This morning, my alarm went off and I did not want to get up. As in, deep in my soul was a strong resistance to the very idea of being anywhere other than bed. In that moment, I knew it was upon me: my Winter Mood (morning edition).
I have evening and morning routines that I follow pretty consistently, but in winter I have to switch it up a bit in the morning to make sure that I can maximise my time in bed/general joy and minimise any decision making/general glumness. Here are the top five things I do that make my winter mornings marginally more acceptable to me.
Plan in advance
I like being organised - in fact, one of my life mantras is “it’s better to stay organised than to get organised”. Keep that in mind when you read the following. I am pretty Next Level so be prepared for this to be not relatable *finger guns*.
You want to make as many decisions before bedtime as possible. That means you want to:
Check the weather and your calendar.
Lay out your outfit (more on that shortly) including all your accessories and your underwear. Clothes should be ironed and shoes should be cleaned.
Pack your bag for the next day with everything you need.
Prep as much of your breakfast as possible (like - measure out the oats if you’re making porridge. Make up the smoothie and put it in the fridge to blend the next morning).
Lay out any makeup you will want to put on.
Write your To Do list for the next day (for personal life stuff - your work list should have been written before you left work!)
Essentially, when you wake in the morning you want to stumble from your bed into a series of pre-sorted situations where you just need to numbly do the bare minimum and yet, somehow, achieve success. Being disciplined about this has been a game changer for me.
Decide what you love
There is something that will make your morning routine a thousand times better. Maybe it’s a fabulous breakfast, maybe it’s time to read, maybe it’s having a bubble bath - there’s something.
Find that something and, with the time you got back from pre-organising all the other stuff, make time for this one element to shine. Maybe change it up every week, or every day even! Whatever it is, starting your day by giving yourself a small window to be delighted will put you on the right foot. Honestly, if it’s social media or reading the news on your phone, I think that’s okay regardless of what various think pieces would tell us. Just make sure you are making it a treat (and setting a time limit!).
Maybe you have kids and you’re like “Megan, you lunatic, I do not have time for a bubble bath each morning”. Fair enough. But maybe you have particular music you’d like to have playing while you guys rush around, or maybe you’d like to buy some fancy syrup for your coffee, or maybe you’d like a five minute reflection time when you first wake up. Give yourself something to look forward to every morning as a reward for leaving the cocoon of your duvet (and hey, maybe your kids would like this too?)
Build anticipation for the day ahead
Honestly, I do this pretty much year-round (although not that consistently…I should work on this). This one can be tricky, I’ll admit, because some days are destined to be garbage before they even begin. However, on days when the bed gravity is particularly strong, I find just one thing that I’m looking forward to in my day. If you live with other people, this would be such a lovely thing to share over breakfast. I live alone, so it’s pretty much just me talking to me in an excited tone of voice. Next time you feel glum of a morning, please feel free to imagine me walking around my house in a pink fluffy dressing gown giving myself a pep talk.
If you are lying there and you can’t think of a single thing, now is the time to grab your phone and make the magic happen. Text a mate and set up a coffee (or even just a chat on the phone!). Block out a window in your diary for a quick walk. Jump onto the New World app and set up a click and collect for the ingredients for a tasty dinner. Find a cool video on YouTube and add it to your “Watch Later” list for after work. There are lots of options!
Plan what you’re going to wear
I’m on the record saying that winter does not inspire me, style-wise. To help me out when I’m in a seasonal slump, I have a few tricks to speed up the creation of looks when I am tired and it’s been dark since 5pm (WHY). Keep in mind - you’re laying out your clothes at night. Do not put yourself in the horrible position of standing in your underpants at 7:55 am wailing in despair with every item of clothing you own strewn around you.
Pull out five items from your wardrobe that are winter appropriate. Each one represents one business day - now each evening just grab one item and find something that goes with it.
Sit down for 15 minutes at some stage during the week and brainstorm. Doesn’t need to be complete - sometimes I will just write “colourful shell necklace with white shirt” - it just needs to be a jumping off point.
Wear one basic look in a variety of ways for a week. So far this week, I’ve worn a skirt and turtleneck jumper every day. I might well wear the same thing again tomorrow. Honestly, nobody is going to notice or care and the structure is oddly freeing.
If you either don’t care about outfit building in the same crazy way I do, or if you don’t slump, you can skip this. Although, I personally think just rifling through your wardrobe from time to time and finding things you haven’t worn in a while is a great idea for anyone/everyone.
Finally, PLEASE go to bed earlier
I am a sleep hygiene convert. I try to go to bed at 9.30 EVERY night: no phone, black out curtains deployed, ready to zzzzz. Does that seem early? Same here, but I function so much better with that sleep, it is unbelievable (see also: going to the gym, eating properly, drinking water). There is a reason we give kids a bedtime, and honestly you need to give yourself a bedtime too.
This means you won’t have as much spare time of an evening - fine. Honestly, you will adjust. I used to be up until at least 11pm on a regular basis, busily doing whatever. I’ve lost 90 minutes x five days (give or take) which is 7.5 hours a week of doing stuff and all that’s happened is that I’ve gotten way better at prioritising and focusing. I also try to do bedtime on Friday and Saturday nights, but I’m much more flexible (for example, if I’m out and about).
Once you get into this routine, you’ll find that you wake up more regularly (and if you want to go next level, make yourself get up at the same time every morning…even on Sunday). Although I still hate getting up in the cold, at least now I’m not dog tired into the bargain. I strongly, strongly recommend this - the key is consistency, you don’t have to be as early to bed as I am!
So - to recap. Go to bed earlier. Wake up to an organised life (and a fabulous outfit). Do something that starts you off on a happy beat. Make sure you put yourself in an anticipatory mindset. These are, in my view, the keys to a way better winter morning. Let me know what you do!