Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Morning Habits You Can Do

When the New Year hit, I came up with my resolutions, and one of them was to do my Bible study every day. If I'm being honest, I struggled with when I should do it - morning?, afternoon?, before bed? - because I wanted to pick a realistic time so that I would actually stick to doing it every day. I quickly realized that if I also wanted to be active three days a week (another resolution), that my afternoons needed to be open for that, as well as other things like errands, spending time with Chris, writing on this blog, laundry, cooking dinner, etc.

So then I tried doing it before bed…and that was a complete failure. Most nights I couldn't keep my eyes open long enough to get through the first scripture reading. So that left morning time. Let me start off my saying, I am not a morning person….but I've always wanted to be. I've always loved the thought of quiet mornings to yourself, getting a head start on your day, and not having that rushed feeling while walking out the door for work. However, I could never bring myself to get up any earlier than I already do.

I've always read other peoples' blogs on how they start off their mornings, and I am always a little jealous of their routine because they are able to fit so much in during the morning hours. Why? Most of them don't have to be at work until 8 or later - giving them handfuls of more time than I have in the mornings. Other posts I have read are of people who work from home, so their mornings look totally different than mine. Everything I was reading about a healthy morning routine included things like getting a full workout in, cooking a full breakfast, and even having time to take the dog walk, or listen to a podcast to get their day going. These are things that I just cannot fit in during my morning hours.

I have to be at work at 7:00 AM, which means I have to leave my house no later than 6:30 AM. So my morning is definitely pushed for time. But then I told myself to stop making excuses, and to suck it up and find a way to not only get my Bible study in every morning, but to also make mornings a little more enjoyable for myself. So, since the start of the new year, I have been doing these 5 morning habits. I focused on coming up with things that I can do - things that work for me and my early mornings. They aren't too strenuous or time consuming, but I promise you that if you can make the commitment to doing these five small things every morning, it will make all the difference on how your mood is when leaving the house for work, and in turn, how the rest of your day will go.

1. Wake up earlier.
This was the first thing I had to come to tackle in order to fit the other habits in. I was the person who would push the snooze button at least 3x and get up in just enough time to get myself ready, make a coffee to go, and head out the door. So how did I start waking up earlier? I bought an alarm clock (cheap $10 one from Wal Mart), put it on the other side of the room (farthest away from my bed as I possibly could), and set it for 45 minutes earlier than the time I had been waking up. Now, I literally have to get out of the bed and walk across the room to turn the alarm off, and I DO NOT let myself get back in that bed. So instead of rolling out of bed around 5:45 AM and having to leave at 6:30 AM, I am now getting up at 5:00 AM - giving myself an hour and half to have a good morning start. So what do I do with that time?

2. Stretch. 
The first thing I do is stretch. Since I don't have time to get my workouts done in the morning, I stretch instead. Stretching is a good way to energize your mornings and instantly relieve stress that you may be feeling from the previous day or ease a funky sleeping position. It helps me to wake up and get my blood flowing. Remember to stretch gently, because the best time to stretch is when your muscles are warm (after a workout), or you can do a few jumping jacks to get your muscles warmed up - and then stretch more deeply if you would like. I do just a few gentle stretches, like these (my favorites are #1, 2, 5, and 8), and I literally do them in my pajamas in the bathroom. It's quick, easy, and gets me moving for the day!

3. Drink water. 
This might seem so simple, but it was something I wasn't doing. I always went straight for the coffee in the morning, not even thinking about how my body needs water. After reading the advantages of drinking water in the morning, I decided to start with a water first thing in the morning instead of a coffee. So after I stretch, wash my face, and let Louie out (because he, of course, gets up with me and stares at me with confusion while I'm stretching on the bathroom floor), I make a cup of warm lemon water to sip on. I decided to go for lemon water after reading this, but of course any water will do - just drink water!

4. Have some quiet time. 
This is where my Bible study comes in - and y'all, there is something so peaceful about having your quiet time in the wee hours of the morning, when the house is quiet and the sun is barely peaking through. I love turning on a few lamps, curling up in my cozy chair in the living room, and just diving straight in to God's word. It is the time of day where I feel most at peace, and for twenty minutes or so, I focus solely on what God has to say to me for the day ahead. Right now I am studying Ephesians from She Reads Truth (if you're looking for Bible studies, I highly recommend this site/app), and I meet with a group of girls from work once a month to discuss what God has taught us through the study. I can't explain the difference of how I feel going through my day after having some one on one Jesus time in the mornings - but it is so worth getting up extra early for!

5. Eat breakfast. 
I know your like…duh. We've heard all our lives that it's important to eat breakfast, right? Well, I've known that for years, obviously, but have never really been a breakfast person. A lot of that probably has to do with the fact that I didn't get up in enough time to make breakfast, settling for a few (ok several) cups of coffee instead. Not good. Since starting Weight Watchers, I've learned just how important breakfast is, and how fueling yourself up in the morning helps you to control what you eat the rest of the day (instead of not eating breakfast and your starving by lunch, so you scarf down anything you can get your hands on - that was me). Now that I have more time in the mornings, I make to sure eat something - like a bagel, oatmeal, or a yummy sausage and egg muffin that I make a batch of on Sundays to have for the week (I'll be sharing that recipe soon - stay tuned!). Fueling up for the day definitely helps me stayed more focused and get through those morning hours of teaching my 4th graders!

Now, that's not a hard morning routine to follow is it? I'm not getting a full workout in, or making omelets every morning, but I am doing 5 simple things that really help me to start my day off right. And the good thing about these habits is everyone can do them. No matter what time you have to be at work, or if your work place is in your home…these are habits you can do. Just start with #1 - wake up a little earlier to get your mornings off to a better start! What does your morning look like - do you have any morning routines or habits that you love? Please share and thanks for stopping by!
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