Waking up is hard to do...for some of us, that is. For me, some mornings it seems impossible. Not for dreadful reasons like fearing the day, the rain outside, or lack of sleep. It's really because I love my bed so much. Sleeping, I confess, is something I cherish. Being able to sleep well is something I cherish more.
Several months ago though I underwent a very big change in lifestyle and took on a job that allows me the fortunate ability (some would say) to work from home. Although this most likely sounds like a dream to most, for me it was a huge change in pace. And the fact that I love my bed so much (in a tiny studio apartment, which hosts my work space, as well) naturally was something I needed to learn to let go of, and quick.
For some of us, waking up is hard to do for other reasons so I thought I'd share some of the tricks I've taught myself with the help of thousands of articles, friends' advice and simple things I've managed to implement successfully on my own.
Here's my morning routine to trick myself into waking up joyfully.
First and foremost, let's get it out of the way and address the alarm clock. I'm admittedly getting to the age where I'm waking up earlier and could probably manage to do without this terrible noise machine, but most days I rely on it as my rooster. Without it, the majority of the morning would blissfuly pass me by while I snoozed unaware of the horrific mistake I was making. Why wake up to something that sounds so unpleasant? Why not try waking up to something that is more arousing? Something that makes us less solemnly aware of the fact that the night has come and gone. So I tried music... a lot of us have iPhones that host the functionality of alarm clocks and play music at the same time. And if not, we at least have the option of setting our alarm clock, no matter how dated it is, to play the radio instead of that horrible buzzing. It worked... music makes me wake up in a different way, slower, but better. More aware and happier, compared to the angry feeling I would get with something screaming at me in my ear.
Next, the windows. If you sleep in a room that has windows that receive direct sunlight, try sleeping with the blinds open. Don't get me wrong, I'm not asking you to expose all of your dirty work to the onlookers at night. Just think about opening them back up before you fall asleep. For me, it allows me to wake up to the sunlight the next morning and helps me get my day started right. Note, if you know it's going to be a rainy day you may opt for keeping the blinds closed, as a rainy day can have the opposite effect for some, I know it does for me.
Don't junk up your nightstand with a bunch of clutter. Make it pretty and put something attractive on it as it will most likely be the first thing you look at in the morning when you reach for the musical alarm clock that you've now started using. I keep a purple orchid by my side along with a stack of books, lotion and a candle called Florence by Tocca. This is your personal space so do what works best for you with it.
Try coffee on stand by. Again this work-from-home situation has allowed me all kinds of lifestyle changes and making coffee at home is one of them. (Sorry Starbucks!) Another lovely thing to look forward to in the AM is the smell of fresh brewing coffee. If you don't already have one, buy a coffee maker with a programer on it for a self timer. It's well worth the money, and you only have to spend three minutes prepping at night before you go to bed. Morning comes and waa-la!, you've successfully stimulated your nose in the same way you have your eyes with the open windows and ears with the alarm clock. After you've managed to physically pull yourself out of bed showering and eating come next.
A shower in the morning always helps stimulate and awaken sleepy heads. I've heard rumors and read articles about certain scents that help to energize, but never gave it much thought until now. I'm a big fan of having multiple bath products to choose from in the shower, so give one of these restorative body washes a whirl and let us know if you agree that it helps. Try Dove Burst Body Wash in Nectarine & White Ginger or Nivea's Touch of Happiness Body Wash in Orange Blossom & Bamboo.
Finally, eat something. Never skip breakfast, even if you only eat an energy bar. I switched to eating protein in the morning a while back, and it's changed my outlook on each day for the better. Try eggs, a tofu scramble or peanut buttered toast. These are all simple solutions to fill an empty belly and to get the day started off on the right foot.
Some other things to think about: turning on a morning show, reading the paper, or just listening to the radio can contribute to a lovely morning routine. Being that I'm not a morning person, I don't do it enough but I swear... I would work out, if I could. I work out several days of the week but it never tends to fall before noon. Getting a brisk walk or a jog in first thing never hurts and can help pick things up pretty quickly.
Signing off Awake,
Renee Woodruff blogs about travel, food and living life to its fullest on Shape.com. Follow her on Twitter.