This post is dedicated to all you fellow night owls or all around morning haters. As you may have read in previous posts – or possibly know from experience (sorry Trinity) – I am not a morning person. Mornings and I do not get along. Baby, I was born this way. I don’t know why specifically. My mother even says since I came out of the womb my days and nights were never straight. I am just not a normal sleeper. Then come the teenage years… you can presume what happened there. Mornings are not fun. Mornings are evil and fuzzy and sore. Then when I was 18 my health struggle began. I’ve talked about my health on the blog before, but in case you are a new reader I’ll quickly explain. Read next paragraph if you want to know, if you already know then skip that paragraph and continue!
[In a nutshell…] What started as mononucleosis my senior year of high school became severe worst case scenario mono. I barely survived and was never again the same. The docs tested for everything in the book including cancer and some really scary things like MS until they just said “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome”. Fast forward about 7 years and I’m at my new doctors office and they explain that I’ve been misdiagnosed, or more accurately just looked right over all together. I have struggled with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, hypothyroidism, and severe psoriasis for over a decade. All of these slow down my system in every way including my energy levels.
You can imagine now how much more mornings in general just totally suck. Real adulthood came and also brought some new adult burdens like stress and workload… I’m tired! Constantly. It’s not something that will ever change unless God heals all my disease. So, until then I’ve learned there are some tricks to making the mornings a little more bearable. Also as a “real” adult I can’t quite fake it through my mornings like I did in college with 8:30am classes. I actually have to be [somewhat] functional before noon sometimes. I had to do something! Here’s my tips on making your morning easier. Lots of it is common sense or certainly not rock science. However, sometimes you just need that extra shove to start building a new healthier habit! Here’s what I do…
The Night Before:
1) The Outfit Prep. If I’m getting up early it’s because I have someone to meet or somewhere to go. I work from home otherwise. So, it helps to set out my outfit down to shoes, socks, underwear, hat. If I don’t then it’s quite possible I’ll spend 30 minutes or more trying to find an outfit. Of course this is a female struggle even when it’s not morning but throw in my mindless zombie morning brain and fahgetabout it.
2) Reminder Note. If there’s anything I should be bringing with me out the door in the morning I place it right in the front of the door so I cannot open it without hitting the item. If my husband is getting up and out before me I MUST write a reminder note on my door. It may be a reminder for a packed lunch if I’m going to be gone all day. I used to put notes in my phone, but that means I have to remember to look at my phone notes. The actual sticky note on the door works wonders.
Special Bonus Tip: use the sticky note system to love on your spouse or encourage a roommate/housemate. If there’s stuff in the house to make lunch I always make my husband a lunch and stick in the fridge. I write a really nice note of encouragement or something to make him laugh and stick on the door with a big “LUNCH” with an arrow pointing to the fridge. It makes him feel loved and appreciated that I took the time to pack him a lunch and write a nice note for him to read. The whole process probably doesn’t take my longer than 15 minutes but it goes a long way.
3) Soothing Soak. I take my night meds and then hop in a warm soothing shower. If I’m feeling really luxurious and have the time I will do a bath. By the time I’m out I’m totally ready for sleep and I’m a little more relaxed. Sometimes I’m so tired I tell myself that I can just shower in the morning. This NEVER happens and I end up using all my dry shampoo too quickly. Not only does a night shower help my morning process go quicker because there’s less to do – it truly does relax you! Especially if you use some yummy Lush products like this, this, or this. Le sigh. I’m ready for my bath now.
4) “Do Not Disturb” Brain. You know how our iphones have a setting for “do not disturb”? That’s exactly what you need to do ti your brain. No more work. No more emails. No more screens. Read a book over a sleepytime tea and my personal favorite snickerdoodle cookies from TJ’s. You are in REST mode. It’s okay, trust me, you can do it. You deserve it. There has to be a cut off everyday where it’s just you (and a spouse if you’re married) and your bed. No more work talk. No more responsibilities to check off your list. If it’s 11pm then you need to shut down your work laptop and put yourself on “do not disturb”. Place a pad of paper on your nightstand in case something comes to mind that you need to deal with in the morning. Then, pull out your book. You must learn what relaxes you. They say screens are not good at night for sleep, however, I enjoy watching something that’s familiar as I get sleepy. I make sure that my tv has a sleep timer so that it’s nice and dark when I’m asleep. Ideally you should read a book (although this can be hard if you’re blind like me and need it super bright to see) and turn off your screens. I find myself on pinterest on an ipad probably too often, but I do find it calms me down.
1) Morning Meds. I leave my morning meds right on the nightstand with my water bottle so I can take them right away. I can’t eat for at least 30 minutes after my morning meds so this step is important for me. You might be thinking “why not put meds on the other side of the room so you have to get up”. To you I say “LOL”… you must be a morning person! If I do that I just completely forget to take my meds. I’m not gunna lie, after I take my meds I normally just rest and look at instagram or sleep for another 30 minutes. There’s not much else my brain is capable of when I first wake up. Maybe you don’t have morning medication but there are vitamins or something other regiment you do in the morning.
2) Alarm(s). I set two alarms, one for meds and one for actual out of bed time. I’ve learned that setting my alarm early “just to be sure I get up” doesn’t work. I just end up pressing the snooze button until the time at which I know I must get out of bed or else I’ll be late. So, I set the real times I need to get up. I choose a sound that certainly wakes me up but doesn’t sound like a nuclear bomb warning either. The important matter is learning what works for you and knowing how long it takes you to get ready. I’ve learned that even after everything is set out for me I need a whole 20 minutes to brush teeth, do hair, make my coffee/tea, and get dressed. Sometimes I press snooze and say “I can just throw on clothes and it will take ten minutes max!” Yeah, right. No it still takes me 20 minutes and I am then late.
3) Breakfast Combo. When I’m getting up “really” early to be somewhere I usually don’t have a sit down tea and breakfast like I normally would (as seen in “thoughts of over brunch” posts) while watching the Today show. All I need is a cup of coffee in a to-go mug, a banana, and a bottle of water / water in my mason jar. Those three things. I put a water bottle in my purse or fill up my mason jar to drink after my coffee so I’m hydrated and feeling good. My rule is 8oz of water for every cup of coffee I drink. I also feel completely different if I don’t have those helpful vitamins and energy boost from the banana. Apparently I feel that way for a reason as I read here bananas are one of the best things you can eat in the morning! Sometimes I’ll have a little peanut butter (or nutella!) with my banana if I’m tired of straight banana. PLUS my jolt of caffeine from the coffee doesn’t hurt either. Now, maybe banana’s are not your thing. I get it. Save something delicious to eat for breakfast so you’re at least looking forward to it!
When You’re Running Late:
1) Minimize Plans. If I planned on blowing out my hair or doing something fancy with my make-up I revert back to an easy braid and just use under-eye coverup and mascara or wear glasses. Now hair and make up takes only minutes. Add a hat for frizzy hair. Sometimes I can wait to braid my hair in the car at a red light (maybe I shouldn’t admit that, don’t try this at home on second thought). If I’m lucky enough not to be the driver I can do whatever make up I want in the car! I put my shoes on in the car – anything to save time and get me curbside!
2) Don’t Neglect the Priorities. Taking my meds is a priority. Having something to eat/drink is important but I may have to skip it if I can scurry out the door and stop at Starbucks later. Don’t skip eating altogether! Reading my sticky note reminders are priority. Even if I have to put my hair in a bun it’s better that I don’t forget the most important things needing attention that morning. One thing that I haven’t mentioned about my morning routine is my kitties! I can’t forget to give them fresh water in the morning. Prioritize!
So that’s it! Unfortunately I have no secret magical tip for making mornings manageable. They still basically suck. There are no worms. No good reasons. At least with these tips it’ll knock the edge off. If you know any magic tips, please comment below!!! Next time you have to wake up early friends… may the odds be ever in your favor. I can tell you I won’t ever be Joey and his neighbor…