Let's face it: We're not all morning people. Many of us are much more the night owl type. Or, we just find ourselves slogging through mornings every damn day.
Undoubtedly, the problem is that this world is designed for morning people. We're expected to show up for work bright and early. If we have kids, dropping them off at school is always an early-morning task (and/or they come running into our bedrooms before the sun even rises each morning). Dogs need to go out in the morning. Doctors and dentist appointments are often morning-time affairs. Flights and buses and trains often require early-morning wake-ups.
So, for all of us folks who don't thrive in the mornings, but are forced into a morning-oriented world, what to do??
It can help a whole lot to create a morning routine that is geared toward people who struggle in the mornings. Enough with the morning routines for people who are already early birds. Time for a morning routine for the wake-up-grumpy-and-groggy types.
The first important part of creating a morning routine as a non-morning person is accepting our non-morning-ness. Maybe one day you'll magically wake up and suddenly be energetic and productive in the mornings. But until then, it's best to accept the realities of grogginess.
Don't set yourself up with expectations of having a morning routine that looks like the routines of others. Allow yourself to start the day off slowly, to ease into the morning, and allow your body and brain to fully wake up.
Maybe you find that relaxing, reading, or deep-breathing in bed for a few minutes after waking up helps with the transition. Try sipping tea or hot water as a way to wake up your body. Maybe some gentle stretching, yoga, or meditation (as we'll discuss later) is an easy way to begin the day without rushing into tasks.
Whatever ends up working for you, don't force energetic and productive activities first thing. It might just end up backfiring.
Showering or taking a bath first thing in the morning can be one of the best ways to reset our bodies and start the day off right. Some folks find that it's a natural way of waking up the body if we're feeling groggy, tired, or just off. It's also the perfect way to physically warm up the body, relax the muscles, and wash off the previous night in preparation for the day ahead.
So, if you find yourself really struggling to get going, get the shower or bath running—it works (almost) every time.
Meditation is the perfect practice for sticking with the notion of starting mornings off slowly.
Try rolling out of bed straight into a meditation practice and see if it helps with easing into your day. If you're a seasoned meditator, you can guide yourself through a daily practice. If you're a meditation novice, there are countless meditation apps, YouTube videos, podcasts, and classes. Find a guided meditation to learn the basics and get started.
Meditating in the mornings can kickstart your morning routine and will also help with staying grounded, calm, and focused throughout the day.
Sunshine is one of the best and most natural ways to help our bodies wake up. With that in mind, getting outside first thing in the morning is a helpful trick for non-morning people.
Pretty much everything about getting outside in the morning can be beneficial. The sunshine works as a waker-upper, and it's also a well-known mood-booster. Sunshine for most people also just naturally feels energizing and happiness-inducing.
Getting outside has the added benefit of getting our bodies moving in the morning. Movement and exercise are excellent techniques for giving our brains and bodies energy. Just one more reason to head outside at the beginning of the day.
One of the keys to developing a morning routine as a non-morning person is starting your morning routine at night. Developing healthy and beneficial nighttime habits can transform how our mornings go.
The first component of a helpful nighttime routine is going to bed early—and going to bed at the same time each night. "Early" varies depending on the person. So do the math to figure out when you need to go to bed in order to get up at the right time and still get enough rest each night. Getting enough sleep is an enormous component of health, well-being, and happiness in general. And it's essential for creating a morning routine and having energy early in the day (and on into the afternoon and evening).
Going device-free is an oft-repeated piece of advice. But it's well worth repeating again. In the minutes or hours leading up to bedtime, stay away from phone, computer, and TV screens. This will help immensely with falling asleep quickly, staying asleep, and quality of sleep. It'll also likely help reduce stress and anxiety—ultimately a win-win.
One of the toughest things about mornings for non-morning people is that they generally just don't feel enjoyable. Mornings are a task, a chore, something to drag ourselves through, a challenge.
A great antidote to this is finding a way to turn mornings into a fun, enjoyable event.
Playing (or even blasting) some music is one of the best ways to add some fun to the start of the day. Sing along to your favorite songs; dance around your house; enjoy some happy, feel-good tunes to put you in the right mood for the day.
Adding enjoyment to the mornings can also involve treating yourself. Eat your favorite breakfast. Read some of that page-turning book. Add in a little self-care with a face mask or some candles. Try out whatever will make you feel good and whatever will actually make you want to get out of bed and spend your morning right.