Mornings are hard.
If you know one thing about me, it is that I do not like mornings. I do not feel, look, do, perform (etc, etc, etc) my best before 10AM… You likely know this because if you are one of the morning gym goers it’s probably been awhile since you’ve seen me. #youguysareseriousgoals
In my previous life I did have to be at work early, and (as shocking as you may find this) I actually used to workout before work 3-5x/week. And this was both in my corporate days which meant 6AM Yoga and my manufacturing days which meant 5AM Farrell’s Extreme Body Shaping Bootcamp 5x/week. Yes I said 5AM. I did it. For 10 whole weeks BUT I DID IT! For the first 2 years of Icehouse I also coached quite a few of those 5:30am classes and snuck in a quick workout right after, so once upon a time I did the morning thing on the regular. I HATED IT, but I did it.
I actually don’t mind mornings, when I set myself up to have a good morning. Just like I no longer mind Mondays, if i set myself up for a win on those too. For those of us who aren’t spring loaded out of bed first thing (which is my current theory on how Coach Omaha wakes up each day) being successful first thing takes some planning & prep. And while I fully understand that my schedule in (finally) more flexible, it’s not any less full of sh*t to get done. So here are some tips I have learned over the past year that have finally made things click in the AM, and I wish my 12 year old self would have known as I barely made it to school on time then promptly fell back asleep at my desk first thing (this morning hatred goes wayyyyyyy back).
How to Make Mornings Suck Less
1. Time Blocking – Pick a day each week where you sit down and either write out or load your upcoming weeks plans/schedule into a calendar. I use Google Calendar so it’s all in one place. Include EVERYTHING you plan to do (work, workout, happy hours, kids gymnastics, coffee dates, meal prep/cooking, SLEEP, reading, etc). If it’s too full, then PRIORITIZE. It is ok to say no to things that will not serve you, will weigh you down, and you don’t actually want to do. Now use this as a calendar of appointments and hold to to all of those blocks as though you would if you were meeting a colleague for a meeting or friend out (sleep included). This could be it’s entire own blog post (and it will be) but hop to #2 for tips on the sleep part of it.
2. Get Enough Sleep. If you know you have to be up early, then Go The F*ck to Sleep! (Anyone read that book?! ?) I understand this is much easier said that done, but honestly take a look at your week and see what time you actually want to get up. Now back that up 8 hours and go to bed. Check your phone scrolling/netflix watching/etc before you say you can’t, most of us actually can once those mindless activities are taken out. If you have an Iphone, they now have bedtime alarm clocks to remind you it’s time to crash. Set it, and LISTEN TO IT!
3. Hydrate Right Away – Ok so you set your sleep alarm, you slept now it’s time to get up. Avoid the snooze and get yourself to the kitchen, pour a glass of water, add a little lime juice and some sea salt (morning margarita) and drink that before you touch your coffee! It’ll give you a little kick of hydration and rebalance electrolytes first thing. This is a game changer! Make sure to continue to hydrate throughout the day (1/2 your body weight in ounces) so you don’t have to drink a bunch right before bed (and risk the wake up to use the bathroom then struggle fest to sleep again). I actually make myself drink a full 16oz glass of water before every cup of coffee to help balance this, give it a try!
4. Do Something Nice For Yourself First Thing – DO NOT GRAB YOUR PHONE FIRST THING AND START SCROLLING FACEBOOK/CHECKING EMAILS/OR WHATEVER. I actually bought a watch with an alarm so I wouldn’t have to grab my phone right away (bonus it was a FitBit that tracks sleep to so now I can keep myself of track there too). I used to grab and scroll out of habit, and it just always started my day off on the wrong side of the bed. I now wake up 10 minutes earlier than I have to so that I can drink the morning marg and read each morning. I found a daily mediation book (Promise of a New Day, it’s amazing just buy it) that has super short 1 page readings that I mull over while I drink my morning marg. If I am feeling it and have time I’ll read a few pages out of whatever else is currently in rotation. If not I read that, sit with it/meditate on it for a min or 2, finish my marg and get to that glorious cup of joe while I get ready for the rest of the day. This change has probably made the biggest difference in my quest to not loathe mornings.
5. Supplements – Sleeping has always been a big struggle. (What better time is there to overthink every single mistake you’ve made, or thing you have ever done or not done?! ?) So I do take some supplements that have actually helped me significantly with sleep quality. CBD Oil is my absolute favorite (Driven carries some great options), I take it each night before bed and I sleep like a rock, and there is no morning fog or hangover like I used to experience with Ambien or over the counter sleep aids. Bonus it also helps with soreness, recovery and even anxiety. If I do wake up on the wrong side of the bed or over anxious I’ll take some in the morning too.
6. Schedule Your Mornings Optimally For You – This kind of goes with your time blocking, but it’s worth a mention. Now I understand that kid’s school drop off isn’t optimal for any of us so not everything is under our control, but take charge of what is. Can you block your first 30 mins at work in your calendar so you can drink your coffee, read over emails and prep for the days OR would you rather jump in first thing with a team huddle? If you can, schedule accordingly. I am more of a let’s get all of the email, social media content, process, document, not people facing work first things done early then when I am feeling my best in the mid morning/afternoon I’ll schedule meetings, appointments & classes. So if you can, restructure your day to set you up as best you can for a successful day. Do I still have meetings in the mornings a few days a week? Yes that is just works best for our team. Can I adjust, plan ahead & prep for them the night before and still be ready to go earlier than is my ideal? You bet!
It Takes Effort
You may be saying, well that sounds like a lot of work! It does take an adjustment, but all of these things have now become habit for me so it’s easy NOW. But yes it did take time to get there. And yes I still am tempted to grab & scroll every morning, those phones are addicting. Just like getting nutrition on point takes practice, or getting consistent with workouts takes commitment, its no different. Taking these steps to set yourself up to feel your best & be more effective with you time will help you feeling more fulfilled at the end of the day, which helps with all of these things. So start with 1. Then when that is a habit move to 2. You will get there, but you have to put in the effort.
Courtney Shoemaker is a Co-Owner of CrossFit Icehouse and Flux, and in charge of the behind the scenes juggling to keep the Icehouse ship sailing smoothly. She is passionate about fitness and identifies as a CrossFitter, Weightlifter, Yogi, Skydiver & overall Shenaniganer.