Pitch black skies, super low temperatures and a warm comfortable bed can make our winter wake-up routines an absolute nightmare, especially if you find it hard to function properly on a morning. We already struggle enough during the spring and summer months, but as autumn kicks in and the clocks go back that process gets even harder.

I used to go through the same steps every morning. I’d hit the snooze button ten times, pretend to be asleep and ignore my alarms, and then get ready in what feels like a slow-motion pace. On winter mornings my bed feels like the best thing ever, and if, like me, you struggle getting up it probably is the best thing ever. What makes the situation worse for me is when people say “you don’t get enough sleep.” That is so not true. I get about 6.5-8 hours’ sleep per night, and since going vegan I’ve slept solidly most nights.

“I’m just not a morning person, and not everyone has to be.”

As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to accept that fact. I will never have that excitable urge to get out of bed, nor will I ever feel fresh and excited on a morning. It’s not until around 11am when I actually feel like I can start being creative, and it’s at about 1pm where I’m at my most productive. I embrace those times!

Even though I’ve completely accepted that I’m not a morning person, this doesn’t mean that I can’t make mornings a little easier for myself when I’m getting up and ready, even in the winter! Here are my tried and tested tips for you morning strugglers…

Prepare the Night Before

I know, people always mention this one. But that’s because it’s so important, especially for a Monday. I’m not one of those organised people who appear to have all their lives sorted out (is anyone?), but I’ve experienced the difference between preparing myself the night before and having to do it all on the morning. It’s game changing.

I lay out my makeup and outfit the night before, I get my bag ready and sometimes I even prep my morning smoothie so that I don’t have to rush. If I decide to change my outfit, there’s always time after I’ve got everything sorted. I also have one of those weekly vitamin boxes that I top up every Sunday so I don’t have to spend time sorting my vitamins out.

Another way to prep is by tidying your room. Waking up to a messy bedroom whilst having to try and think straight is not ideal. Even if it’s a quick 5 minute tidy up it can really make a difference to your morning, it’ll help you to wake up with a clear mind.

Before I go to sleep I put my phone on charge on the other side of the room so that when my alarm goes off I have to get up and turn it off. I usually get back in bed and browse social media on my phone for 10 minutes, but by then I’ve woken up a bit and I’ve already done the hardest thing – leaving my bed. Using your phone can stimulate your brain too, so if I do wake up in the middle of the night it stops me from having a quick browse.

Cut out Caffeine and Stimulants after 7pm

OK that subheading sounds a little scary. You don’t necessarily have to do this completely, but making little changes will help. I know my body and how my system responds to different food and drink. I can drink coffee after 7pm and still sleep fine, but if I have a 330ml Pepsi you can guarantee that I’m going to still be awake by 2am. Pepsi and sugar can ruin my sleep quality, so I try to stay away from that after 7pm, or even earlier if I can.

It can be a bit awkward trying to figure out what your body reacts to, especially if you have no idea. You could try this on a weekend or the night before a sleep in. Or if you wanted to be super responsible you could just cut out caffeine completely!

Make Lists

I may not be good at getting up on a morning but I’m definitely good at making lists! I even write lists of the lists I need to make (don’t judge me). I’m constantly working with my lists and adding new tasks and ideas to them. From work tasks to life admin stuff, it’s written down. I use Microsoft Office OneNote to write down most of my ideas and creative stuff, and I use my bullet journal to break down and structure tasks.

I wake up every morning with a good idea of what I have to do that day, and there’s always room for extra, unexpected tasks. It makes getting out of bed that little bit less daunting.

When you Wake up – Starting a Routine

This is another tip that’s always talked about, and again, it’s an important one. Our bodies and minds absolutely love a routine; we really dislike change and anything unexpected. This isn’t always a good thing, but on a morning keeping everything as normal as you can is always effective.

Establish a routine for yourself. It doesn’t have to be something super strict that you can’t deter from. It’s good to try new ideas and techniques, but as a starting point it’ll be useful if you keep your routine in order.

Every morning I wake up, use the bathroom and brush my teeth, clean my skin, get dressed, make a coffee and then do my makeup and hair. I’ve done this for months now, so I occasionally swap it around – I might clean my skin before brushing my teeth on one occasion, or do my makeup before getting ready, but the general routine stays the same. I’ve done it so much now that I’m pretty sure I could do it with a clear mind and with my eyes closed – ideal on a morning!

When I’m dressed and I’m doing my makeup I like to put my dressing gown and slippers on too. It’s not nice trying to do your makeup when you’re shivering!

My Morning Routine

Show Gratitude and Embrace the Positivity

I eventually taught myself the meaning of true gratitude and how to be thankful for what I have, even if it is 6:30 on a freezing cold morning in December! While I’m waiting for the kettle to boil I usually take a moment to feel thankful for what I have and what opportunities I have every day. It puts me in a positive mind-set as I start to wake up, and it definitely makes my day a little bit more pleasant.

You could start by thinking of 5 simple things you’re thankful for every morning. It can be something so simple like a warm cup of tea, a refreshing shower or a cosy dressing gown.

Other Quick Tips

  • Open your curtains or blinds slightly before you sleep to allow a bit of natural light to shine through as the sun rises
  • Take your vitamin D supplements, especially in the winter months
  • Chamomile tea is a great drink to have at bed time
  • Stop counting how many hours sleep you’ve had as soon as you’ve woken up – it can set the tone for your day
  • Don’t snooze your alarm!
  • Take a shower with a fresh smelling shower gel
  • Light a candle or some incense to wake up your senses

Do you have any tips that make your mornings run smoothly? Or are you lucky enough to be a morning person?

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