Fall in Love with 6am : Routines
When rising before the sun isn't a choice, it can be a real struggle to appreciate the peace and promise of dawn. Thankfully, we can soften the blow of an early start with an act as simple as creating a morning routine that gives us something to look forward to (even if no one else is awake).
There's a sense of security when you know what's coming. Of course in life some of the most exciting things come as a surprise, but in all honesty, who would welcome the unexpected with open arms at 6am? In routine times such as the 9-5 it's important to take control of your day from the very beginning, as it can be easy to feel powerless against working life; you can't dictate whether you have a lie in, you can't choose how long you shower, exercise, or have breakfast, and very quickly your entire week begins to feel like a one-sided negotiation. But this is all a matter of perspective; it is well within your power to choose what happens around your office hours, and doing so can change your outlook of the precious time before your work day begins.
Many of us are time-poor, and even fewer want to get up 30 minutes earlier to give ourselves more me-time before we put on our professional faces. With this in mind, we've suggested a few rituals you can incorporate into your morning to help you feel more you, even if you only have a 5 minute window to spare.
This takes 2 minutes of preparation the night before (and we apologise for the inconvenience), but if you chop a lemon in half, squeeze it into a bottle, fill it up with water, and pop it into the fridge overnight, you have a refreshing sip of heavenly health waiting for you when you wake up. Lemon water is less harsh for your body than an espresso first thing, and it gets your body's digestive system in motion from the get go. Not to mention that a dose of vitamin C is always welcome, amongst a host of perks like glowing skin and fresh breath.
If you're lucky enough to have time to hit the gym/spin class/go for a run before you reach your desk, then we're not about to stop you. But if you don't have time or can't think of anything worse than a pre-work workout, that's fine too. That being said, exercise is vital to both mental and physical wellbeing, but it doesn't have to end in a hideous, sweaty mess for you or your gym bag. Gentle workouts like yoga, pilates, and walking can provide as much of an endorphin hit as more vigorous exercise. If you're able to do so, get off the bus a few stops early and walk the rest of the way to the office, or if you work from home, find a quick, local loop before you settle in at your desk. Walking remains the most simple/gloriously strain free form of exercise, and even just 30 minutes a day can have a profound effect on our general wellbeing.
Treat Yo'self - Morning Mini-Massage
You're probably thinking this already sounds indulgent and something you'd never do, nor have time for if you wanted to, but hear us out. Chances are you moisturise after a shower anyway, so why not spend an extra 30 seconds really paying attention to the act, and help your creams soak in as you loosen up your muscles rather than lathering yourself in a slimy mess before rushing to work? Massages are often seen as a luxury, but they shouldn't be. They've been around since the dawn of time to put human beings in a good mood, and are proven to have a whole host of benefits for our physical and mental wellbeing.
A little ray of sunshine on an otherwise grey morning often comes in the form of escapism. Carve out a little bit of time to truly relax before the day begins by making sure you have some of your favourite podcasts lined up as you get yourself geared up for the day as you get dressed or prepare your breakfast (take a look at some of our suggestions if you some inspiration). And if you're commuting in, books are the perfect companion for settling into your spot on the train, helping you to forget all about the man picking his nose next to you (why not explore some of our favourite books to help you unwind).
The slice of peace you've carved out for yourself doesn't have to end when you get to work, whether your desk is at home or in the city. Chances are that everyone is only just gearing up for the day, and by making your first fifteen minutes an enjoyable routine you'll no doubt begin to look forward to the beginning of your day, every day. Make yourself a tea or coffee, and take a moment just for you. Have a catch up with colleagues about non-work related topics, and really take an interest in the people you interact with day in, day out (there might be more to Susan than just spreadsheets, you never know). Social connections are a great way to change the lens through which you see your job; transforming it into an environment where so many great minds, ideas, and personalities can come together (unless you're unfortunate enough to get sucked into a conversation about the keto diet).
Finally, the thing we've all been waiting for since our bloody alarms went off, yet so often forgotten, or worse, seen as a chore to be swept out of the way. Whether you've brought or bought your breakfast, eat it away from the desk (or turn your monitor off) and take the time to savour each mouthful, adding breakfast as the cherry on top of yet another good morning.
Do you have any morning routines that help you feel positive and geared up for the rest of the day? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org, we always love to hear from you!