consistent wake-up time – even on weekends.
For better or for worse (and by that I mean, for eight hours of sleep or three), I wake up pretty consistently between 6:30 and 7:30 AM every morning. I occasionally manage to sleep in until 8 on weekends, but otherwise that’s my happy hour. I’ve found that keeping a consistent schedule makes it much easier to wake up, and I feel alert immediately rather than feeling groggy. It takes some time to get used to, but it is so worth it.
2. Pack and lay everything out the night before.
If you can zombie-sleepwalk out the door, then you’re packing things correctly (not that you’ll need to be a zombie once you get your wake-up time down!). My easiest mornings are the ones where I can roll out of bed, drain the glass of water I put out on my nightstand, zip straight into my workout clothes, and grab my bag on the way out the door (knowing it’s fully stocked with my outfit and shower essentials). Think through your morning routine, and try to pack or arrange everything that you can in advance – even down to the littlest details. Some easy things to try: filling your water bottle, lining up your morning skincare and beauty products, packing any room temp snacks, stocking your work bag, and dropping your keys next to the door.
3. Know exactly how you want your morning to look before you go to sleep.
Think of this as visualizing your best morning, and then making it happen. What time do you need to leave? Is there someone you need to call during your morning walk or commute? What are you having for breakfast? These are all decisions that you can make ahead of time to simplify your thinking and process in the AM.
4. Be calm.
The other morning, I was running between my kitchen and my bathroom when I slipped and completely wiped out on the hardwood floors. The crazy thing was, I wasn’t even late! I just had woken up later than I expected, and I was rushing as a result. The reality is that running or rushing won’t actually save you much time, but it will make you feel much more unsettled and unprepared (and bruised). Just walk it out, and remember that a minute of time isn’t worth throwing your entire morning out of whack. (Unless you’re catching the only train, in which case, feel free to chase after that minute.)
5. Have a consistent breakfast or two that you always rely on – and sit down at the table to eat it.
Breakfast has always been sacred time for me. No matter what country I was in when I was traveling, I tried to find a consistent meal that I knew would keep me full and happy, and made a point to enjoy it every morning. Now that I’m home and have access to a kitchen again, it’s super easy to always keep the same ingredients on hand for the breakfast of the moment. Right now, my go-to is two eggs scrambled with a halved avocado, garlicky black beans, and a little cheese. I like to sit down to the table to eat it without any electronics in hand, and I use that time to reflect on the day ahead and identify what I’m most looking forward to.
Bonus: As a rule, minimize morning decision-making wherever possible.
Black shoes or gray? Bus or walk? Toast or muffin? Decide ahead of time and you’ll find yourself feeling energized rather than drained by the time you get out the door.
I hope you find these tips helpful in simplifying your morning routine and making your days just a little bit easier.
Even if you can’t do everything at once, start with one thing and go from there – maybe it means eating your breakfast bagel at the cafe rather than gulping it down on your commute, or getting up at the same time all week (even if you could sleep in a teeny bit later on one day!).
Little changes make all the difference!
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