As someone who constantly struggles to wake up early and a perpetual snooze button presser, I envy people with an early morning routine (especially those who are up by 6am and crushing their workout) and always strived to be somewhat close to that ideal. Of course, everyone, and their circadian rhythm, is different and we have to pick and choose what would work best for each of use.
Personally, my schedule is lot more free and easy as compared to other people, especially those in an office with a 9-5 job. Thus, waking up at 6am is not entirely a must for me (and my lizard brain knows it) so thus, the snooze. After multiple defeats throughout the years, I’ve learnt that I am going to take it slow by shifting my alarm 15 minutes every week or so. I also learnt that having a reason for waking up early is absolutely essential in propelling myself out of my bed. Why do I want to wake up earlier? What do I hope to achieve in these few extra hours I’ve gained in the morning? Why do I want to achieve those goals?
While I am still not perfect with my morning routine, I’m quite pleased with how I’ve come so far. Side note, I used to be a person who can wake up at 1pm in the afternoon, don’t judge. Now, I’m usually up by 8.30am and ready to make full use of the extra hours before heading for my fitness class or work. Here are 10 things I do before it’s 10am.
1. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1..up
I love the snooze button. The affinity is strong and I’m one of those who tried the whole put your phone across the room method but I still have the magical ability to get up, snooze and fall back down onto the bed. Then, I encountered some videos of Meg Robins and her 5 second rule, which also led me to read her book. So I decided to give it a shot. Now, I use the Sleep cycle alarm and when it rings, I groggily count 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…up and I’ll sit up on my bed. My eyes may still be closed, but that movement itself is enough to give my brain that little nudge to say UP NOW.
2. Say thank you
Gratitude really does change the way I interpret all the events in my life so recently, I decided to say thank you as I wake up, for the new day, for my health, my life, the people around me etc, instead of just writing it down into my bullet journal at the end of the day. Just thanking the universe (or whoever depending on what your beliefs are) for being alive and having another day is something that helps set the right tone for the day. Trust me. I saw this quote some time back (can’t remember where) and it floats through my mind from time to time, and it goes: When I woke up this morning, someone else was taking their last breath. So many people take their life for granted, but once you start to appreciate what new chances you get every morning when you open up your eyes, your life just automatically seems better.
3. Drink a cup of water
Yes, there are health benefits to this, such as kick starting your metabolism. However, for me, I get extremely parched when I wake up in the morning. It could be the air conditioning or…. the fact that my mouth was probably wide open when I am sleeping. Is it really a good night’s sleep if you don’t drool? C’mon. Ok I kid… or am I? Drinking water also helps tremendously in waking me up.
4. Brush my teeth and wash my face
Because, personal hygiene. I generally prefer to use a lighter and gentler facial cleanser in the mornings and currently, I am using the Pixi Beauty Rose Cream Cleanser and really like it. The scent is not too overpowering and it is a really gentle cleanser to remove any oil and dirt build up from the night without striping the skin of its natural moisture.
5. Eat breakfast
I have to eat in the mornings or it just wouldn’t feel right. I found that prepping my breakfast the night before helped tremendously, especially if I have an early morning. Overnight oats are my absolute favourite! It’s so versatile and you can really mix and match to your own personal preference. Currently, I am into brown sugar overnight oats. I simply add a tablespoon of unrefined cane sugar (or Demerara sugar), add a teaspoon of chia seeds, a dash of maple syrup and then my whole rolled oats. After, I simply add enough milk to cover all the oats and then stir it all up. You can also add some greek yoghurt here, as it makes it all creamy and delicious! I would usually top mine with some fruits, like bananas or strawberries, too. But really, people aren’t lying when they say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day!
My body generally feels tense, especially my back, so a little stretching session in the mornings does the trick. Sometimes I’ll follow some yin or hatha yoga videos on Youtube, while sometimes I’ll just freestyle and do some poses myself. Regardless, a downward dog, child’s pose and cat/cow are always done in the mornings to ease the tension in my back.
Another essential part of my morning routine. If I don’t do it, I feel uneasy as I feel like my brain is just racing with thoughts. I like to use the app Headspace (I’ve been using it for 4 years now) and I simply click on a meditation to follow. They have many different focuses, such as acceptance, happiness and kindness which I like as variety is the key to my continuing my practice personally. There are also tons of other guided meditations on YouTube if you are uncomfortable with paying the subscription for the app.
8. Foam roll and myofascial release
I usually do this after meditating as my back tends to feel a little strained after sitting down for a while. I bought this half foam roller from Lazada and what I like to do is to place it right beneath my shoulder blades (mid back/bra line area) and then slowly lie down on it. This usually helps to release any further tension and my back usually cracks, which feels tremendously good. Do note that I do have mild scoliosis, so I usually put the half foam roller higher up as it hurts my lower back if I put it where the arch of the back is/right in the middle. As my shoulders and neck are really tight too, I like to use two tennis balls and place them beneath me (I start right at below the neck and then slowly moving them down to the middle of the shoulder blades) while taking deep breaths. These work really well for me personally.
9. Review my tasks for the day
I love my bullet journal (BUJO) and my life has definitely improved greatly because of it. I generally am not an electronics person, so I don’t really like to rely on my phone much. Writing it all down helps me to think and remember things much better. I’ve been playing around with my BUJO layouts to see which would make me the most productive. Currently, I am writing down my top 3 tasks for the day (the most important 3 and what needs to be done for it to be a productive day) as well as other 5 mins task (such as hanging the laundry and doing some vacuuming). However, I do find that I still tend to crave more structure so I’m now playing around with the same idea, but just separating them into what is to be done before I leave the house and what I need to do when I get back. Such timing demarcations help me to mentally and physically organise my day better, and I am liking it so far.
10. Make a cup of coffee
I love me a good cup of coffee. It just brightens up my day and helps me feel ready to tackle the first task of the day.
So there it is, my 10 before 10am! I am slowly trying to inch my way earlier, so that I have more time to learn (currently I am watching French videos on Skillshare) and paint (I recently bought a new mop brush and wow, my leaves are slowly becoming on point). If you have any tips of how to wake up earlier or just want to share your morning routine with me, please feel free to drop a comment below!
What do you like to do in the mornings?