5 Tips For A More Positive Morning
I used to be glued to the news. Anyone who knows me knows I’ve always been driven by information (knowledge is power, people!) and heavily engaged in politics. This has been true since the day I successfully stalked poor Madeleine Albright to her car for an interview, and it remains true now.
Unfortunately that habit hit me hard throughout basically all of 2016. I was so engrossed in the news that I became a woman possessed. The 2016 election cycle was so captivating and led me to obsessive amounts of articles. I scoured the depths of Google searching for any piece of Intel I could find on literally anything, and it made the bitter pill of election night that much harder to swallow.
The stress I was putting on myself through this insatiable need for information, the need to be right, the need to win every battle, drove me bananas — and that’s not helpful for winning the war.
But more than anything else, it's not helpful for overall wellness. I needed a break. From CNN, from Facebook click bait, from myself.
So I stopped. I stopped checking the news. I got off Twitter. I only read one of the 16 (yes, you read that right) news roundups I received vie email every morning. I Netflixed. I chilled. I went for bike rides. I meal prepped. I got a new job (the other half of my stressors last fall).
I created a new routine and a new lifestyle that put me back into a healthy mindset, giving me a balance between the real world, my world and my personal sanity — which I realize now is oh so precious.
And the most important part of my daily routine? My mornings. A calm, positive morning is essential to a productive day. Start your morning off on the wrong foot and it’s often too difficult to regain ground when you hit the afternoon.
Harmony is key. So here are my 5 tips to create a brighter morning:
1. Wake Up Early
It might sound awful, but hear me out… nothing is worse than rushing through your morning, scrambling to get out the door and managing to be unfed and under-caffeinated with still-wet hair.
Rising with the sun allots you the time to tailor a routine to your needs. Love a full and hearty breakfast? Take your time! Long hot shower and a full blow dry? Now you’ve got an hour to do so. The sky’s the limit when you have an extra 60 minutes or so.
2. Prep The Night Before
Maximize your morning by taking some of the legwork on the evening prior. I have a fantastic coffee carafe, (courtesy of my mom) so I like to make my French press the night before and immediately pour it in — amazingly, it’s still perfectly hot in the morning when I wake up. I also meal prep tons of homemade granola bars (recipes coming soon!) every Sunday, all of my lunches for the week, and several breakfasts such as overnight oats and mini egg muffins that I can just grab-and-go.
Having all of my ducks in a row before I rise make the early hours that much more enjoyable.
3. Have a Moment of Mindfulness
Before you hit the ground running at work, school or whatever is on your schedule for the day, take some time to center yourself. Some swear by a few minutes of meditation before crawling out of bed, but personally, I’m not one for meditation — my brain isn’t built for it, and I don’t have the patience to make it shut down for that long.
However, I find my mindfulness through moving my body. I walk my dog twice before work, and sometimes also hit the gym for a short run or brief strength training session each morning. Exercise gives me a brief reprieve from overthinking plus the perfect amount of energy to take me through my day.
4. Avoid Information At All Costs
Do not, under any circumstances, take in any news until your body and mind have fully awoken. It will not serve you well. Period. And this is coming from someone who literally worked at The TODAY Show for six months (see below).
If you wake up early enough and therefore give yourself enough buffer, some easy morning news might be safe. But turn on the TV or check Google News too soon, and you’re risking absorbing a lot of negative tones and information that could upset you when you’re most vulnerable. Save The Skimm for your morning commute, when you’re already in the work zone, and keep your sacred space just that — sacred.
5. Do Something Just For You
Makes sense, right? The best way to put yourself in a good mood is to do something that puts you in a good mood. However, it’s easier said that done, and probably ties directly into that whole ~wake up early~ thing.
As mentioned earlier, I sometimes like to hit the gym (or get forced there — by my request — by my boyfriend), but I also like to fill my mornings by talking to my mom, who lives in Ohio, or playing with my dog. They’re light, fluffy things that bring me joy, and knowing I made the time for them early keeps me centered throughout all day long.
How do you like to start your mornings?