Wake Up to Mindful Mornings

Use your morning hours to get an edge on relaxation and productivity by waking up early each morning for a self-care routine.

| July / August 2018

  • A healthy morning routine can include yoga, running, meditating, journaling, or reading — anything that wakes you up and readies you for the day.
    Photo by Adobe Stock/Alena Ozerova
  • Lay your exercise clothes out the night before you plan to wake up for a run, or even sleep in the outfit so you can just roll out of bed and get going.
    Photo by Adobe Stock/Flamingo Images
  • It's hard to pour yourself into everything during the day if you start with an empty cup.
    Photo by Adobe Stock/sinada
  • Make the first part of your routine an activity you absolutely love. The pleasant task will make the early morning easier to face.
    Photo by Getty Images/PeopleImages
  • If you wake up and read just five pages of a book each morning, you could read over 1,800 pages per year.
    Photo by Adobe Stock/DavidPrado

Personal-development experts say that one reason many of us miss out on the life we want is because we wake up at the last possible minute rather than jumping out of bed early to relax and work on self-development activities. They advise us to get up earlier to make time for a purposeful morning ritual, which might include journaling, exercising, or meditating.

“Creating a morning practice or ritual is really about filling your own cup,” says Tiffany Lanier, a personal-growth coach in West Palm Beach, Florida. “People often go into their days already depleted. They wake up kind of frantic and rush around, maybe getting kids ready or jumping on social media first thing. By the time they get to their workday, they’re already exhausted. It’s hard to pour yourself into anything or anyone if you start with an empty cup. By reclaiming the morning hours, you’ll be better able to do what’s necessary for yourself and others.”

When you wake up early, you can get ahead of those things that tend to creep in and derail your “me time.” “My alarm goes off at 5:30 every single morning, Saturday and Sunday included, because I know that will give me uninterrupted time before I have other requests and demands,” says April Seifert, a social psychologist in Minneapolis. “When no one has yet had a chance to compete for your time, it helps minimize feelings of guilt or the ‘shoulds’ of taking care of someone else. It’s a time when you can truly focus.”

Becoming a Morning Person

Although there are plenty of reasons to wake up earlier, follow-through often lags. A few proactive steps can help. It probably goes without saying that getting up early starts with going to bed at a reasonable hour and sleeping well. The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults sleep 7 to 9 hours each night, and offers many tips for catching your z’s at www.SleepFoundation.org.

If your biggest challenge in getting up earlier is resisting the snooze button, move your alarm clock to a location that forces you to get out of bed to turn it off. Because of the way we cycle through different stages of sleep, additional shut-eye gained from hitting the snooze button generally isn’t quality sleep anyway. It may even make you feel groggier.

To nudge yourself into getting up earlier, you might enlist the help of someone to keep you accountable, especially at first, suggests Jane Scudder, a certified personal-development and leadership coach in Chicago. This can be as simple as emailing a personal coach or friend within five minutes of waking up while you’re solidifying your new habit.

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