#FridayFive: Five Improvements to Your Morning Routine

Friday Five

I’m not a morning person. I’m not even going to pretend that I am. I’ve tried so many different morning routines you wouldn’t believe. In London, there were a few consecutive weeks here and there when I jumped out of bed at 6am to go to the gym before work. I always felt so good afterwards and it really did boost my mood and productivity for the day, but after a while I missed my bed more.

One morning I even remember waking at 6am and not feeling like the gym so doing an Insanity workout in my bedroom. Before work. At 6am instead. If I was to wake up and do the same thing today, I would call the psych ward to come and take me away in a straight-jacket.

I have such a love/hate relationship with mornings. I always feel incredible when I’ve been up early and have been productive before 10am. Even just getting breakfast early, going to a 9am lecture or waking as the sun comes up makes me feel good. The hardest part is just getting out of bed. Once I’m up and active, I’m fine. It’s just the first sound of the alarm that I can’t stand.

I wrote a post back in 2016 all about how successful people do mornings, and it starts off with me saying that I am in no way, a morning person. Glad to see not much has changed in three years.

The current situation

My current morning routine goes like this (on my working days): snooze alarm every five minutes from 7.15am until 7.45am, check social media (while still in bed) until 8am, get up and make bed, straight to the bathroom to do makeup, change into clothes for the day, turn on straighteners, boil kettle for coffee, fix hair, put on shoes and coat, grab coffee and breakfast bar and out the door for 8.30am.

At the minute, it’s doing the job but I hate it. I feel like crap, don’t have time to put any effort into my appearance, don’t make time to eat breakfast (a few weeks ago I was up at 7am having poached eggs on toast before work religiously) and more often than not, forget something.

But then I think, Why should I get up any earlier? What would I do? I’m never late to work and once I have my coffee and am sat reading on the train I feel ready for the day ahead. It’s practical and it works, so why would I change it?

The below tips are ones that I (mostly) already employ myself. They work for me and although straight to the point, aren’t unrealistic. They’re small changes that you could make to improve your day.

I often read articles about morning routines and none of them ever seem practical for me. I’m just not the type of person that can meditate first thing in the morning or I’ll fall straight back to sleep again. I can’t write my thoughts and feelings down because I’m usually in a bad mood until I have my second cup of coffee. And you will not find me having a shot of apple cider vinegar, no thanks. And sorry Mark Wahlberg, but I will not be waking at 2.30am because that’s the time I’m usually heading to bed at.

1. Don’t snooze your alarm

Hard, but it’s something you should really try to do. I tried this as one of my New Year’s Resolutions and I did feel much better hopping out of bed at the first sound of my alarm, but as the year progressed, the more mentally drained I became and it takes me a good half an hour to accept the fact that I have to get out of bed.

If you’re usually a snoozer like me, I wouldn’t chance it by only having one alarm and thinking you’re going to hop out at the first sound every single morning. Have back-up alarms set just in case.

Weirdly, I’ve actually come to like snoozing my alarm and set it a little earlier so I know that when the alarm goes off, I can still sleep for an extra (constantly interrupted) fifteen minutes. But I’m going to try and get out of that habit once I finish university and try to wake at the same time every single morning – on the first alarm.

2. Hydrate before you caffeinate

I’m addicted to caffeine. You know that, I know that, the whole world knows that. I’ve been Diet Coke free for the past six weeks – I never thought I could last that long either – and I can’t say I feel much benefit because I’ve replaced the DC with copious amounts of coffee instead. I had three cups between 9am and 10am on Wednesday morning and I honestly thought I was about to have a heart attack, so I’m planning on cutting down.

The first thing you should put into your body is water. After so many hours in the land of nod, your body has been without food and without liquids. Injecting yourself with coffee first thing can’t be good for the heart, now can it? Have a bottle of water beside your bed and every morning, as soon as you wake up, try to drink as much as possible before having your coffee.

I’ve stopped drinking coffee while I’m getting ready in the morning because I don’t drink half of it before it’s time to go and it will save you a lot of time to just grab your on-the-go coffee cup before you head out the door. I recently bought a cute keep-cup from Home Bargains and it makes me feel like I’m having take-out coffee every morning on the way to work and it’s saving me a lot of pennies at the same time.

Shock horror, you don’t actually need that Starbucks medium skinny mocha every single morning, Orlagh. (Iced in the summer, obvs).

3. Have your routine down to a T

This is for the people that like their sleep (aka, me). Know how much time it takes you to get ready – from the moment you get out of bed until the second you’re ready to leave for work/uni. I can get out of bed around 7.50-8am and be out the door for 8.30am without fail. So I allow myself to sleep until that time.

Time how long it takes to do your makeup, if you need time to style your hair, dress yourself, make/eat breakfast, make coffee, open blinds, open windows, make your bed, find your keys, pack your bag – all of it. Always have a watch on or your phone beside you so you can keep a check on the time.

My mornings are quite a military operation.

4. Plan the next day’s outfit the night before

This one is an absolute life time saver. If you don’t already know what you’re going to wear for the day, you will need to add on about twenty minutes to your morning routine. Trying to find parts of the outfit, putting different pieces together, taking off and trying on and in the end, you probably won’t be happy with what you’re wearing.

Trust me, even just knowing in your head what you’re planning on wearing will save you a lot of time and stress in the morning. Better yet if you can lay the entire outfit out – including your shoes and underwear. Top marks if you can do that!

I always set out what I need the next day like my water bottle, coffee cup, book to read on the train, lanyard to get into work and keys all sit on my table ready for me to grab before I leave. It just saves a lot of time in the morning and the worst thing is not being able to find your keys in the morning, so make sure you know where they are at least.

5. Always make your bed

I don’t want to sound like your mother, but this is something I have always done, without fail. Ever since I moved away from home, from my first year to final year, I always make my bed every single morning. You’ve probably heard that, ‘A tidy desk = a tidy mind’? Well, that’s the motto I take when it comes to my bed. An unmade bed for me is a cluttered life.

Making my bed in the morning just makes me feel like I have my life together. Plus I wouldn’t be able to get into an unmade bed at night. There’s just something so wrong and uninviting about it. It only takes one minute of your day, so you should do it. And I don’t believe in the whole ‘why make your bed if you’re just going to get back into it again in a few hours?’ There’s discipline in making your bed every morning.

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