After a few weeks of meeting up with friends for coffee, working out at my leisure, and generally not spending more time out of a horizontal position than I have to, it was time to face harsh reality: spring semester was about to start.
At first glance, it didn’t seem so bad. I’m an unabashed lover of new classes and fresh reading lists, and papers wouldn’t be due for a few weeks. But then I remembered that I had two grant proposals to submit. And then I remembered that I have to submit my dissertation proposal sometime soon. Oh, and on top of it all, my school does spring rush, so about 1,000 strangers were about to pour in my front door and tour my sorority house, peeking into my bedroom and requiring that I plan outfits, carrying on hours of conversation, and at some point spend a few days in heels. I love all of these things – every single one of them. (Except for wearing heels.) But thinking about them in combination made me want to pull the covers back over my head.
I’m lucky enough to be a morning person, but even still getting out of bed to face a full day of busy multitasking can be daunting. This January, I kept track of what worked (and what didn’t) to bring you my suggestions for ways to start your day more easily. (And by the way, I have not undergone medical training, so all of this information is of the anecdotal and common sense variety.)
- Do everything you can the night before. Take 10 minutes before going to bed to assemble everything you’ll need for the next morning. Pack your backpack or purse, pick out your outfit down to your bra and underwear, pack your lunch, and leave it all in a place that’s easy to access. Try to do as little thinking as possible in order to not tax your sleepy brain.
- When your alarm goes off, get up immediately. Then make your bed. No matter how many times you hit the snooze button, I promise that you’re not going to feel less tired. Don’t let yourself lay back down after you shower or even sit on a too-comfortable couch. Get up, get moving, get that blood pumping in all of your veins.
- Turn on the lights. Hanging around in dim lighting as you procrastinate facing the morning will lull your body back to sleep.
- Try to stick to a sleep schedule, even if you’re still tired. It’s better to wake up within an hour range – so sleeping in could mean until 9:30 instead of 8:30 on weekends. If you’re still tired later in the day, take a nap! But try not to let yourself slip out of the routine of waking up on time.
- Fall asleep earlier and more deeply. Okay, this one is more easily said than done. But next time you have an awesome night’s sleep, try to remember the circumstances that created it. Did you work out that day? Did you enjoy a cup of chamomile tea? I’ve found that I need to avoid screens in order to fall asleep and stay asleep; instead of helping me to unwind, watching TV leaves me alert. If you’re a tea drinker, look for herbal teas that include valerian – it’s an herb that’s included in some sleeping pills, and it never fails to leave me drowsy and ready for Z’s.
- Treat yourself. Give yourself something to be excited about in the morning! Make sure you keep a favorite breakfast food or flavored coffee creamer on hand. I’m not saying you should eat Krispy Kreme donuts every day, but care about yourself enough not to grab a random granola bar and instant coffee on your way out the door. Lately my favorite morning treat has been a mug of Earl Gray with So Delicious French Vanilla coffee creamer (made with coconut milk – what up, dairy free folks). Even though the old saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day might not actually be true, if you’re food-motivated like me, it might be a good incentive to get up and get moving.
Life happens, and if you’re anything like me, then you won’t always stick to these guidelines. But take care of yourselves, darlings! Sleep gives your immune system and your brain time to recharge, so find a schedule that works for you.
Have you found a routine that works for you (or a favorite morning treat)? Tweet us @litdarling!
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