Nothing is worse this time of year than the alarm going off, waking me up from beneath warm, cozy layers of blankets and the need to jump out of that cocoon to the cold and most likely dark, gray day. Some of these morning things that I do or little “jumpstarts” to the morning that help me, and hopefully help anyone reading, are really pulling me up and out every day. Here are five steps that really jump start me on these winter days:
First, my ideal is that after snoozing once on my alarm, I at least click on my sunlight lamp. This lamp is right on my nightstand. Placing it within arm’s reach is critical. I am finding that the pulse of light is helpful to get my eyes and body to start the process of waking during the winter. It would be wonderful if I could open curtains and just be blown back by the bright sun, but at this latitude that’s just not possible. So the “natural” light of the lamp is step one.
Next, I grab my phone to shut off the alarm if it has gone off again. The next movement is important. It is really difficult to do if there are text messages alerting me to open from the night before, but my goal is to ignore everything else on my phone and just open my YouVersion Bible app. That way I am starting my day and my mind in the words of God: “But seek first his kingdom and righteousness.” Matthew 6:33. This can be a challenge, but some days it feels like a relief. Starting the day with the devotional is a comfort really and a reminder of how to feel less stressed first thing in the morning. It is a perspective shifting practice. Just knowing I am doing it and filling my heart and mind with good things first off, not frantic things like what is on the agenda or where I need to drive today, is a great feeling.
To make this habit easier to do consistently, I make doing the devotional super accessible. First, I say yes to a reminder from the app when I start the devotional. This way the only thing I need to do is click it. Next, I don’t even read it myself. I click the play button and let the voice over read aloud as I follow along with my eyes. For some reason, I take more in when I have both. It propels me forward to have the guided reading. Next, I click read aloud for all of the verses attached to the devotional. I take a screenshot of the one I plan to journal on or if I like them all, I just leave it open and plan to choose later when I sit down to write. So the Bible app devotional is step two.
Next, I try to keep with my normal routine to get up, change, and do my exercise routine. Originally intended for attorney well-being, this is all applicable to anyone interested in well-being and is detailed here in what could be more generally titled, “Exercise Challenges – How Can I Start an Exercise Routine?”:
The newest addition to this habit is my addition of rolling out my yoga mat. This jumpstart is a visual cue that helps if I get distracted for any reason – family needs, a phone call, a pressing need for the dog to be let out immediately, etc. Interwoven with this step though is also making the bed. This is detailed in, “The Power of the Disrupted Healthy Habit”:
However, I have found in looking back at this article that I have not been keeping up with my plan to do my exercise routine first as a part of “stacking” that habit with the habit of bed making. Stacking is a habit-forming technique from James Clear, who I follow to learn all things related to Atomic Habits. So I need to go back to this idea of exercising first then making the bed. These little jumpstarts are intertwined steps 3 and 4.
My next jump starter idea is drinking a glass of water before I drink a cup of coffee. I usually do this by physically preventing myself from drinking coffee first. How? I fill the coffee mug with the water I need to drink so that I can use the same coffee cup for coffee. Sounds obvious, but really it is a constant and easy reminder of what I have to do in order to get what I want, which of course, is that first cup of coffee! And that’s five, which sounds simple, but it is often as of late too tempting to start with my coffee first and catch up with water later.
Overall, we all need jumpstarts from time to time. Whether we are depleted from overthinking, overworking, overstressing, or oversleeping, we need to have these little pulls to get going in a great way. Hopefully these 5 Morning Jumpstarts are helpful and add to your keen living.
© 2022 Megan Davia Mikhail