Have you ever woken up to the tune (or beeps) of your alarm and had to think for a minute to remember which day of the week it is? And then you groan, as everything comes flooding back to you and you remember what you have to do during the day. And you push your face into your pillow, half wondering if somehow you could get really sick today so that you can cancel on all your responsibilities – apologetically, of course.
Yeah, me too.
Some days, it’s just hard to roll out from under the blanket and greet the day, hard as we may try. Some days, we exit our beds already thinking negatively about what’s going to happen and what we have to do, putting ourselves in a bad mood before we even burn breakfast.
I often have a hard time making myself get up to face another day, but here are a four things that help me in my quest to not hate the sound of my alarm so much. Maybe they’ll help you too.
1. Wash your face.
Purpose: Start your day refreshed.
This step is about feeling clean inside and out first thing in the morning. For me, that means washing my face, drinking a cup of cold water, and getting dressed. It could also mean taking a shower, brushing your teeth, or whatever makes you feel fresh and awake.
Often, when we pull ourselves from our beds, we wander through the house with that gross taste in our mouths and blinking hard to see through the crust in our eyes. We feel kind of bleh. Making yourself feel clean first thing in the morning makes anything else a little easier to face. We feel more put together and ready to do whatever comes next.
By the way, this step also includes making your bed. Not to sound like your mother, but a made bed really can make your room feel more orderly and it’s a nice thing to come home to at the end of the day.
2. Pour that coffee.
Purpose: Start your day relaxed.
I drink coffee every day and it’s something that I look forward to. Having a cup of something hot and caffeinated relaxes me and makes the morning feel more gentle. Find something small that can soothe you first thing in the morning, when you’re still in that squinty I-can’t-see-anything phase of waking up. It could be coffee or tea. Maybe it’s a warm robe that you like to wear for a few minutes. Just pick something simple and give it a try. If it doesn’t work, try something else.
If you start off your day with something that calms you, you can refocus and think through the day without that obnoxious song that you thought would make a good alarm blaring in your ears. This step really is about collecting yourself and taking care of yourself before you enter into all the crazy that you know is coming next.
Purpose: Start your day with a focus on God.
For me, this step also includes reading my Bible, working on my memorization, and reading a theology/spiritual life book. I know that’s a lot of stuff, but that’s what gets me focused on God for the day. You don’t have to do all these different things first thing in the morning. That might not be a good time for you (I used to fall asleep with my Bible open on my lap every morning). But I would encourage you to at least pray for a few minutes.
Take this time to praise God and to pour out your heart to Him. You’re not here to impress anybody, so don’t pray like it. Tell Him what worries you have about the coming day, pray for friends and family, and just be with Him for a while. It sets a new tone for the day and really centers you at the very beginning.
4. Read and write.
Purpose: Start your day with something you enjoy doing.
After I read my Bible and pray and all that, I write. In fact, I’m writing this as part of my morning routine. I chose writing as the thing I want to spend some time on in the mornings because it’s something I enjoy and I don’t really do it at other times of the day if I don’t do it first thing. Some days I blog and some days I outline. Soon, I’ll replace outlining with writing The Fiction.
For this part of your morning, pick something you like to do, but don’t really make time for the rest of the day. You could read a book, walk the dog, cook a nice breakfast, workout (I’ll do this once the temperatures rise above freezing in Virginia), or whatever else you like to do. Again, this allows you to focus and think before the day begins, setting you up to have a good outlook on whatever you have planned for the day. Plus, it’s something to look forward to first thing in the morning.
The collective purpose of these four things to do first thing in the morning is to start the day off in a way that doesn’t leave you smothering yourself with a pillow at 6am. If you build a routine that you actually enjoy first thing in the morning, you will be ready for the rest of the day. You will feel good because you took care of yourself and spent some time breathing before running off to work or class.
I would also encourage you to get up a little earlier if you don’t already do so. Give yourself the time you need to do the routine you build for yourself, even if that means rising before the sun and going to bed when the ten year old does. They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it prepares your body for whatever comes next. Your morning routine is arguably the most important time of the day because it prepares you as a whole for the rest of the day.
So maybe try adding one thing in the morning that makes you smile – once you’ve remembered what day of the week it is of course. It’ll make dragging yourself from bed just a little bit easier.
What does your morning routine look like right now?
Is there anything you want to add or take away from it?