A few weeks ago, I played with the Bedtime function on my iPhone and began waking to the most gentle morning alarm. The sound beats the alarm function on my phone which is a bit harsh, and is infinitely better than the old school clocks we used to keep by our beds (BEEP!, BEEP!, BEEP!). Still no alarm can be more jarring that the sound of a baby up before me, amiright mamas? Knowing I have been beaten to the punch by a toddler who is not going back to sleep anytime soon can throw off my whole day. When I don’t get time to myself in the mornings to sip my coffee, enjoy the quiet and read in peace, I fight impatience and moodiness for hours. You too? Let’s get ahead of our babies, our work, and our social media this year, ladies. Let’s claim our mornings back for ourselves. Here are three morning tips that can improve your entire day:
Put things in order the night before. I am a cleaner—somewhat obsessively—and cannot rest in a messy environment. If I want to set myself up for success in the morning, I have to take care of some things before I go to bed. Many of us clean our kitchens after dinner, but forget about our family’s post-meal munchies that put more dishes in our sinks and crumbs on our counters. Before you go to bed do a final sweep of your kitchen. Load the dishwasher and run it. Prep your coffee pot for the next morning. Get your living space in order, too. Fold blankets, put pillows back on the couch, do a sweep of anything left on the floor. (We put our kids’ toys in a basket by the stairs that they clean out on Saturdays).
Wake up one hour before you have to do anything for anyone. Because my household is bunch of ridiculously early risers, this rule gets me out of bed at 5 am. Similar sob story? Don’t let the early hour deter you. With an hour to myself in the mornings, I wake up on my own terms without anyone requesting something of me. That time has become precious, and on those rare mornings when I don’t get up before my tribe, my whole day is out of whack. Use your Bedtime app and put yourself to bed seven hours before you need to wake up. Then hold yourself to your early rising time, make your tea or coffee, and enjoy your quiet home.
Mind your morning lighting. It’s gonna be a few months before the sun wakes us up in the morning. In the meantime, mind your lighting. Instead of harsh overhead brightness first thing, turn on lamps and activate dimmers. Put away phones and screens for the first hour of your day. Not only can they become a total distraction and pull you away from setting your intentions for the day, the backlit screen activates the prefrontal cortex of your brain in an unnatural way. We get enough tech time during the day, girlfriend. Let’s commit to a book or journal during our initial hour of wakefulness, not a phone.
It’s up to me to choose what to do with my earliest moments, be it reading, prayer, yoga, a long shower, or cooking breakfast. By preparing the night before, making my wake-up time a habit, and keeping my lights and sounds natural in the first hour, I set myself up for a beautiful day ahead.
/// How do you begin the day? Is your morning routine bringing you peace or anxiety? What’s one strategy you can implement this week to make your mornings more successful?
//Photos taken as part of a Storytelling Session by Signe Clayton Photography