We are told to practice gratitude first thing in the morning to ensure that we are waking up happier, jump-starting our brains to be positive rather than tired and negative. This is all great and wonderful advice but we have to look at the steps we take before we even sit down to write in our gratitude journals/planners. I’m talking about the second we open our eyes, what we do in those first few moments even before we get up to potty, makes a world of difference.
Many of us reach for our phones and then we are immediately sucked into the deep abyss of the “real world”. The same world that can catch us off guard and dampen your day even before you get out of bed. We check our email, the news, and look at our to-do lists. Any of these things that happened while you were asleep can somehow set you off for a rough day ahead.
If you don’t want to ruin your day before you get up to pee, here are some 5 simple hacks to waking up happier.
Don’t Look at Your Phone
Seriously, what could have happened in the 5-6 hours you’ve been asleep that’s so utterly important that you have.to.check.right.away. Unless you are on call, expecting a baby, expecting bad news, expecting good news, just give yourself a moment to wake up. Let your eyes adjust to the blinding sunlight, wipe off the eye crust, get up, use the restroom, look outside, brush your teeth, get dressed, put on some lipgloss, make some coffee, and then check your phone. How many of you (don’t even lie) check your phone and then end up glued to it- either freaking out over your to-do list or getting wrapped up in the news or Facebook? Next thing you know, you’re late and you haven’t even used the restroom yet and you’re already annoyed, fired up, or defeated before it’s even 8am.
After you’ve made sure you can see, take a few minutes to let your brain adjust. Do this by doing some breathing, meditation, or reset mentally. Many of us don’t wake up all slow and cute like a Pinterest photo. We are frantic, maybe cursing the alarm clock, or making deals with the devil to get just 5 more minutes. Just because the world does not wait for you, no matter how you feel, if your bones hurt, if you’re sick, doesn’t mean you can’t give yourself a simple moment to regroup. We talk about self-care and that always seems to happen at night with a warm bath & a million tea lights. But, before nightfall hits, you have a good 10 hours of life to handle. You owe it to yourself in the morning by giving yourself a chance to breathe before you have to deal with everything else.
Sometimes, you wake up after marinating about something that bothered you the night before and it’s still stuck in your mind. Take a few minutes to try to get rid of it so you can start the day refreshed with a clear mind.
Slowly Get Out Of Bed, But Don’t Take Forever
Everyone has busy lives with kids and jobs to get to on time. But, did you know when you frantically shoot out of bed, you are putting your heart into overdrive? Like, it thinks it’s being attacked and needs to run for its life. Your body thinks you are escaping danger which sets off your flight-or-fight feedback loop and suddenly, coursing through your veins are stress hormones. This is why you end up high-strung and easily irritable. It’s not that annoying thing you saw on your Facebook feed or what someone tweeted or even your email, it literally started with the way you got out of bed. So, unless there’s a fire, your baby’s been crying for who knows how long now, someone’s bleeding, or someone’s breaking into your home, give your joints and heart a break and try getting out of bed looking like a Pinterest photo- kind of slowly, gorgeous, and serene-looking.
Go Through Your Routines Before Touching Base With The Rest Of The World
Still, don’t look at your phone! After you’ve gotten out of bed, slowly, now it’s time to get dressed, turn on your Sonicare, fix your face, and make your green smoothie/coffee. Drink that smoothie, feed your kids, and just focus on this moment that is yours for only a good 8 minutes every morning. Don’t try to multitask even more than you already are as this sends your brain and emotions into a flurry. If you have kids, sure they might be wild banshees getting out the door. If you only deal with that and not answering emails, then it cuts down your blood pressure and helps you be in that moment you will one day miss when all the kids are gone. If you don’t have kids, then seriously enjoy these little moments and the rest of the world can wait!
Settle In, Then Address Everyone Else’s Needs
After you’ve taken care of yourself, your kids, and you’re now in your office or whatnot, settle in and then mentally go through your plan of attack. Do you want to check your email first or your Facebook feed? Then, give yourself a time limit to do it. Even though you avoid the black hole the second you woke up doesn’t mean you’re not going to fall in an hour later. Give yourself 10 minutes to monkey around on Facebook. Then, check your email and delete everything irrelevant. Then, go through and address what can be quickly taken care of. Then, save the major ones for when you have downtime later in the day. Start your tasks that are most pressing and go from there.
It might seem like we’re asking you to wake up super slowly, in a bed of roses, surrounded by butlers who look like your favorite pirate or superhero. Like we said, the world isn’t going to wait hours and hours for you to pull yourself together but it can wait about 45 minutes. We all talk about how life is too short and how we don’t get enough sleep. So, why wake up like a zombie apocalypse is outside your door and your phone is going to blow up like the Samsung Note 7 if you don’t respond to people right away? If you want to give yourself a head start each day, then this is how you practice self-care as soon as you wake up. Think about yourself for just a few minutes, give yourself a break, and then start the day. It sounds absurd to give yourself a break right when you’ve just cracked your eyes open, but try it and see. Your body, mind, feels, and soul will thank you.