Waking up early isn’t always easy- especially when you’re running on lack of sleep and have a million things you don’t want to do. But what I have found is that forming a routine- and sticking to it- can significantly boost your desire to start the day. When you set a list of tasks to do and finish them all before you even walk out the door, you’ll feel accomplished and better qualified to tackle whatever the day throws at you.
It took me a while to adjust my routine and find something that works, and I don’t always stick to the same motions. In fact, variety is healthy every once in a while. It keeps you refreshed and enthusiastic about making each day full of purpose.
Here are the components you should consider when developing your own morning routine:
#1 Get Moving
I’m sure you’ve heard this tip before, how working out in the morning can boost your metabolism and give you more energy throughout the day. During warmer months, I sometimes start my day with an easy 6 mile run before the hot sun comes up. But lately, I’ve been sticking to activities like a 30 minute yoga session to wake up my muscles. If this is too much for you (I know we aren’t all morning people), something as simple as stretching for 5-10 minutes helps to get the blood flowing. As I said, variety is a key component here. Maybe on Monday’s and Wednesday’s you have time to hit the gym before class, maybe other days of the week you have to stick to simple dorm room activities. Whatever it may be, make sure to add some degree of physical activity to your morning.
After 8 or 9 hours of sleeping, your body needs to be replenished. Obviously breakfast is the most obvious solution, but I think hydration deserves individual attention. If you start the day with a few cups of water or tea or even coffee, you’ll feel more focused and capable of sitting through long lectures. Plus, if you’re the type of person to workout later in the day, your body will have the fuel it needs to help maximize your performance.
Annnnnnd of course you need food to keep you alive and well, especially since class schedules don’t always accommodate an ideal lunch hour. This is definitely the component I struggle the most with, because I never feel super hungry in the morning. If you’re the type of person to wake up and head straight to the kitchen- good for you! Make sure to include protein (like egg whites) and some carbs (whole grain toast) and you’re all set. But if you’re like me and you tend to stick to granola bars or apples, don’t stress. Making breakfast is a learned habit that takes time and commitment. If you have an apartment (and you’re not confined to the walls of a dorm room), invest in a Nutri-Bullet or blender and make a quick smoothie you can take to class. Or try overnight oats- they’re easy, fast, and filling. If you are stuck in a dorm, see what you can grab from a dining hall (cereal, English McMuffin, fruit and yogurt, etc.) and try to stick to eating that at least 3 times a week. Over time, you may develop a liking for breakfast and thus reduce snacking throughout the day (yay!).
Recently, I have taken a liking to yoga and its meditative qualities. After going through a time of significant change in my life, taking time to reflect on my journey and be present with myself is a necessity. This doesn’t mean you need to carve out 30 minutes to sit on a yoga mat and think about nothing. Reflection can happen in the shower, on your walk to class, or even during your morning workout. Take time to appreciate where you are in your life, how far you have come and the potential you have. Learn to acknowledge your fears and failures, thank the universe for challenging you, and grow from the experience. I do this with a set of questions that I ask myself most mornings, though of course it’s okay to skip some days or let your mind wander (did someone say variety?):
- How can I become stronger today?
- What is holding me back? How can I overcome it?
- Who can I thank today? Who has helped me make a positive change in my life?
- How have I grown and matured?
Use these guidelines however you like, always keeping in mind that each person is unique and variety is the key to staying refreshed.