I used to always love the idea of a morning routine. I would watch hours of YouTube videos narrated by girls my age describing their AM rituals against the backdrop of boy band posters and twinkle lights. And despite being enamored with the idea of it all, I never saw that as an option for me. I was simply too busy. I woke up too late. I had a roommate I had to tiptoe around in the dark some days of the week. Morning routines weren’t for people like me.
So flash forward to this semester and feeling cripplingly tired in my lectures despite seven to eight hours of sleep each night. I knew I needed to give this whole waking up early thing a try. Here is what I’ve found works and a few tips to kick your wake-up call into high gear.
1. Shut off your alarm but don’t check your phone.
I used to begin every morning scrolling through my phone with sleepy eyes. First it began with my texts, then my emails, and then before I knew it I had spent twenty minutes scrolling through Instagram on my phone and feeling just as tired as when I woke up. Do yourself a favor and put your phone down. Don’t let it be part of your morning routine.
2. Let the light in.
I love sunshine streaming in and hearing the sounds of the outside world first thing in the morning. If I didn’t go to sleep with my window open, I’m always sure that’s one of the first things I do when I wake up. There’s something about hearing the world around you that makes you want to get up and join it.
Drinking a big glass of water is one of the best ways to wake up your body and keep up the habit of hydrating throughout your day. Coffee actually dehydrates your body, so if you know you’re going to be indulging in a cup later, water is absolutely critical to your morning routine.
4. Crack open a book.
One of my favorite parts of the morning is taking time to indulge in the book I’m currently reading (right now it’s Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert). I read just a chapter, but it definitely wakes up my brain before I get to class. This is more often than not accompanied by something warm – I’ve recently switched over from coffee to Yerba Mate!
5. Engage in a yoga flow.
I’ve become really into yoga over the past year and now having a ten-to-fifteen minute flow each morning is something I crave. I set an intention for my practice (usually gratitude or peace) and allow that intention to carry me through my day. Taking time to really listen to your body and realign with yourself makes a huge difference.
I used to take forever to get ready in the morning. Part of this was lacking appreciation for who I saw in the mirror, and part of it was trying to rush to figure out all the logistics the morning of. So, after spending many years panicking trying to find matching shoes, I’ve got it down to a science. The night before, I lay out my clothes and, if I have time (or need to), I straighten my unruly hair . Then, in the morning, all I have left to do is take ten minutes to do my makeup (bb cream, loose powder, bronzer, cream blush, brows, mascara).
More often than not, this involves mixing together some coconut milk yogurt, bee pollen, almonds, and strawberries before heading out the door to class.
So, needless to say, I understand how each minute of sleep one can get in college is precious. However, I’ve learned the hard way that this time I put towards self-care in the morning is paramount to feeling balanced and awake for the whole day.
featured image by Shop Sweet Things