This blogpost is also available in German (auf Deutsch)
I was the typical snoozer for a long time. I let the alarm ring for about an hour at 9-minute intervals and I would keep hitting the snooze button. Eventually I climbed groggily and much too late out of bed. Since I got up too late I also never managed to have a healthy breakfast and then head to my first appointment or to the laptop even though I was still not quite awake.
It was no wonder that I was exhausted in the evening and then getting up the next morning was even harder. It was not always like that because I actually like the quiet time in the morning. I can work well in the morning and I love it to get a lot done before noon. Then I need a short siesta in the afternoon and can continue working pretty well in the evening.
But for such a full, productive day I need a good night’s sleep and a good start to the morning. A dramatic change, no matter what it is, usually doesn’t work for me, so I have changed my morning routine gradually and very slowly. I’m not a perfect role model or perfect Instagram girl who gets up at 5, makes pancakes or a fancy smoothie bowl every morning, then goes jogging for an hour, then meditates, does yoga, and then takes the bike to work. No, that’s not my goal at all and I don’t believe that it’s realistic for many life situations…Instead, I’ve incorporated small, mindful moments, changed my evening routine up a bit and managed to stop hitting the snooze button slowly but surely!
I’m not trying to convince you to get up 2 hours earlier. Instead, I’d like to provide some inspiration on how to make the morning more attentive and beautiful! As I said, the steps I have taken have been gradual and I didn’t change “over night” (haha). Today I will show you how to have a Mindful Morning in the hope that you will like it and maybe it will help you. Here it is:
Prepare for the morning the night before
In my opinion, a good morning starts the day before. What I do in the evening sets the stage for my next morning:
- Prepare breakfast: If I already prepared a delicious breakfast the day before then it not only saves me time, but I am already excited for the food when the alarm clock rings and this makes it much easier to get out of bed! This is honestly one of the “tricks” that works best for me personally. If I am looking forward to the great breakfast in the morning, then the snooze button can’t do anything to me! I will share my different breakfasts recommendations, including recipes, in the next Mindful-Morning blog post.
- Drink a lot: I do not mean that you should drink a lot just before going to sleep. That would be a bit impractical. But I notice that if I drink too little during the day, then the next morning I will start the day with less energy. Therefore: do not forget to drink! This applies to all types of morning people 🙂
- Good evening tea: Speaking of drinking, in the evening I like to have a warm drink and I always find all teas that call themselves “good evening tea” or something similar very soothing. Whether its the placebo effect or really good ingredients of the herbal teas, I end a busy, exciting day by preparing and enjoying a nice drink. By the way, my pillow spray, that I have taken pictures below and received from my friend Talisa, work similarly!
- Writing down a to-do list: It would be nice, of course, if I could really just drink away all negative thoughts and stress with such a tea, haha. Often, however, I get restless as I fall asleep because suddenly, at around 11:30pm everything important that I still need to finish comes to mind. I’m sure you know that feeling! What has helped me against this: write down a to-do list for the next day in the evening. Once I wrote it down I do not have to constantly think about it in the evening. And if I think of something else at midnight that keeps me awake, I just write it down and say to myself, “I can do this tomorrow.” The main thing is that I have written it down and won’t forget something important! It helps me soooo much, and that’s why it’s my second most important tip!
- Prepare your outfit / bag / gym bag the night before: As soon as my brain has to do something more “complicated” right when I wake up, I tend to hit snooze and be even more tired. Preparing what I need in the morning is just a simple tip that tricks my head and makes me get out of bed easier! And it saves time 🙂
- Switch off: Then it’s time to do something nice, not digital! I do not have a standard routine, but always do something different. For example, I love to practice ukulele in the evenings (before it gets too late). What’s also a nice ritual is to write down a list of things that you are grateful for from the day. Many also love to read, but at the moment I only listen to audiobooks.
- I think this point is self-explanatory, but to get up early and feel fresh, it’s important to go to bed at a reasonable time. I usually go to bed between 10 and 11 and then get up at 6:30 the next day. This is the perfect schedule for me. If I get into bed much later then I’ll quickly become a snoozer again …
- Put the cell phone away: Aaaand another very important point: either leave your cell phone outside the bedroom, or at least made set it to flight mode. I know it from experience way too well, being stuck on the phone just before falling asleep and checking social media. The huge amount of input stresses me subconsciously, instead of relaxing, and even worse is the blue light emitted by the devices which our brains register as daylight and suppresses the release of melatonin (a hormone important for circadian rhythms and should be released before going to sleep). So it is even more difficult to fall asleep. Therefore, the cell phone should be a no go an hour before going to bed. I have not (yet) banished it from my bedroom. I put it in flight mode and put it further away, but still need it as I still hear Audiobooks on audible in the evening. My long-term goal, however, is to banish the phone from the bedroom!
Positive start to the day
- One new thing that I have recently done is buy myself smart light bulbs. Using the app (see picture above) I can set them so that they slowly turn on at a certain time (as if the sun were slowly waking me up, this works the same way in the evening, slowly turning off). For me, I set the light so it reaches its maximum brightness level (and then set to daylight temperature) at 6:30. At that time, I have already slowly woken up. I think this is a very good way for me to make a slow transition from Snoozer to early bird. Everything else just did not work for me. You can find the starter set of bulbs that we bought here (Affiliate Link)
- My alarm then rings ten minutes later at 6:40 and I have managed to reduce it to hitting the snooze button a maximum of 1 time (except if I had a bad night, I get to bed late, or I’m feeling sick), since I am already a bit awake due to the wake-up mode of light bulb.
- Next, I grab a full glass of water right next to me, which I always put on my bedside table the evening before. I often feel really dry in the morning, which makes getting up even harder. After hydrating it makes it easier to get out of bed. Immediately afterwards, I either drink tea or hot water with lemon in the kitchen. Even in the summer! This way I try to continue hydrating.
- If I’m very motivated, but I don’t always do it, I’ll make my bed. This simple act helps me to have a conscious and happy start to the day. By doing that first thing in the morning I’ve already done something meaningful, so to speak!
- A routine is super important in the morning. I start working relatively early so I don’t have a lot of time for myself in the morning. But I will work on taking more personal time bit by bit.
- So far, I’ve freed up time for a healthy and hearty breakfast, as well as having time to practice latte art in the morning. The whole procedure of properly brewing the tea, blending it gently, gently frothing the milk and then slowly enjoying it, is a proper ceremony for me and helps me to get my body started.
- Every now and then, but very rarely, in the morning I do 15 minutes of yoga and meditation. To be honest, I prefer to do this at around 5:00 pm to get rid of the laptop for a short while (as a self-employed person this is sometimes very difficult. Everyone is different and likes doing sports or relaxing exercises at different times.
- Another nice routine is to have positive affirmations. Countless ideas can be found on Google. For me, so-called “neutral” affirmations help the most, for example:
- “Every day I believe more in myself”
- “I am not a model, but I like my hair and I am grateful for my healthy and slim body”
(You can read more about this here, I personally just like more realistic affirmations, because I am not the most self-confident person)
- I would like to start reading for 15 minutes after making my Latte Art. That’s why I recently asked for your book recommendations on Instagram. But everything in baby steps 🙂
- Aylin, a reader of mine, mentioned morning pages. Maybe that’s something for you? This method is designed to encourage creativity, help to organize thoughts and to write down and process negative emotions.
Way to Work
- Since I am now self-employed, I no longer have a daily commute. This is great for me because I can start working earlier and commuting in Berlin is not really the nicest. When I had to commute I I was always able to distract myself or keep myself busy. After some time, I was so annoyed by commuting that I considered a few new routines:
- Every now and then I got off one stop early and walked 10 minutes on foot – even in winter! I really enjoyed that!
- Since I had to change often, it was not worthwhile to take a book. I can only read in peace and it was not easy to read while standing or in 5 minute chunks. That’s why I switched to audiobooks. This way I was able to “read” at least one book a month! Sure, reading a real book is something else altogether, but I did not really have that option.
- After some time, I tried to do nothing while commuting, not listen to music or an audiobook, not hang on the phone. I just watched and consciously perceived everything. I did not do that every morning, but this very conscious time during my way to work, where I suddenly noticed mundane things more than before (the smell of the bakery, the super cute painted sign in front of the library, or the small, white dog which due to Rain and slush had mega ombre fur) and was a beautiful mindful, conscious moment!
- These are all tips for getting up and for when you are already on the way to whatever your day has in store for you, but I think that this counts as part of the morning routine, which prepares you for the whole day, but also the next morning
- Now that I’m self-employed, I start working on my laptop very early. At some point, however, I want to start going for a walk, e.g. to take my boyfriend to the subway, get myself out in the fresh air and then only after my walk start with my work. Because movement in the fresh air is really great for me and I can organize my thoughts well while going for a stroll. But again: everything in Baby Steps! I’m glad that I finally have kicked the snooze habit 🙂
For those of you who get up very early and therefore need to save time, the following points from above may help:
- Prepare breakfast, as well as some quick breakfast ideas (this will follow in an extra blog post)
- In general, prepare yourself for the morning the evening before
- Mini morning routine, even if it is still so small (like my Latte Art)
- Positive affirmations (the time can be completely freely divided, as I said, I prefer neutral / realistic :))
- Make your bed (can be done in a few seconds)
- Mindfully go through the morning and consciously perceive everything
What does your morning routine look like? Are there any similarities to mine, or does your morning look completely different? I know that many of you have a completely different life situation. I have read from some of you that you have to adapt to your children in the morning. Some work shifts or have to get up early. Do you still have a routine anyway, or still try to have at least 5 minutes to have a mindful morning? I would really like to know what that looks like for you.
And of course I hope that some of my ideas might help you to start the day more consciously and better! In the next Mindful Morning blog post I will share with you some breakfast ideas for all morning types. From Snoozer, to families, to the active athletic types!
After that I want to talk more about mindful exercises that I have touched on a little bit in this post. For example: conscious commute, positive affirmations, gratitude lists, meditation, etc. Does that interest you too? I just try to find a routine that suits me. Because, as I already mentioned, I will never become the perfect yoga, eso, meditation girl. I don’t want to. Journaling is not my thing either. I am more efficient and practical 🙂 Mindfulness is good for everyone and I just have to find my own way. Of course I will gladly share it with you and would love for you to share yours with me too 🙂
Have a nice day and I look forward to your feedback!