Rise and shine is sometimes a bit of an ambitious idea, as we wipe the groggy sleep from our morning eyes. The question of how to enjoy the wake up process is one that has always plagued humankind.
In an ideal world, the gentle morning rays would lightly touch our supple skin, caress and arouse our eyes as they fill up with the sunshine, filtered through the greyness of the lifting clouds. We might stretch and yawn and sit in reverence of our Sun for a while, before resuming some berry picking.
Often, the situation is quite different, and it is up to us to try to find our own ways of enjoying the wake up process. This can be tough if our day starts with the buzzing of an alarm clock, a necessary reminder of the hectic schedule to come.
Fear not! It is still more than possible to enjoy the morning, even in the midst of alarm clock mayhem. Nowadays, we have the freedom to create our own wake up process, and can craft it to be as enjoyable as we can possibly make it.
1. Take your time
The morning, for many, can be a rushed time of the day. But the morning was never supposed to be rushed. Nature did not intend it this way. The sun does not rush to rise. The atmosphere in the morning positively radiates a yawn.
I know you want to tell me that you have to rush to get to work, but I also know that you snooze your alarm clock far too many times, and that this snooze time could be better used to add some form of delight to the morning schedule.
The first step to having a morning that is full of smiles, is to have plenty of time to wake up; rather than being rushed off your feet. As reluctant as you may be to make the snooze sacrifice, it will buy you some time. Get up earlier!
When we allow ourselves time in the morning we are almost guaranteeing ourselves a good day. I kid you not, give it a try! If you can be relaxed in the morning then the blueprint is set for the day, and with a steady and ready mind it is quite possible to keep it that way.
Before running our of the door to start the day it is important to have time to be able to look after yourself, and to relax. Take your time in the morning. This is rule number 1 on how to enjoy waking up in the morning.
2. Take a deep breath
Upon waking pull back the curtains and take a deep breath. It is a new day. Turn off the alarm if you have one, but stay awake. Enjoy the relaxed feeling of all the muscles in your body as you come round from your slumber. Your body will not be this relaxed again all day, so this is time best spent reveling in comfortable semi-waking pleasure.
Smile, and take another deep breath, then another. Deep, conscious breathing helps to circulate air around the blood, and into the muscles and organs, and helps with a gentle wake up process. Take as long as you can afford, but always at least 10 minutes. If you like to meditate now is also a good time.
3. Have a good breakfast
Nothing beats a good breakfast. It is quite a subjective term, and probably depends where you live. Where a croissant might satisfy a Frenchman, an Englishman would almost certainly prefer a bacon sandwich. A healthy breakfast however, is by far the best choice on a day to day basis. A piece of fruit and some greek yogurt is a nutritious start, but if you plan not to eat again until lunch try porridge oats, with berries and honey. My mouth is watering.
A good breakfast means a good start to the day. Literally, we give ourselves energy. It also gives us a motivation to get out of bed. This is not meant to sound depressive, but it would be very easy to lie in a state of absolute comfort for longer than we could afford, unless we started off our day somehow. Breakfast seems, at least for me, to trigger my mind. It lets me know the day is starting. For those who cannot eat breakfast straight away consider a different trigger, like a herbal tea for example.
4. Gather your thoughts
Always, always, stop to gather your thoughts whenever you need to. It takes a certain awareness but once you start to notice this it will become easier to know when you need to take a moment. As a rule of thumb I would recommend taking a moment to gather your thoughts every morning, as part of the wake up process.
Every day we accumulate thoughts, ideas, emotions, feelings, loops in our mind that circle around before we sleep. We should give ourselves time in the evening too, but for the most part our dreams, and the workings of our subconscious mind, play out our dilemmas whilst we sleep, organizing our mind.
Sometimes however, we wake up with small pieces of yesterday still in our mind. We must give ourselves the time to digest these leftovers, so that we can begin a fresh day with a fresh mind.
When we feel that our thoughts have all clicked into place, then we can contemplate the day to come. We may want to begin to allow ourselves to think about what we want to accomplish for the day to come, but only after we have cleared our minds enough to know we are ready.
5. Exercise and fresh air
There is perhaps no better way to top off a lovely morning wake up than with a bit of fresh air and some exercise. Doing a little bit of exercise in the morning has obvious health benefits. It is also a great way to wake up, and feel ready for the day.
When the body feels ready and like it is needed, then the mind will follow suite. Try some stretches in the garden, a jog around the park, or a walk with the dog. Anything to get some exercise, and preferably some fresh air. The wake up process reaches its next stage at this point, because we have begun to use our bodies, and to engage with the world; we come out of a dreamy sleep and into the physical world. The more gently we can make this transition, the better.
6. Listen to some music, read, or just relax
Because you listened to my first piece of advice and woke up in plenty of time, with minimal snoozes, you probably still have a bit of time left over before work, or before starting your activities for the day. So just relax for a bit; the morning is a great time for it. Listen to some music, read a book, chill out on the sofa, sit in the garden and watch the birds. Make sure the activity is relaxing, and that it doesn’t involve a premature overload of information and stimuli. Sitting in the garden is better than watching TV, which often gives us too much garbage to digest first thing in the morning.
What about you Mr Author, how do you wake up?
I like to add my personal flavor to the mix at the end of my articles, to give the reader the human behind the perspective. I am actually a pretty good morning person. Not in the first 20 seconds, and not if you wake me for something other than breakfast or tea!
I am quite blessed actually, I don’t often have to wake to an alarm, as I freelance. All in all I pretty much follow the wake up process I have tried to outline here; I get up slowly, let a little light into my eyes and take some deep breaths. Sometimes the dog licks my face which I am fairly tolerant of. I have a cup of tea and breakfast, walk the dog and do some stretches, and then relax and digest my thoughts.
I hope that even the busiest of bees can see the value in taking a little time, even if this means getting up even earlier. Having an enjoyable wake up process is more valuable than an extra half an hour of demi-sleeping and snoozing. Take your time and really enjoy the morning. It has a bad reputation; it can be one of the most beautiful and peaceful times of the day.