17 Ways to Have More Fun in the Morning
Alarm goes off. Hit snooze. Alarm goes off nine minutes later. Turn it off. Scroll through Instagram. Reply to emails. Roll out of bed. Get dressed. Grab your coffee. Run out the door. Stress about being late for work. Sound familiar? What if there was one new habit you could add to your morning routine to set the tone for a less stressful and more successful day? You’re in luck! Here are 17 snooze-proof morning-routine tweaks to try. They’ll save you time, increase your energy, improve your productivity and boost your mood.
1. Dance and Sing Yourself Awake
Foxtrot your way to the bathroom, grab the mic (OK, hairbrush) and start your day with a happy dance that puts you in that feel-good state of mind. Author Pam Grout brought to light this wake-up experiment in her book “E-Cubed” to not only uplift your morning, but also to transform your life. According to Grout, the more joy you have in life, the better your life works as a whole. “By consciously starting your day focused on gratitude and joy, you’ll find that your whole life will begin to sparkle,” she says. So put on your headphones (especially if you live with others), turn up the volume and dance like no one is watching. It’s 6 a.m.: Who’s watching, anyway?
2. Let Email and Social Media Wait for You
Uh-oh! Your phone alarm went off, and now your cell is in your hands! Danger! As a person living in the age of social media, what are you likely to do? It’s become a habit to hit up a social media first thing — whether you intend to or not. But before you check out Facebook, remind yourself that the morning is your time. Your Twitter followers and colleagues can wait for your responses. Imagine what else you can do now that you’re not mindlessly double-tapping for five to 10 minutes. Meditate? Do yoga? Dance? Journal? Read? Make breakfast? There are so many mindful ways to dedicate your waking moments to yourself.
3. Have Sex
Work up a morning sweat and release endorphins without ever leaving the bed. Debby Herbenick, Ph.D., author of “Because It Feels Good,” says that morning sex helps people have healthier and happier days and leaves them with that “healthy glow.” If you need another reason (and you probably don’t), neuroscientists from Rutgers University found that orgasms increase blood flow and oxygenation and bring nutrients to the brain. Having sex isn’t only a physical exercise, it’s a mental one that boosts your mood and enhances your mental sharpness for the rest of the day.
4. Work Up a Quick Sweat
Emphasis on “quick.” The thought of getting up to work out for 60 minutes may seem daunting, but if you know that you only need to push yourself for seven minutes, imagine how your day and body will transform. And your metabolism will give you brownie points for speeding it up! The American College of Sports Medicine found that those who exercised vigorously burned about 190 more calories within 14 hours post-workout compared to the days they didn’t work out. And you only need to implement this habit two to three times per week to reap the benefits.
5. Jump in a Cold Shower
Start your day the James Bond way with an ice-cold shower. This may sound chilling, but a cold shower (or at least a few minutes of cold water) is an optimum way to jump-start the health of your body and mind. The shock of a cold shower has been proven to strengthen your immune system and circulation and can aid in weight loss by activating brown fat (the good fat that keeps your body warm). The shock also releases a rush of blood through your body by increasing your heart rate, which increases your mental alertness for the day. And according to a study by Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, a cold shower can be a treatment for depression.
6. Sleep With Your Blinds Partially Open
Align your body clock with the rise of the sun by waking up to light. Sometimes your mind tricks you into thinking you have more time for sleeping in if the room is dark. Open or partially open your blinds or curtains to let the light in so your mind and body know it’s time to seize the day. The sunlight is also a natural mood booster, helping you wake up with a more positive mindset.
7. Bask in the Sun
A sunny feeling is synonymous with being happy for a good reason. Spend five to 10 minutes feeling the rays of the sun against your skin for a brighter day. Sunlight has been found to make you happier by increasing your serotonin (the feel-good hormone) levels. According to researchers from the Baker Heart Research Institute in Melbourne, the brain’s serotonergic activity increases as it’s exposed to the sun and affects your mood. The researchers discovered that your serotonin levels are lowest in the winter and peak in the summer due to the duration of bright sunlight. Also, sunlight supplies the body with vitamin D, which helps maintain high levels of serotonin.
8. Keep Words of Wisdom in Sight
You just woke up after a terrible night, and you’re not ready to face the new day — until your eyes glimpse Gandhi’s words on your mirror: “The future depends on what you do today.” Now you can choose to feel better and let go of yesterday’s worries. Post an inspirational quote that resonates with you. It could be about positivity, health, fitness, friendship, success, love or whatever you want to focus on first thing in the morning.
9. Sip Hot Lemon Water
Rehydrate like a nutritionist first thing in the morning. Drinking hot lemon water has become a health trend because of its many detoxifying benefits. The lemon’s vitamin C and potassium stimulate brain and nerve function to boost your immune system. Lemon may be an acidic food, but it becomes alkalinized when it’s metabolized, thereby balancing your pH level. And a lemon’s pectin fiber will aid in weight loss by fighting hunger cravings. The warm water is soothing and helps aid your digestion. Together they detoxify the body by acting as a natural diuretic to flush out toxic materials.
10. Do Shots
Save the alcohol for later, but whip up this morning shot instead: apple cider vinegar, turmeric, ginger and a natural sweetener like maple syrup or stevia. Pour this concoction in a shot glass, say cheers and reap the benefits. This detoxing sip has been shown to aid in weight loss, promote digestion, balance blood sugar levels, boost the immune system, lower high blood pressure, eliminate odor-causing bacteria (aka morning breath) and improve your stamina. And the sweetener will make this shot slightly more bearable.
11. Include Something Fun on Your To-Do List
Entrepreneur and motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said, “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” Apply this thought to your everyday routine to make sure there’s time carved out for you. Not just the work you need to do for your career or for others; this is about what you can do for you. Spa time? Yoga? Meditation? Massage? Journaling? Reading? Shopping? What is something in which you truly take pleasure? Before you begin your work, set a mandatory date with yourself that allows for 30 minutes or more so you have something to look forward to. That way, when chaos storms in during the day, at least you know that you get to enjoy that massage later.
12. Word Vomit Your Thoughts
Try author Julia Cameron’s “morning pages” theory. Write three pages of whatever comes to mind first thing in the morning. Writing out all the noise in your head in a journal allows room for a creative, focused, productive and positive day and can relieve any negative feelings. Most people’s minds start running wild the moment they get up. And sometimes the best way to let go of the distracting thoughts is to get them out. And because this is for your eyes only, don’t overthink what you’re writing. Don’t worry about eloquence, word choice or punctuation. No one is grading this. Feel free to do this for three pages or, if you’re on a time crunch, just set your timer for five minutes.
Quiet your busy mind before it takes over with a mindful meditation the moment you rise. It’s no secret that meditation has exponential mental benefits — like boosting your mood, reducing stress, increasing productivity, improving concentration and lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and risk of heart disease and stroke. Set your timer for at least two minutes and focus on your breath. No need to worry about silencing all your thoughts, just turn your attention to your breath whenever you get distracted. When you allow yourself a moment of stillness and peace when you rise, your entire day can be transformed in a happier and more productive way.
14. Invest in a Coffeemaker With a Timer
Imagine waking up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee every morning. No need to put your mental energy into making a cup — just pour, serve and enjoy. Hearing the machine filtering the water and the coffee dripping into the pot might also make a good alarm. Set the timer for two to five minutes before you intend to get out of bed so your coffee is ready to pour and at the ideal temperature. Bonus: You just added an extra five to eight minutes to your morning.
15. Light an Energizing Scented Candle
Inhale deeply and breathe in these naturally energizing and awakening scents that aromatherapists use to transform their day: citrus, jasmine, peppermint and rosemary. Citrusy smells, such as those from lemons and oranges, boost your body’s feel-good hormone (aka serotonin). Jasmine increases beta waves, the brain waves associated with alertness. Peppermint has also been shown to increase beta waves, along with enhancing performance and focus. And rosemary can prepare your mind to perform the day’s tasks faster and more efficiently.
16. Prep Breakfast the Night Before
Assemble your most important meal of the day the night before to save time — not to mention your waistline. It’s easy to reach for a quick bagel or processed nutrition bar. But if you prep a nourishing breakfast the night before, then you’ve made the healthy choice an easy one. This may be especially beneficial for people with co-workers who love bringing boxes of doughnuts to the office. Prepare a healthy, nourishing breakfast to look forward to; it will help get you out of bed with a healthier mindset.
17. Lay Out Your Outfit Before Bed
After you prep your breakfast, why not also lay out an outfit you’re excited to wear? Whether you’re a fashionista or not, choosing an outfit in those valuable morning minutes consumes the time you could dedicate to yourself before you hit the office. Plus, when you can choose an outfit you’re excited to wear, you’re more likely to feel good the rest of the day. Lay everything out the night before to get excited about getting dressed up and save yourself five or more minutes. What would you do with that extra time?
What Do YOU Think?
Do you have a morning routine in place? What do you do? Which of these 17 snooze-proof routines will you try tomorrow morning? Set the intention now that you’re prepared to wake up feeling excited to get out of bed and enjoy every morning for the rest of the year.
Raquelle Ross is a yogi, lover of real, healthy food & unabashed coffee addict. She's a believer in finding time to break a sweat daily and is a fan of yoga, running, hiking, circuit training and Pilates. On her healthy lifestyle blog, theholisticblogger.com, Raquelle share recipes made with heathy, clean ingredients and geeks out over all-things fitness.