I was never grumpy about waking up as a kid, except maybe when I was sick. Mornings were my favorite: my mom would wake me, we would have breakfast (later, coffee) together, and chat about the upcoming day, the news, or nothing at all. Each day seems like the promise of a new beginning, regardless of how busy I know I may be later in the day. In college, I would often wake up to complete assignments before my morning classes, preferring the clearheaded pleasant sleepiness of the morning to the heavy, dull, sluggish drowsiness of the midnight hours. As an adult, I still enjoy taking some quiet time before the start of my day with a cup of coffee. I accumulate so much information as the day goes on, and so many emotions flit across my consciousness, that sometimes the only truly quiet moments I have are while I'm still in bed lounging with my pets.
Lately I've been taking advantage of earlier than usual mornings to be productive and energetic in small, quiet ways. I have approximately four million projects that I am working on in any given time, but sometimes I am so wiped out from work at 6 pm that I waste the next four or five hours mindlessly cleaning, watching Netflix, or on my phone. Then, I inevitably feel crummy that I didn't do anything creative or personally productive that day. I had to intentionally break this cycle by 1) getting extremely fed up with the cycle and 2) thinking about the individual components that were making up my overall lack of energy and fulfillment.
I wasn't setting myself up for success the night before.
I've discovered that, in order for me to have successful early mornings, I have to be intentional about my nightly habits. Staying up too late, eating like crap, messing with electronics, and keeping my brain busy were preventing me from getting quality rest, which in turn made me sluggish in the AM. I definitely am not perfect about my nightly routine 100% of the time now, but I have made an effort to stop eating so many carbs at dinner time: I realized carbs essentially put me in a "carb coma" and made it impossible to wake up feeling perky the next day. I also set my coffee pot ahead of time so that fresh coffee is ready when I wake up, and I charge my phone in the living room while I sleep rather than leaving it near my bed (old school alarm clocks still exist at Target and HEB, yo). If I want to wake up before 7 am, I now spend 20ish minutes reading in bed before I sleep. It helps me sleep deeper and, as an extra bonus, I've noticed I get cooler dreams when I read regularly. I also keep my grimoire and my affirmations/anxieties journal by my bed so that I can write before bed if I want, and, more importantly, write in bed when I wake up.
I wasn't setting intentions for my morning.
I think it's easy to sleep in or oversleep when you don't really have a reason to get up. Sure, getting up for work is always going to factor into your wake up time, but if the point is to do things in the morning besides get ready for work, you have to know what those things are. I asked myself "What am I excited to wake up for?" Usually, I am always excited to wake up for roadtrips, fun plans, or working on projects. In college I could spring out of bed fresh as a daisy at 6 am if it meant I got to work on a paper, or plan my play rehearsals for the week. I generally cannot get motivated to work out first thing in the morning, so I decided that I would set my alarm with a specific intention in mind the night before that I knew would wake me up. Lately, I have been waking up at 6:30 am to either read, perform a ritual, or work on a project for my etsy shop. Then, I since I am already awake and caffeinated, I can muster up the desire to take my dog on a walk or go lift weight for awhile. However, if I wake up specifically intending to work out first thing, I oversleep! Again, human minds are weird. The key for me is to vary my morning intention. I never read or craft for more than two mornings in a row before switching to a different intention. So far, it's working like a charm!
I was forcing myself to "be productive."
Nothing kills my motivation more than skipping out on my self care. It sounds weird, but sometimes I am too tired at night to do much self care. Sometimes it takes all the strength I have just to finish my obligated work, shower, and go to bed, dishes be damned. This often pushes me into the pattern of believing I have to "make up" for my lost cleaning/producing hours in the morning. Sometimes I do intentionally clean in the morning, and sometimes I study for the GRE or work on paying assignments. However, it is just as important for me to energize my mornings with self care, things I enjoy that do not add obvious monetary or professional value to my life. Sometimes this means doing a face mask and taking an extra 20 minutes on my makeup, other times it means coloring and watching Gilmore Girls for an hour while drinking coffee. Other times I write in my grimoire, or make a jar spell, or craft a necklace to wear with my outfit for that day. The key for my happiness and ability to sustain productivity over the long run is to listen to my needs and understand why I may be passing over self care in favor of productivity: am I feeling worthless that day? Am I anxious? Did something happen to make me feel insecure? These feelings are best addressed with purposeful reflection and self care rather than being masked or tamped down with tasks in the name of "being productive."
Keeping these three things in mind, I've been enjoying my mornings a lot more lately and finding my AM time to be much more meaningful! Are there any morning habits you have or don't have that you want to make or break?