You know how there are people who just roll out of bed and are happy? They just can’t wait to start their day.
They smile and tell you good morning when you meet them in the hallway at work or school.
I’ve seen those people. They exist. And I hate those people.
I am the kind of person who when the alarm goes off either a) hits snooze and goes back to sleep or b) hits snooze and goes to the bathroom to then again crawl back in bed.
Then after playing the snooze game for about an hour, I’d finally get up, get ready quickly and go out into the horrible morning world, where people tell me “Good morning” and I just want to show them the nail polish on my middle finger.
If looks could kill, I would’ve killed a lot of people morning time during the years.
But then again maybe not, as there’s a big chance I would just pretend that everyone I meet is invisible and silent. I’d ignore them while leaving out a grunt or pretending to be calling someone or listening to music.
Look, I know how this might sound, but I’m a nice person. Not in an overly positive, kinda annoying way, but I’m usually very empathetic, pretty happy and almost always there to help or make a joke. I mean well.
That’s why I also don’t get it.
I know there’s a cortisol rise when I rise in the morning, I get that. I just don’t get how it transforms me from a peaceful sleeping angel into a moody aggressive monster in what seems to be seconds.
Some say coffee saves a lot of people, but it doesn’t. It hasn’t saved me or the people around me. Coffee brings more oil into my morning fire. Give me coffee and I’m a monster on steroids.
The problem with hating everything and everyone in the morning…
I guess it’s safe to say, I’m just not a morning person.
But (unfortunately) I live in this world where people start their day in the morning and they go to sleep in the evening.
It’s not just other people, but also our biology that tells us to better wake up in the morning and sleep in the evening.
The hormone melatonin is checking all the time whether it’s dark or bright outside. “Is it dark yet?”.
But if we mess with melatonin, we might not be able to sleep at all. Therefore we better listen to that hormone and try to live with all other beings (asides from bats and owls) during the day.
Sleep is essential. It’s important for immunity, the way we look and our whole well-being.
The costs of being in a crappy mood 4h/day
After realizing melatonin and the whole world won’t play according to my rules, I decided to figure out how to not be in a crappy mood for the first 4 hours (from 7-11am) of every single day.
Otherwise, I’d be wasting a lot of time.
- In one year that’s 1460 hours.
- That’s 8.5 weeks.
- It’s two months per year.
Two months waking time I am in a crappy mood and super unproductive. For NO reason.
I had to figure out how to be awake and in a better mood as soon as I go out the door.
I read a few articles on the routines of famous people, successful people, healthy people, just people…
You know those articles that tell you to wake up 2 hours before you have to go somewhere to have time for yourself…
Well, I tried a few of those things, but it turned out I need to take a nap at 6:30 am after I wake up and do all my exercises, juices, reading and gratitude-expressing at 5 am. So I decided to have around 1 hour instead of 2 for myself, to not fall asleep afterward. And to only do things that really wake me up.
Here are the 3 most important things I try to do every day, that no matter what is going on, help me feel better and always make me seem more social in the morning (even though I still secretly can’t stand anyone…just kidding).
If you struggle with something similar, I hope this post helps you find some inspiration to start your day in a more positive way.
1. Get up as soon as the alarm goes off
I’m aware that getting enough sleep is one of the most important factors for good health. I am all for sleep.
But the thing is – once the alarm goes off in the morning, all the benefits of sleep you could get – done. You’re out of that sleep cycle and if you snooze, you’re just lying to yourself and your body.
You’re laying around and pretending to be resting, but in reality, you aren’t and are actually getting even more tired.
So when the alarm goes off, instead of putting off starting your day, get up and get into action right away.
For me doing this takes away a lot of the negative thoughts and complaints I would usually have – like why is it dark? Why do I have to go to work? Why is it morning again? And why is it so damn cold?
When I go right into action I just don’t have time to think about all those things – and the less I think about them, the less I notice them.
Also, I know I have more time to get ready than I would have if I snooze back and forth for 1h. This gives me peace, as I know I can take my time and not just rush out.
Since sleep is very important, do this: before you go to bed set the alarm for 8 hours of sleep. Then when you wake up after 8 hours, you’ve probably completed all sleep cycles and will be rested and ready for your day.
Lately, as soon as I get up, I put on my workout clothes (that I’ve mostly laid out the night before), and go do my exercises.
After this, I am already in a LOT better mood. I would say this is the habit that makes the biggest difference on how I feel during the rest of the day. So if you have to chose any of the habits here – exercise would be my #1 tip.
I always alternate exercises to not get bored. For example, if I did cardio yesterday, I would do yoga today. This keeps me motivated – if I have to do the same exact thing every single day I will either not do it at all or go crazy.
I usually do around 10-15 minutes of exercise in the morning. I used to be able to do 30 minutes, but I find it harder and harder to do my exercises if I have to invest that much time.
Therefore I’d rather do 10-15 minutes to get my body warmed up and my mind ready to see other people than to not exercise at all. If you want to try this, here’s a list of my favorite 10-minute youtube workouts.
3. Wear something nice
There have been a few times in the past when I would put on something I usually wear at home – something pajama-like and go to work like that.
Maybe because it’s cold, maybe because it’s early, maybe because work sucks and I don’t like my coworkers. It doesn’t even matter. The thing is, whenever I wear something that comfortable I ALWAYS at some point of the day – regret this decision.
As soon as I’m officially awake (at 11 am) and find a mirror to look at myself, I am horrified. What happened? How did I make that decision?? What was I thinking, when I was putting on my clothes?
Now I know you can feel a lot more comfortable in a dress instead of sweatpants at work. When I wear something I actually like, I feel comfortable and more confident. Believe it or not, this helps me be more focused. I don’t know how and why, but it does.
You could say that wearing something you like is a form of respect for yourself. For your body. It changes the way you see yourself and the way you see everything else.
When you see yourself in baggy clothes and with messy hair, you start feeling like you look – undone, not ready, not good enough…Then any task you have, anyone you meet seems like a challenge because you don’t feel confident anymore.
It’s like saying: “I know I could be better, I just don’t want to be”.
I’m not saying you should overdress, rather find something you really feel comfortable and confident in. Something that makes you feel like yourself.
I promise you, this small change of always putting on something you actually like, will improve your day enormously.
It’s a very simple, but a rewarding habit.
Other things that might improve mood in the morning
Aside from these 3 really small things, these are some other things that help improve my mood:
- listening to music I love
- drinking lemon & ginger water
- making my bed (such a stress relief!)
- planning my day (I prefer to do this the night before)
- writing down any thoughts that bother me (I prefer to do this in the evening)
- expressing gratitude (I prefer to do this in the evening)
Everyone is different, but I’ve found these things help a lot.
The one thing that can literally ruin my whole day:
Getting on social media/check emails as soon as I wake up. One thing follows after another and it all snowballs into one big waste of time.
There a day is wasted.
Stay away from scrolling at least until afternoon or after you’ve done something you’re proud of.
And that’s it. How do you start your mornings? Do you have favorite things you do?