Although I would usually consider myself an early bird, the lifestyle changes that the pandemic ensued completely screwed up my normal sleep and activity patterns. Last semester, I struggled with maintaining a consistent schedule and therefore became a hermit, as all of my classes were remote, making it hard to get myself together most days. This new year, I decided to get back on my grind to better my mental and physical health, so as to excel more in my daily life. In changing my sleeping habits, I trained my body to be energized in the early mornings so that I could implement a routine that works to kickstart a productive day.
1. 6:45 AM: Wake up and shower.
In order to wake up this early, I usually try to go to bed before 1 AM, so that I don't feel exhausted the rest of the day. Waking up this early can usually feel unnecessary and going back to sleep always feels like the easy option. In order to really wake myself up, I hop in the shower, brush my teeth and wash my face. These small steps signify the start of any day for me, therefore once completed, going back to sleep no longer becomes an option.
2. 7:00 AM: Make breakfast and coffee.
Once I am feeling more awake, I brew a cup of coffee to increase my overall energy and begin to make breakfast. It is important to kick off your metabolism early so I will usually make boiled eggs, oatmeal, avocado toast or a smoothie. I found that having a high protein meal first thing in the morning prevents me from losing energy or becoming fatigued earlier in the day. Although 15 minutes doesn't seem too long to make coffee and breakfast, keeping myself on a tight schedule prevents me from becoming distracted with social media or other technological entertainment methods.
3. 7:15 AM: Journal for 15 minutes.
After my breakfast is done, I will eat it and sip on my coffee while I journal for 15 minutes. This daily reflection allows me to write down my dreams, thoughts, feelings or concerns so that I can better express and understand myself. Journaling does not have any rules but if you find it hard to think of something to write, you can always look up reflection prompts in order to get some inspiration. Making it a point to journal everyday before going on social media has already alleviated a lot of stress and bettered my mental health.
4. 7:30 AM: Choose an outfit and look presentable.
After I am well fed, caffeinated and done with my daily reflections, I give myself 30 minutes to choose an outfit, fix my hair and put on a little bit of makeup. This step is the most crucial to my productivity, as I find that when I feel good, I am more inclined to stay active and get my daily responsibilities done. Although feeling confident is mostly mental, having a neat and put together appearance helps to heighten my mood and general vibes for the day.
5. 8:00 AM: Make a to-do list for the day.
After I look and feel good, I sit down and write up a to-do list so that I can hold myself responsible for the duties I give myself all day to complete. I usually list out each duty from most to least important, so that I can focus on homework assignments first before I get any other chores or commitments. This early morning planning allows me to be conscious of the hours I have in each day, which forces me to become more productive and ultimately feel less stressed, as my procrastination decreases.
As every individual has their own sleeping patterns and productive habits, there are many ways to alter a schedule like this to fit your own lifestyle. If you feel stuck in a rut or simply want to start sticking to a daily routine, consider activities like this that can potentially boost your mood and mental health.