Do you struggle with waking up or winding down after a busy day? Do your mornings feel like a tornado, running around trying to find everything you need for the day?
As a nurse, I work three-twelve hour shifts during the week, often with very early mornings (and we’re talking 4:30-5:00 am wake up calls). Even with my ‘weekend’ routines looking a little different, it’s hard to remember to slow down and start your day right.
So, I have made it a priority to find meaningful moments in my mornings to set my mood for the day, enjoy the moment and in turn, make me less stressed overall.
Five Ways To Have A Mindful Morning:
1. Set your alarm 10 minutes before you normally would get up.
Take a few deep breaths and slowly bring awareness to being awake. This allows you time to adjust from sleep to wake and sets up the day to be positive and centered.
2. Drink a tall glass of water.
I always drink 8-10 oz of water before doing anything else in the morning. Believe it or not, we become dehydrated while sleeping (especially if you have enjoyed a nightcap the night before). Drinking water not only replenishes your body, but it also helps to cleanse whatever junk is left over from the night before.
3. Find a routine.
I always allow myself 10 minutes to “wake up” before getting out of bed, do five minutes of stretching, put on my water boiler and hop in the shower. I know my hot water will be ready for my tea of coffee as soon as I am done showering and it can be made and steeped, while I’m getting purdy for the day. I then can grab my tea and pre-packed bag and get out the door by 6 am to go to the hospital. The consistency of my morning routine can help put to rest the usual manic runaround that comes with such early starts.
4. Enjoy your morning drink.
Take a minute or two to enjoy your liquid wake up call. It’s warm, steamy, and delicious (or icy and crisp for all you cold brew drinkers)- give yourself the opportunity to savor it.
5. Set your day for success.
This sounds cheesy, but throw out to the universe how you want your day to go. This will help guide you through the stresses and deadlines that exist in our day to day lives. I personally pause while I’m in the elevator and ask myself “what will I learn today?” Find your own personal question or mantra to throw out there and see what comes back to you.
Not a morning person? Feel like this list of five things is the worst you’ve ever heard??
Not to fret, I married a night owl and have five more tips on how to wind down after a long day.
Five Ways to Find Mindful Moments in Your Evening:
1. Reflect on your day.
Every day I write down one item that I was thankful for that day in my planner. But sharing what your day was like with another person and finding things you are thankful for (no matter how stressful the day was) has been linked to higher rates of happiness and satisfaction.
2. Turn off the blue light.
Did you know our electronics show a spectrum of light that will keep us awake? I wish I could say 30 min-1 hr before bed shut down all electronics, no social media, tv, or kindles – but this would make me a total hypocrite (I totally scroll through IG as I’m laying in bed). Instead, we turn our iPhones to night shift, which turns off the blue light spectrum and changes your lighting to warmer yellow tones. Of course, it’s always better to just unplug before bed, generally about an hour.
3. Plan out your morning.
Make your lunch the night before, pick out your outfit, find your keys and any materials you may need for work tomorrow. This will give you at least 10 more minutes of sleep in the morning and allow you to close down any worry you may have about waking up and getting ready in time.
4. Enjoy a delicious cup of non-caffeinated tea at least an hour before sleep.
This way you won’t have to wake back up to go to the bathroom!
5. Get to bed early.
I’m a total grandma on work nights. If I could, I’d dive into my bed as soon as I finished dinner. Nursing is killer on the body! But you don’t have to be me; I do suggest getting in bed with plenty of time to wind down. It’s unrealistic to ask our bodies to shut down as soon as we fall into bed.
Give yourself 30 min- 1 hour to calm down and get sleepy. Read a book, check social media (no blue light!), chat with your partner, or do a meditation to help your mind slowly start to wind down and get ready for rest.
Taking time to pause and set intentions and then reflect on our days has been linked to higher rates of happiness, stress-reduction, and overall well-being. These are just a few ways you can find more meaningful moments in our incredibly busy lives.
Find what works for you and make it a habit, you will be so glad you have!
Kata Joy is on a journey to find a more balanced and conscious life. After serving in the Peace Corps in Guatemala and Americorps in Alaska, she knew that she wanted to dedicate a life of service and helping others. After many jobs that lead to burnout, Kata returned to Duke University to receive her second degree in nursing. She currently lives in Washington DC with her husband, Chris, and pooch, Keenie, where she works as a labor and delivery nurse.
When she’s not helping to catch babies, she runs a lifestyle blog which focuses on living a well and consumer conscious lifestyle called the Live Joyful Blog. She is an avid yogi, baker, crafter, and loves to be outdoors taking photographs. You can find more of her work on Instagram (@kata.joy), Twitter (@_katajoy) or Facebook (@livejoyfulblog).
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