For most of us, waking up is hard to do. The internet is full of articles encouraging us to embrace our inner early bird, imitate successful tycoons who are rising at the crack of dawn, and increase our productivity by getting in a full day’s work before our actual day has even begun! You probably already know the classics: putting your alarm clock far away from your bed; getting a full night’s sleep, but here are some lesser known ideas that just might make your start of the day so much happier!
Laughter isn’t just the best medicine; it’s the best wake up call as well. When I was paying my way through university, I once had a total of 12 part-time jobs along with a full degree course-load. One of my regular jobs had me home at 1 a.m. every morning, whilst my next shift needed me up by 6. Needless to say I was in desperate need of some way to jerk my brain into action. The trick I found was to switch on my computer and stream some YouTube videos of my favourite stand up comedy. As I was getting ready, the jokes I was hearing would invariably provoke a chortle, then a chuckle, then an all out peal of laughter and before I knew it, endorphins were racing through my system and I was good to go! If you can’t muster the strength to laugh, try thinking of something that makes you smile.
2. Light & Fresh Air
If you live near the equator then natural sunlight is your best friend. Those of us further north or south can utilise the early morning sun during the summer months, but have to make do with artificial light in the winter. Whatever its source, exposing yourself to light as soon as you get out of bed will trigger your body’s natural tendency to associate daylight with being awake and alert.
If you’re feeling really groggy, there’s nothing like a breath of fresh air to clear your head and your lungs. If you can, go for a walk, but make sure you’re not too covered up. Colder, slightly bracing temperatures are better for keeping you awake as they force your heart to work harder to keep the rest of your body warm. If you can’t go out, then opening a window or door to let in some fresh air should do the trick.
3. Reward yourself
One of the best ways to do something you just don’t feel like doing is creating an immediate, gratifying incentive for doing it. If you’re dreading the sound of that alarm clock every morning, plan something exciting as a reward for obeying its wretched call and actually getting out of bed. Food is one of my favourite rewards, and I usually set up the breakfast table with my favourite china (I’m old school like that), and plan a scrumptious breakfast of pancakes, oatmeal or a classic English fry-up. Other ideas could be a work-out, if you’re an exercise nut, or a nice soak in a luxurious bubble bath… whatever works for you.
4. Streamline your Morning Routine
I would imagine this goes without saying but plan ahead as much as you can. You don’t want to associate waking up with stress and last minute panic. Streamline your morning routine as much as you can. Get as much done the night before as possible: your outfit, your bag, your lunch, any items you need with you for the day, kids’ clothes and belongings if you have them. You may find that as your morning routine becomes more of a breeze you might actually begin to look forward to getting up and starting your day.
5. Get Talking
Talk to someone. Anyone. One of the easiest ways of jump starting the little grey cells is by engaging in conversation, ideally with a responsive participant, although even a pet or a plant will do if you’ve got enough to say! Talking gets you listening, interpreting and responding, all activities which naturally and gently get your brain into gear for the upcoming day.
Above all, remind yourself of why it is, you are getting up, whether it’s a personal goal or an unavoidable need, and use that to motivate yourself on those really tough mornings. Experiment to find whatever works for you and you too will surely find yourself waking up happy!