Here is a recent article I wrote for Mind Body Green-
The 15-Minute Morning Routine That Keeps Me From Hitting The Snooze Button
by Machel Shull
The 15-Minute Morning Routine That Keeps Me From Hitting The Snooze Button Hero Image
Mornings are often a challenge. The alarm goes off. You roll over and hit the snooze button. The tendency for most of us, including myself, is to then take those extra 15 minutes of “snooze time” for exactly that—more sleep. But what if instead of closing your eyes to avoid that early morning hour, you spent those extra 15 minutes on yourself?
When you don’t create time for yourself, your attitude and your overall sense of well-being suffers. You inner light dims. Your daily schedule begins to feel like a chore, and that snooze button seems like the obvious choice.
I used to struggle with early mornings too. As a busy working mom, I always felt one step behind. I was constantly rushing out the door, trying to make it to school and work on time. But I discovered a few years ago that if I went to sleep a little earlier at night and took those extra 15 minutes of snoozing and applied it to my morning routine instead, my day improved immensely.
Here’s how I conquered my snooze blues by using those 15 minutes for three key morning moments:
The first 5 minutes: Connect with your body
When you first wake up in the morning, take some time to stretch. When your feet hit the floor beside your bed, stretch your hands upward and greet the morning by acknowledging your body first. If you can, just take that moment to fully stretch up with your hands above your head and take a deep breath in. Then release with a nice long breath out as you reach down for your toes. Take another nice deep breath in and release it out as you rise and place your hands on your hips.
What does this do for us? This one little moment gives our inner self an awareness of “being inside our body” by being fully present in those two stretches. Instead of hopping out of bed and going on the run, I’ve now started the day with a simple stretch that connects my body to my mind and myself. I am setting a slower pace and taking a moment just for me.
I then continue this feeling for a few more minutes, while I make my coffee downstairs. I open all of my curtains to let the light into my kitchen. I take a moment to just connect to my breath as I listen to the sound of my coffee brewing, which warms my soul instantly. No rushing. Just relaxing and being with just myself in the early morning hours.
The next 5 minutes: Focus on affirmations
Get ready for your morning hug. Greet yourself and say, “Hey, I like you; you matter.” I take this time to create positive moments of love and affirmations for myself. I take my arms and squeeze them tightly around myself. I squeeze gently and say, “I am excited about today! Life is beautiful. I will have a great day!”
In the beginning, I used to say this in the mirror in my bathroom. That really helped to develop the habit. Then, once it became a natural part of my morning, I started taking these five minutes downstairs with my coffee in hand. Before the rush, before the grind, I could reflect on my morning time and how lovely it felt just to be quiet and centered. The kind words and extra time of reflection were mine and mine alone.
The final 5 minutes: Tidy your space
Before taking a shower and getting dressed, I spend a little time tidying my home. I make my bed, fluff pillows, or even just clean up my coffee area. I found that these simple actions send a signal to my inner self that says, “Hey, I care about you, so let’s keep the house tidy.” This time may seem like a task, but trust me, it feels like a little gift when you come home later to a clean room and fluffed pillows on the couch.
After you start incorporating practices like this early in your day, you actually start enjoying your mornings. So forget the snooze button. Take that secret gift of time for a better day and a happier you.