The very mention of the hours between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. makes my skin crawl. There is something about that time of day that makes me wish time didn't exist. The only way I'm actually able to enjoy those hours is if I stay up the entire night before. After 10 hours of insomnia, light sure puts a fresh perspective on things.
The point is, I am the exact opposite of a morning person. When I have commitments that require me to be up and moderately functional before 9 a.m., I have a strict routine I follow so as not to upset my delicate "night owl" constitution. If you thrive when the sun goes down, try applying these practices to keep your cool during those dreadful morning hours.
- Set your alarm for at least 15 minutes BEFORE the time you actually want to get up. That way, as soon as it goes off, you can hit the snooze and sleep a little bit longer. Then, while you're drifting back to sleep, you can mentally prepare yourself for getting up as soon as the next alarm goes off.
- Take your time getting out of bed. When you hear your absolute final alarm, open your eyes slowly and take a few deep breathes to clear your head before thinking about your day. Gently wiggle your fingers and toes to reawaken your extremities. Be slow and methodical, allowing three to five minutes to gain gradual awareness.
- Pump the breaks on screen time. I mean, unless you've been waiting for some super important news that could potentially have arrived overnight and it's all you can think about. But, generally, allow yourself time to move around and get going for the day before looking at your phone or computer. Then, you can think about the things you really want to accomplish that day, as opposed to the things you think you should accomplish. Use your getting ready time as a chance to check in with yourself, see how you're feeling about the day, and give yourself a pep talk, if need be.
- Pack some protein in your breakfast. Pop some oatmeal into the microwave during your early morning routine, and start eating as soon as possible (fruit, yogurt and granola are also great options). The quicker you eat something healthy, the faster you will get some real energy.
- Plan for hijinks. A good rule of thumb is to start getting ready an extra 10-20 minutes before absolutely necessary. That way, if something unplanned comes up (with kids/pets/spouses/what have you), you can handle it without freaking out about time too much.
- Prep the night before. Be as prepared as possible for exactly what needs to happen in the morning and give yourself ample time to accomplish everything. If your day starts early and is jam-packed, you may want to consider mapping everything out the night before. This will help decrease any anxiety the next day, and help you feel relaxed and confident as you go about your business.
If you create your own terms in which to wake up in the morning, you will feel much less frustration when you do have those early morning obligations that threaten to destroy you. Take your time, ease your way into the day, and give yourself plenty of room for potential problems. And turn those early hours of the day from "dreadful" to "doable."