Credit: Flickr/Jamie McCaffrey
Most morning routines are a simple function of maximizing the minutes you stay in bed, avoiding the stark truth that you have stuff to do, and minimizing the probability that, in the mad rush that ensues, you leave the house having forgotten your insulin pump or other life-sustaining gear you'll need. Usually food.
Unfortunately, looking around for healthy morning routines yields advice that involves buying a trampoline, fitting 22 activities into 30 minutes, or resigning yourself to the fact that not being a morning person dooms you to a sad life. Better news: if you're trying to spruce up your morning routine, there are only five things a normal person realistically needs to do before stumbling out of the house.
Get up the first time
Not only does hitting the snooze button repeatedly give you interrupted sleep that leaves you groggy and makes anyone sleeping next to you hate you, but it also gets you off to a pretty miserable start. As you drift in and out of sleep, terrifying things pop into your head: "No food in the fridge... texting that girl from last night... getting in early today for that call you completely forgot about... uuughhhh!"
Therapist Melissa Parks strongly advises against this approach: "That extra time in bed can lead your mind to wander and obsess and worry about everything you have going on that day." It might feel bad in the moment, but you'll wind up feeling worse if you lie there for an hour stuck between sleep and consciousness, dreading the day.
Not really the best advice in life these days, but doing it while you're still in bed is A) definitely going to take longer than you think and B) will also most likely make you freak out. "It's not your to-do list," writes productivity expert Sid Savara. Seriously -- those emails are the things that everyone else wants you to do, but for the first 5% of your day, they can go screw themselves. Never Check E-mail in the Morning is even the title of a real book by "Oprah's favorite organizing expert," so, yeah, what more do you need? You can recommend this approach to anyone who takes issue with your lack of timely responses first thing in the morning, but it's probably best to make this change on the sly.
Move your body
Sleep... or exercise... sleep... or exercise? If you're one of those motivated people who's going to skip out on a full hour of sleep to get into your workout clothes, get fit, and get showered, great, that makes one of us. Otherwise, you should give up on the idea of turning your morning routine into a killer ab workout.
All you need to do is take literally a few minutes to do something a little bit active. "Getting your blood pumping in the morning is a good kick start to your cardiovascular, respiratory, and... metabolic systems," says nutrition and fitness expert Juli Huddleston. The idea isn't to get in shape, but to get your body into gear. "Doesn't have to be much: a few jumping jacks, push-ups, sit-ups, walking the dog, or doing some stretches and yoga poses." If you can roll out of your bed and onto the floor for a stretch, congratulations! You're already getting somewhere.
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