Early morning walk in Ireland

How to become a morning person

My plan to become a morning person was hatched over the Christmas holidays. As I always do when the new year is looming, I put pen to paper and was plotting my grand plans for 2022. The only problem was: where would I find the time? Over the festive break, I took a long, hard look at how I was spending my days and quickly realised my night owl habits were no longer serving me or my precious time. Getting up early, now that would change everything! Who knew?! The only problem was…I’m not, and never have been, a morning person. Morning monster maybe.

Since then, I’ve slowly, slowly, slowly become less of a gremlin in the AM. As I write this, I’ve been naturally waking up around 5.30am and – the biggest shocker of all – I love it. This eyes-open-at-the-crack-of-dawn phase has coincided with the brighter mornings and the dawn chorus, so we’ll see if I’m still up and at ‘em when the darker mornings of winter roll around. For now, I love my new routine and can’t believe I used to feel the rage when I had to wake up before 7. If you also want to get more out of your day, and/or be less of a grouch before you’ve had your coffee, here’s how I have become a morning person.

Set your alarm early and stop snoozing

Whoa! Is your mind blown by this radical suggestion? I first got into the early bird groove when I had to travel painfully early a few times and, before I knew it, I naturally started to wake up close to the earlier alarm time, instead of rolling out of bed 30 minutes before work. Importantly, I actually got up when I woke up, instead of lazing in bed thinking of things I did 15 years ago. Before I knew it, my eyes would just open earlier and earlier, until I stopped needing an alarm.

Create a morning routine you look forward to

Having a routine you actually look forward to will really make getting out of bed a lot less painful. For me, I love nothing more than plodding down the stairs to get my morning cup of coffee, opening the blinds and windows for fresh air, then getting back into bed with coffee and a book. My goal is to eventually meditate in the morning, but for now, I stare at the window and think a positive affirmation. Even something so simple like “today is going to be a good day” works to start the day with a positive mindset. Then I shower, apply lotions and potions, drink a smoothie, and dress for my morning walk.

Grab those endorphins before work

I used to exercise on my lunch break but I found that I couldn’t stop thinking about the email I had to send or something stupid I said on a Zoom call that nobody else even heard. I listen to so many interviews with health and wellness experts and they always say to get your circulation moving and endorphins flowing early in the day. Now I walk for 50 minutes every morning and I genuinely feel revitalised and ready to face the day. I do notice that I have to eat more and a lot earlier just to keep my energy levels up, but I’m not complaining about that.

Caffeine – just say no

Since I turned 30 coffee started to make me jittery and there was a clear connection between the 6 cups I was downing and the “wait, is this a heart attack or anxiety?” chest pains I was regularly getting. I’ve been slowly cutting down for years (or slowly talking about cutting down) and this year I finally took the plunge. I am now a decaf queen. I have one “real” coffee first thing in the morning (but eventually I’d love to ditch that too) but for the rest of the day I drink pints of hot water, turmeric lattes, or a decaf oat milk latte. My biggest fear was that I’d be a groggy mess by 2pm, but surprisingly, I am pretty alert.   

Create a night-time routine you look forward to

I feel like it can only be a good thing to book-end your days positively. Just like having a morning routine you enjoy, having a wind-down routine is essential. I start to wind down around 7.30pm when I’m usually finished doing yoga. I listen to a podcast, clean my face, get a shower, and really take my time applying my favourite body lotion and skincare. AImost every night I spend 15 minutes with my legs up the wall (hips as close to the wall to get a good hamstring stretch) while reading a book. I always watch TV or a movie before bed. I’m currently bingeing on Melrose Place and it’s brain candy I 100% recommend.   

Early to bed, early to rise

I quickly figured out that I couldn’t go to bed late and still expect to get up at 6am and function for the rest of the day. Early works both ways or not at all. As well as getting into bed early (we’re talking well before 10pm) I don’t allow phones in the bed any more. No late night or early morning doom-scrolling. I used to honestly spend up to 2 hours a night reading gossip and snark sites (cringe) before I realised what a colossal waste of time that was. Disturbingly, I still feel the addictive pull of my phone at night, but ditching the blue screen has made the biggest difference to my quality of sleep. You won’t go from night owl to lively lark without getting proper sleep, trust me.

Liked this post? You might also enjoy positive habits I picked up during the pandemic.

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