Successful Mornings

The way you begin your morning can set the pace for the whole day. Sleep in, and the day may feel as though it is dragging. Wake up early, check some things off your to-do list, feel accomplished, and it can seem like your day abunda más. The intention of this week’s blog post is to share some tips on how to seize the day, by making the most of our mornings.

Before we get to the tips, let’s look at two different examples of a week day for the same person. One day, they sleep in. The other day, they wake up early.  As you read these two examples, I want you to reflect and see if your work days ever go like this. I will use myself as an example.

Example 1- Sleeping in:

I start work at about 8 am. I get out of bed at 7 am. I rush to get ready for work, and drive to work stressed that I’ll be late. It’s when I am rushing like this that I tend to forget things too. Perhaps I’ll forget my lunch or gym bag. I start my day feeling overwhelmed. That feeling spills into my work day.

If I slept in, chances are I am a little late to work. Hehe oops. I make up for lost time. The feeling of not having enough time exhausts me. After 8 hours, I leave work, feeling tired and drained. 

Somehow, after work, I make it to the gym. I drag my feet during my workout. I finish a workout at the gym and come home to shower. I rush through my shower so that I have enough time to cook dinner.

By the time dinner is ready, it’s late. I finally sit on the couch and cannot seem to get off of it. Finally feeling relaxed, I stay up waaaaay too late with the TV. Eventually, I crawl into bed, dreading the idea of doing this all again tomorrow.

In other words, I basically go through my day looking like this little guy. 

No pues wow. Is that any way to live? I feel like on days like this, I go through my day with a lack mentality: I don’t have enough time. I don’t have enough energy. 

Example 2: Waking Up Early

My alarm goes off at 5 am. I get a morning workout in and sometimes see the sunrise through the large windows at the gym. I come home, shower, and make a smoothie. I drive to work sipping my smoothie knowing that I’ve smashed a workout, drank over a liter of water and am putting something yummy and nutritious in my body for breakfast. 

I get to work and feel alert. I focus on my tasks. By the time I leave work, I look forward to having a whole evening to myself. I get home and work on my side hustle. I have fun cooking dinner, rather than rushing through it. I enjoy my meal with my spouse; the time we spend together feels like quality time. I go to bed early, excited to do it all again tomorrow. 

On days like these, I think to myself, “wow I can’t believe I have time to do this!” Or, “wow I have so much energy right now!” I feel grateful, and do not feel overwhelmed. I have an abundance mentality on this type of day. I feel like there is more than enough time and energy to do what I need to do.

I look and feel like this.

Between those two example days, which day would you prefer? Which of the two do you find yourself experiencing more often than not? Are your days more like the first example? More like the second? Or somewhere in the middle?

Mornings Matter

If you are not a morning person, then it may take a lot of caffeine, incentives and persuading to get you up and going. A lot of us can totally relate. Regardless of an inclination to sleep in, however, we must understand the value of waking up early and tackling the day. It changes everything.

If you’re already a morning person, power to you! (Please share your hacks in the comments below cause ya homie B Money and a lot of us in the Compton Health Bar community need yo’ help!) If you are not a morning person, how do you go from groggy and rushed mornings to elated and successful mornings? It may be simpler than you think. How you feel in the morning is connected with what you do at night. Our day and night cycles are both part of our circadian rhythm and work in tandem with one another.

Prepare for Success Ahead of Time

If a homie drinks a bottle of wine before bed and goes to bed at 1 am, chances are, they won’t be able to get out of bed at 5 am. However, if that same homie unwinds at night with some chamomile tea and hits the hay by 9 pm, then their likelihood of waking up at 5 am the next day vastly increases. What you do the night before will directly affect your morning. So, what should we do in the evening to prepare for a successful, less stressful, morning? A nighttime routine can compliment your morning routine. The following tips can help contribute to a restful night, which will help you achieve a more rested morning. 

Nighttime Hacks that lead to Smooth Mornings  

Set your alarm— it may go without saying, but forgetting to set my alarm has messed me up before. Has this ever happened to you? I can’t be the only one! 

Unwind before bed with yerbitas — Chamomile tea or The Stress Blend from Compton Health Bar can help you relax before bed. 

Have your clothes and shoes ready —The less things you have to do in the morning, the smoother things will go, every time.

Set up your automatic coffee timer, if you have one — just the smell of coffee in the morning is enough to put a pep in anyone’s step.

White Noise — Listening to white noise can help lull you to sleep. I like the white noise at this link because it’s free (ayyyye) and because it turns off on its own in 15 minutes. That is roughly how long it takes for a person to drift off to sleep.

Try your best to not use electronics in bed— You can achieve this by having a “do not disturb” timer on your phone (say from 9 pm to 6 am). You can also turn off the blue light setting from your phone all day, or for just a set period of time. It costs nothing and it may help, so it’s worth a try. I can’t help but remember one time when my jefecita saw my phone on its nighttime setting and asked me, “and just why does your phone look so yellow?” in the most suspicious tone. Why do Latina moms always sound so suspicious when they ask their children questions?? But, I digress. 

Get the right amount of sleep — At night, our bodies go through amazing repair processes. Skin, muscles – you name it, the body repairs it. The human body needs enough rest to do this properly. Additionally, when we sleep, we sleep in cycles. If we do not get enough rest, or if we wake up in the middle of a sleep cycle, we may feel groggy upon waking up. This website helps you calculate exactly what time you need to go to sleep. It actually gives you a few options. That way, you get enough rest, and you do not risk interrupting a sleep cycle. ¡Zas! No groggy morning feels.

 

Alright, I know by this point you must be thinking Yo B-Money, is this article about successful evenings or successful mornings? Get to the morning routines already! Ya vamos. Ya vamos.

The Steps to a Successful Morning

Get TF up—  Once we start hitting the snooze button, it’s all over. Worse yet, once someone lays down and tells themselves just 5 more minutes, we all know they will just end up sleeping in. Try to put your alarm across the room or even in another room so that you are forced to get up and get going. 

Let there be light— Light will signal your brain that it’s wake up time. This helps to support your natural circadian rhythm. The same way you want to limit electronics (and the light that they emit) at night, in the morning, you want to flood your home with light. Open the curtains. Turn on the lights. This will help you to feel alert.

Hydrate — The first thing you put in your body en ayunas matters. Think about it. If you slept 8 hours, that’s at least 8 whole hours that your body pasó without any hydration. Show your body gratitude for everything it did for you overnight as you rested, and do your best to drink one liter of water before you head out the door to work. It will have a tremendous effect on your stamina for the rest of the day. Bonus points? Add some lemon slices to your water. And, as my Nana used to say, make sure it’s not too cold so as to not shock your body first thing in the morning. 

Get Moving — Light activity can help to get the blood flowing and help to wake you up. Things like foam rolling, dynamic stretching (not static stretching as it may be too harsh on your muscles in the morning), or even walking are great options to start your day with mild activity. 

If you want a more strenuous workout, going to the gym in the morning is a great way to seize the day first thing in the morning. Now, I get it. Waking up early AND working out?! Those are two things that require so much discipline. It can be hard when a warm, cozy bed is calling to you. This is where a (reliable!) gym buddy is key. For instance, on some weekdays, my husband and I workout together before we head out to work. We keep each other accountable in this way. On Sundays, my sister and I meet at 6 am at the gym for cardio sessions. These are two people I love and respect dearly.  There is no way I am going to leave them hanging. Additionally, I can get ready in the mornings for our gym sessions knowing there is no way they will bail on me either. 

Practice Gratitude — It can be as simple as being grateful for another day. Think it. Speak it. I learned this from my mama. As she gets out of bed, she thanks God for another day. What speaks to your heart? What feels genuine to you? Perhaps it is a phrase like, “I am grateful for another day.” Or, “I thank The Universe for another day.”  If you choose to implement this step in your mornings, the key is for it to feel right for you. A simple mantra takes up no time and can help you with perspective before you’re even out of bed. 

On the other side of the spectrum, your morning gratitude can be as extensive as journaling. For instance, you can get up, sit at your table with some coffee or tea, and write down 5 things you are grateful for. Whatever feels natural to you and whatever fits into your morning routine is best. 

Practicing gratitude can emotionally, psychologically and spiritually set the tone for your whole day. For instance, sometimes I am like, “no mames. I want to stay in my warm bed!” I try to change that mindset to, “I am so grateful for this bed. Time to get up and get my day started.” What you appreciate, appreciates. So practice gratitude in your morning routine and see how your world changes.

Tying it all Together

Try these PM & AM routines for yourself and see if they affect how rested you feel. See if they affect your morning productivity. See if they affect your whole day. If all else fails, tell your madre to wake you up at 8 in the morning. Most likely, she’ll wake you up at 7 am and tell you it’s 9 am. For sure, that will jolt you out of bed and get you going! Suddenly, I am getting flashbacks of my mom blasting cumbias early in the morning while cleaning the house. Again, I digress. 

A lot of us face the reality of working 40 hours a week for “da man.” Do you want this system to make the most of you? Or do you want to take control of it? Control your mornings, and you may very well get a newfound control on your entire life.

If morning routines interest you, I highly recommend the book What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast for motivating tips on how to start your day. …Does CHB need a book club?

Do you notice a difference when you sleep in versus cuando madrugas? What does your evening and morning routine look like? Was there anything we missed? Share your favorite morning hacks in the comments. ¡Hasta luego!