Just like most people in the morning, you snooze. You snooze and snooze and snooze again, chasing these “5 more minutes” of sleep until you absolutely have to get up, rush to get ready and go to work. Sometimes, you wake up naturally and still struggle to make it out of bed. When you finally do, you feel fatigued the whole day, yawning away during your commute and while attending meetings at work… Sounds familiar?
Unlike what people think, feeling fatigued is, in the majority, not related to the quantity of sleep you get and more due to what you do when you get up. This article will give you the elements you need to give your body the morning, day and life it deserves.
HowTo: Get up easy
Your morning routine actually starts with what you did 15 minutes prior to going to bed. Stop playing away on your phone at least 15 minutes before you go to bed. Using your phone excites your brain with its bright screen light and all that information it gives you to process. My technique is to set the alarm and plug my phone face down. I, then, brush my teeth before sitting quietly for five minutes, drink a glass of water and head to bed.
It will be so much easier to get up in the morning already. If you are still struggling, count to three and get up as if it was not up to you. If that, still, does not work, remember that a Roman emperor almost two millennia ago told himself the following.
“At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: ‘I have to go to work — as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for — the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?'” – Marcus Aurelius
Yes, almost 2000 years ago, people struggled with the same problem as us today. This routine described below will, within one or two weeks of using it, make you excited to get up. Let’s get started!
What is the first thing you do when your brain is barely awake? Seek your phone to scroll through loads of information on social media, reading aimlessly about stories to feed your brain, right from the off. Is that really the right way to wake up? Do not busy yourself with information first thing in the morning. Instead, spend this time practising the following routine.
Do you ever, during the day, spend 7 or more hours without drinking water? It should not come off as a surprise that your whole body is dehydrated after a long sleep. Hydrate it. When you get up, the absolute first thing you want to do is drink water. Do not take sugary juices that supposedly contain everything you need, do not drink coffee, just drink normal room-temperature tap water. If possible, filtered water, but tap water does the job just fine.
Since the body lacks minerals in the morning, I usually drink a giant glass of water with two or three pinches of salt and a quarter lemon squeezed. This little recipe comes from the book Own the Day, Own Your Life by Aubrey Marcus. I recommend you use this recipe. Within a week of using it, it will give you enough excitement to want to get up and get started with the routine.
Delay your sweet and tasty morning coffee
Coffee smells good? Yes. Tastes good? Damn right! Is good for the body? Sure, it can be. Helps us wake up properly? NOPE!
Coffee has plenty of benefits. One it does not have though, is the ability to wake you up. You will feel a buzz for a few hours before feeling fatigued again, so you take another one etc, is that about right? Do not take coffee first thing when you wake up, delay it by ten to twenty minutes so that you can wake your body up properly first by completing the morning routine described in this article.
Let there be light!
Historically, we live at day and sleep at night. Why is that? Vitamin D. Vitamin D comes from exposing our skin to the sun. You read right – normal, universal, free sunlight is great for the morning. When you wake up, seek direct sunlight immediately and stand in it for a few minutes, while drinking quietly your first glass of water of the day. Vitamin D is essential for the body and the lack of it has been linked to depression and diseases. Long story short, go get that sunlight and live a longer and happier life.
Waking your body up
So we got the brain awoken properly. But how to get your body and all its muscles to be awoken in the same way?
Light exercise to speed up your heartbeat is the way to go. I usually do 30 jumping jacks. If it is too difficult for you, do 5 or 10, even 15. As long as your heartbeat goes up, it is working. Remember, you should not push yourself – we are trying to send signals to the body to wake it up, not burn the muscles. Follow it up with one or two minutes of gentle stretches – arms, legs, back, hands. Your muscles will thank you throughout the day for this.
Go even further
This routine will save your day. But, you can take it further. Here are two things you can improve to get an even better day.
Extra – shower and power shower
When done with all the previous steps which should last no more than 10 or 15 minutes, you can add a shower. Not any shower – a normal shower paired with a power shower. When finished with your normal shower, take ten to twenty deep breaths before exhaling one last time. Exhale fully, then hold your breath while turning the water to cold. Keep it cold until you gasp for air. Then, repeat the breathing cycle one more time in the cold water. It will be difficult at first, though within a week you will get used to it and your body will never feel more awake. This is part of the morning routine.
Fats and proteins for breakfast
Finally, have breakfast after you complete the morning routine. I recommend once more that you read the book Own the Day, Own Your Life by Aubrey Marcus to unlearn and re-learn what is good for breakfast and most importantly what is not. For example, sweet things like corn flakes in sweet milk with fruits are not as good as people think in the morning. Have avocado, eggs fried in butter and full-fat yoghurt instead – no sugar. If you do not have these available, then skip breakfast entirely. Fasting through the morning will push your body to consume fats it has already accumulated and you will be okay. The most important thing is getting that morning routine right and not eating sugar in the morning.
Use some more time in the morning to get to know your mind and settle before you start the day. Meditation is a calm and peaceful process. If you did not wake up properly, chances are it will push you back into bed. Do the routine, wake yourself up properly and meditate only then. Your whole day, your relationships, your work and your overall attitude towards life will be thankful you did, even if just for 5 minutes.
Here are all the steps you will take tomorrow morning when you get out of bed. Not starting next Monday or the day after but tomorrow (read on procrastination). The first few mornings will be difficult, so remember why you are doing this. You are doing this to have a better day, feeling less fatigued, making you less irritable therefore making your relationships better, improving your productivity and overall happiness.
- Do not hit “snooze” and get out of bed
- Do not look at your phone!
- Drink water (or water with salt and squeezed lemon)…
- …while standing in the direct sunlight
- Do 30 jumping jacks
- Perform some light stretches of arms, legs, back and hands
- Have a power shower (extra step)
- Have eggs, avocado and full-fat yoghurt or nothing at all
Let me know in the comments how it goes. This has been life-changing for me in terms of how I feel all day. If you are looking to know more about why this morning routine will save your day and, in turn, your life, please read Own the Day, Own Your Life by Aubrey Marcus. It will not be wasted.