I am definitely in the small majority when I say bedtime is probably my most dreaded time of day. Not because I hate sleeping - it is by far one of my favorite activities, I just happen to be terrible at it! (See my post about how I cope without caffeine here!)
With my recent entry into the full-time world of the workforce, however, my lifestyle of late and restless nights has become a serious problem. It is a far different thing to be fully functioning and energetic on little sleep for 40 hours a week compared to the handful of hours I was expected to attend class in college. Given that I don't drink caffeine (and haven't in almost nine years, including soda!) I've been struggling to find a way to fix this problem.
It has taken a while to adjust, and is definitely still a work in progress, but I've been forcing myself to try and become more of a "morning" person. Getting up an hour and a half earlier, making a smoothie for my walk to the gym and showering before work instead of late at night have been the biggest changes so far. It has definitely had its pros and cons, and most mornings I'm still grumbling and struggling not to yawn all the way up until I reach the elliptical machine, but once I get going I've started to love it.
Here are my new morning must-haves to help me become one of those "morning people" I've heard so much about...
Morning Workouts // No one has ever been more against this concept than me. I've never been a fan, and have always rolled my eyes and groaned whenever someone even suggested that I join them for an early workout class or run. A couple of weeks ago, it was 6am and I couldn't go back to sleep so I dragged myself out of bed and hit the gym - and lo and behold it was the first time in months that I didn't find myself falling asleep at work! I loved how alert I felt for the rest of the day, and having my workout behind me when I left work was a great feeling. I could head straight for the couch without the guilt of having skipped a workout.
Exercise your Brain, Too // The morning exercise routine has been great, but I've noticed that my energy boost lasts longer if I stay busy during my commute afterwards. I've started reading The Skimm to keep my brain awake and catch up on what I missed during the (few) hours I was sleeping. It only takes five minutes, and it gives me something to read on the train. (I also read my Kindle app on the train, and it's one of my favorite ways to relax and have time to myself in the morning).
Make a Healthy Grab-n-Go Snack // I have never been a fan of breakfast. The thought of food when I first wake up grosses me out, and I don't exactly love breakfast foods or starting my day by feeling full. However, with morning workouts and many hours before lunchtime, I can't exactly rely on an empty stomach to get me by, and with everything I'm trying to accomplish before work I don't have time to cook. Enter, my new favorite grab-and-go smoothie maker - Hamilton Beach Single-Serve Blender, $15. Cheap, easy, and all you do is blend and grab! This combined with a few carefully selected snacks to munch on keep me happy and energized all morning long. (Be on the lookout for my favorite morning snacks and smoothie recipes soon!)
Like I said, it's still a work in progress and it has a learning curve but so far these have been the biggest changes, and overall I'm happy about them! (just don't ask me how happy I am about them at 5:45am...)
Does anyone else have any great tips for getting going in the morning?