Do you ever want to fall asleep at work and/or scream at someone and/or cry because you feel absolutely miserable? I barely feel this way anymore. Partly because I found a job I actually enjoy (read: after I left my job at Tim Hortons in the middle of my first year of university, there was no going back to the stress of the fast food industry), but mostly because I’ve created a morning routine for myself that makes this Night Owl into a morning person (that is, for those days when I’m not up at the crack of dawn by choice on a beautiful late spring morning, happily gallivanting around Spanish, Ontario with my cousin… like in the photo above from April 2013).
Of course, I don’t look forward to getting up anywhere between 5:50 and 6:30am for work or school, but I’ve taught myself how to not feel like perishing as the direct result of it on a daily basis. On the days where I follow all five tips below, I can almost guarantee that despite maybe feeling a little groggy by late afternoon on my earlier mornings, at least I’ll be happy.
1. Get a good night’s sleep.
This seems like an obvious one, but if you’re anything like me, you get distracted by more and more things the closer it gets to what should be a decent bedtime. If you don’t get enough sleep, you’re going to be dead tired in the morning and thus, miserable AF. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got studying to do, books you want to read, people you want to hang out with — you’ll be studying the same thing and reading the same lines over and over again, nor will you be giving your full attention to whoever it is you’re hanging out with when you’re feeling sleep-deprived. Trust me, I’m the friend who has no trouble falling asleep on your couch mid-conversation (but I swear I’m a great conversationalist when I’m well rested).
Do yourself a favour and allocate enough time for your body to recover from the previous day. This time should be geared toward how many hours you personally need to feel alert enough to get through the following day.
2. Start off your day with positive affirmations.
This doesn’t have to be anything cliché like “I am great!” or “I will do amazing things with my life!” (though I would certainly suggest proclaiming these things too, because telling yourself is the first step toward bringing it to fruition). Instead, you can affirm to yourself daily things like “Today is going to be a good day” and “Today, I will do the best that I am capable of doing with the most of what I have.” These reminders to yourself can help to put you in a good mood, start off your day thinking positively, and go on to make you feel more confident — and consequently, more happy — about your day ahead.
3. Eat a proper breakfast.
Just like #1, this seems like another given, but I know so many people who skip out on breakfast. It not only gives you energy to get through the day, but it also kickstarts your metabolism and is correlated with decreased chances of acquiring diabetes or heart disease while improving concentration and memory.
Just eat a proper breakfast and you’ll feel so much better, okay?
4. Say “Good morning” to people you encounter on your way to work or school.
When I first moved to Toronto (permanently as an adult, that is), I acclimatized pretty quickly to the city’s notion that people who smile at you in public are either flirting with you or simply crazy. On the TTC, you’re staring blankly out of the window with your earbuds jammed in both ears to block out everyone around you, or you’re reading a book and never lifting your gaze from the pages your eyes are trained on. While walking, you avoid eye contact, staring straight ahead, and often use that aforementioned earbud tactic simultaneously. All of these are the well-established indications of the general proclamation: “please don’t bother me”. This was a bit of a contrast from my years living in the little village of Brooklin during high school, where people always smile at each other and nod in acknowledgement to the people they walk by. Where people you’ve never met before will wave at you when your cars pass on a side street, and pedestrians say “good morning” to everyone. I used to be one of these nice little small town-thinking folk who smiled at strangers and said good morning to people I didn’t know while making my way to the bus stop, or walking my dog.
When I moved to Toronto, I immediately adapted with the seemingly group mentality of minding your own business. It didn’t necessarily make my day worse, but it certainly didn’t make my day any better. I was incessantly consciously aware of not being overtly friendly, of avoiding it to be a true Torontonian.
I’m not going to lie, I still take the window seat on the bus or subway whenever it’s free while listening to my music to pass the time, or reading one of the countless novels I have piled up beside my bed that are waiting to be delved into. But I’ve decided that I want to say “good morning” to whoever is working the ticket booth, or driving the bus. To the driver as I exit the vehicle. To the cashier when I buy my morning tea, the security guards in the few buildings I’ve worked in over the past several years, the people I work with. I choose to, so I do.
Being consciously unfriendly doesn’t mesh well with my day, but being nice to other people who will, in turn, be friendly back to you, makes your day that much better.
5. Smile, even if you don’t feel like it.
One of the most important things I think I’ve learned as a psychology major is that smiling, even when it’s forced, will still have a positive impact on your mood. Either genuine or feigned, it will serve to decrease stress levels and anxious feelings because it releases endorphins. Plus, we’ve seen in our own lives that smiling is contagious; if you fake a smile, and someone genuinely smiles back, do you not feel your own smile become even slightly more real?
And in case you’ve not noticed, smiling makes people more attractive. Who finds a miserable looking person cute?
Well, there you have it: five great ways to start off your morning right. Make yourself happier in the morning to decrease (or hopefully altogether eliminate) the crankiness we usually feel setting in by noon.
Do you do any of these things on a daily basis, and do they work for you? Do you do other things to improve your morning? Let me know in the comments!
Have a great day!