Put your hand up if this sounds like you: you go to sleep a happy and fabulous creature, but when the time comes to get up and start your day you find you’ve been replaced by a grumpy little bunny.
I don’t know about you, but my hand is waving around in the air like Hermione Granger’s. Mornings have a bad effect on me – I’m snappy, moody and the polar opposite of my best self.
But I’m not one to sit idly by when I see room for improvement in my life. I may not be a morning person (who is anyway?), but that doesn’t mean I can’t wake up happy and fabulous. In fact, there are lots of tricks to wake up happy and fabulous! If you also struggle with getting up in the morning, try this simple morning routine…
1. Keep a gratitude journal.
The first step to waking up happy actually starts before you even go to bed. At the end of every day, write down a list of things that made you happy – anything from a lady on the train complimenting your necklace to a double rainbow in the sky. Your entries can be as silly or profound as you’d like, as long as they make you smile and beam with pride at your own accomplishments.
2. Don’t reach for your phone.
Being glued to our electronic devices is awful for our well-being – and not just because of the radiation. I’m a great example of how bad social media can be for happiness and self-esteem. The online realm of likes, comments and shares is where I spend the majority of my time as a full-time travel blogger and it usually leaves me feeling like the least accomplished person in the universe.
A study of 82 young adults by the University of Michigan found out that the more they used Facebook, the more their life satisfaction levels dropped. So don’t start your morning by feeling envious of someone’s gorgeous engagement photos, baby announcement or vacation snaps – focus on yourself instead. Also, force yourself to leave the snooze button alone because it makes for a very frustrating way to start the day!
3. Take a moment to breathe.
Open the blinds and really let the light shine in. Then sit down somewhere comfortable, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Call it meditation, call it relaxation exercises, call it aligning your energy – all that matters is that you anchor yourself in the present. Push your shoulders back, become aware of where your body is touching the floor and how that feels.
Then take a deep breath through your nose into your tummy while counting to three, hold for a moment and then exhale through your mouth to the count of ten. Do this for at least four minutes – that’s generally how long it takes for your body to get the hint and relax as deeply as you’re asking it to.
4. Think happy thoughts
If you are still not feeling glum, try faking it till you make it. It sounds like lazy advice, but according to a study by the Journal of Positive Psychology (which is an actual field of academic study!) actively trying to feel happier will actually improve your mood. So smile like you mean it… and soon enough you will.
5. Do light exercise.
Now that you’re full of positive life force, get out of the bed and do some light exercise. You can do something more strenuous if you’d like, but some stretches and a few kicks to get the blood flowing should do the trick. The key is making your body and mind feel more awake, kick-starting your appetite and your will to get shizz done!
6. Hop in the shower.
I don’t know about you, but I always get my best ideas in the shower. It’s probably the only place where I can completely tune out the white noise of the outside world while simultaneously not feeling like I should be working or doing something more productive. So hop in the shower, use all your lovely-smelling products, lather up and scrub all the dirt off – yes, that includes negative thoughts!
7. Review your to-do list.
Much like the first step, this should also happen before you go to bed – but you can do it in the morning if you’d prefer. All you need is a very cute notebook and ambition! Jot down everything you need to do and when, and then set your mind to crossing every single item off before you call it a day.
It’s possible that some of the tasks will turn out to be useless or that a few issues will have magically fixed themselves already – but a good list will propel you forward and give you a sense of accomplishment when you look over it at the end of the day. Don’t be scared to give yourself ambitious goals, but keep it realistic given the timeframe. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was any million dollar start-up or successful blog!
Now, put together a delicious healthy breakfast and run out the door like the fabulous creature you are! With a morning routine like this, nobody can stop you from working your good magic and changing the world one day at a time.
What are your best tricks to wake up happy and fabulous and ready to seize the day? I’d love to hear your advice – acquiring a good morning routine has definitely been a steep learning curve for me and I’m discovering new things all the time!