It all starts with that incessant ring of a mamba. You may have to rely on a single alarm to start your day, or maybe you're the kind who is capable of pushing the snooze button while still dreaming. Or maybe you're like me, setting three separate alarms about half an hour apart. The first, being nothing but a little nudge, telling you to take it easy and sleep a little longer, the second being a bit more assertive, and the third one insisting you start the day (despite the occasional "accidental snooze").
Waking yourself up can be easier if you give yourself a reason to be excited for the morning...and sometimes work or school just isn't a good enough reason. A good reason would be if I wanted to prepare a big hearty breakfast. Cooking can be relaxing, but maybe that's not your thing. It's actually not my thing either, I'm just really really good at making oatmeal. What get's me alert before my alarm even goes off is a face mask to start my day (am I talking about face masks too much?). Ooh, and sometimes, on a very special occasion, I'll wake up early so that I can stop inside a bakery on my way to work for a fresh pastry. Or, in a completely alternative route, (and I'm not saying that I, personally, do this) maybe try going on a jog around your neighbourhood.
I like to shower in the mornings. While I do see the value in the nighttime shower and getting into bed clean, I've showered at the start of the day since as far back as I can remember. It's a brilliant way to wake yourself up and make sure that you smell fresh as a spring day. It also is a few peaceful minutes for yourself to reflect upon the day before or to recall details of the dream you may have just had.
Breakfast is exciting, if you ask me. But one thing I've definitely learned over the years is not to let it get repetitive. Oatmeal is filling and nutritious and has so much potential for flavours, but if you have it every single day, it becomes mundane. Not exciting anymore. So at this point, I alternate my breakfasts between a few options: oatmeal, skyr/yogurt and muesli, grapefruits, bread and cheese, or rice cakes and peanut butter. For most people is something quick - a fruit, some toast, coffee, tea - the classic "to-go" options. I guess if you're the kind of person who rushes out the door and doesn't prioritize breakfast so much, this is fine. But it is better for your digestion to eat slow and having a good breakfast ensures you'll be less likely to overeat throughout the day.
Alright, I'm done sounding like Dr. Oz.
One of the best choices I've made in my mornings recently is keeping my phone far away and my computer screen down. In the past, it's been habit to keep my nose in my Instagram feed or my eyes glued to an episode of Sex and the City. But now, I've made the choice to read one article each morning from my favourite slow lifestyle magazine, Kinfolk. One article is all you need to find beauty in your quaint mornings and simple inspiration throughout the rest of your day.
I find myself to be a more productive cleaner in the AM rather than the night before, unless of course, we're talking about one of those "accidental snooze" days. Before I leave the house, I'll load or unload the dishwasher and give my room a quick tidy. Don't leave the house unless you've made your bed. You might be in a rush and it might not seem important because you're just going to jump right back in at the end of your day, but this two second action transforms your room from the aftermath of a hurricane to instead, a room, livable, and at a bigger picture glance, clean. You'll also thank yourself later when you come home at the end of the day. The guilting nag of "I really have to clean up" will be that much less dominant as a bed made is already half the battle.
My cycles to work have become a vital part of my lifestyle in Copenhagen. I cherish them and can really feel their absence in my mornings when I'm in Canada or anywhere else in the world without a bike. I apply a thick moisturizer, because my commute is 20 minutes and Scandinavia is notoriously cold and windy, and select one artist every morning to listen to while I bike. The choice I make depends very much on the mood I'm in. Sometimes, if one of my roommates are awake, I'll ask for their recommendation, but usually I assess my morning and my state of mind and come to a decision. Some days it's Billie Holiday. Other days it's MGMT. And some days, vintage Madonna. Soul search every morning; that's all I'm saying.
I feel bad for the mornings. There's a bad stigma around them. About that pressure to wake up early and being forced into becoming a robot slave from 9-5. I think it's unfair. Mornings are lovely. Sometimes you can catch the sunrise or get a glimpse of dew or fog, and that alone can leave you speechless. Mornings are also a clean slate - a new day, no worries yet. I also feel my imagination is at its highest point when I wake up, presumedly because I have just had a dream in a completely different fantasy world.
So, I challenge you to make your own morning routine. What wakes you up? What brings you inner peace? What do you put in your mouth? What inspires you? I challenge you to find something to make mornings beautiful.
And if you can't do that, well, you probably just need a cup of coffee.