6 Easy Morning Rituals to Help Combat Winter Blues
We know, we know: It’s hard enough not hitting snooze four times on any given day, let alone when it’s 30 degrees outside and dark until 9 a.m. But getting into a productive morning habit now (hey, becoming a morning person was one of your New Year’s resolutions, after all) can help you build up the routine for the long haul. Plus, what better way to fight seasonal blues than by starting your day off on the best possible foot? Here, six easy morning rituals you can start now to help avoid those dead-of-winter woes.
1. Use a Sun Lamp to Wake Up
Five hours of sunlight a day isn’t just bad for your vitamin D levels, it’s also not doing you any favors in the peaceful wakeup department. Instead of being jolted awake by the annoying beeps of your alarm clock while it’s still pitch-black in your bedroom, you can use one of those fancy sunrise alarm clocks to help you gradually wake up. Thirty minutes before your desired alarm time, the backlit clock will steadily increase in brightness, mimicking an actual sunrise, until the specified time. Sun simulators and light therapy are clinically proved to reduce the effects of mild seasonal affective disorder and help you feel more refreshed upon rising, so you can always get up on the right side of the bed.
2. MAKE YOURSELF (A QUICK BUT HAPPY) BREAKFAST
We’re not saying you need to set your alarm an hour earlier to prep and eat a full meal. Over the weekend, simply carve out an extra 15 minutes to make a big batch of classic frittatas (just think about all the topping options!) using Happy Egg Organic Free Range Eggs, and you’ll have breakfast all week. Happy Eggs come from hens that are free to roam on more than eight acres of pasture, which is important considering most eggs at your grocery store come from hens that never go outside. Your stomach and your heart will thank you: With each bite you’re backing a brand that chooses happy every day. From the close relationships with its 50-plus family farmers to the care and attention they give their hens, Happy Egg delivers great-tasting eggs to your breakfast plate daily. The recipe is simple but hearty, so it’ll ward off a serious crash later in the day. You know, the kind you get when Jen from accounting brings in doughnuts and it gets dark at 4 p.m.
3. Practice Five-Minute Meditations
Whether you use a guided app to silence your mind or just sit quietly on your couch, meditation has been proved to not only reduce stress but also increase focus, spark creativity and improve productivity—all the things that feel extra hard when your vitamin D is at an all-time low. It’s also best to do it at the start of your day in order to take advantage of the physical and mental quiet (ya know, before deadlines, calendar notifications and weekend plans cause major brain clutter). Don’t overthink it: Set a timer on your phone for five to ten minutes, close your eyes, clear your thoughts and focus on your breathing. If, after five minutes, you’re still wondering what outfit you’re going to wear that day, don’t fret. Once you make it a daily habit, you’ll discover your ability to move past such thoughts and into the quietness of your mind.
4. Unplug 'Til 10 A.M.
Be honest: At least half of your precious morning minutes are spent catching up on social media. It’s even easier to scroll endlessly on your phone in winter, when it’s still dark outside and the motivation to get up and at ’em can be seriously lacking (that jogging-three-times-a-week resolution was quickly replaced by a follow-workout-influencers resolution). Instead, make it a personal rule that you can’t look at your phone until you’re out of bed and fully ready for the day. Better yet: Try not to look at your device until after you’ve sorted through last night’s emails and prioritized your to-do list. You’ll be shocked at how much more time it feels like you have (and how little you needed to know about Carrie’s new home reno project before your first cup of coffee).
5. Jot Down Daily Intentions
Just like you set resolutions for the New Year, think of daily intentions as mini resolutions for each day. Whether it’s going through your to-do list, setting daily goals, writing down favorite quotes or just remembering all the reasons to be grateful for the here and now, there are plenty of easy ways to prioritize what’s important, practice gratitude and set your sights on success. Starting your morning with positivity sets the tone for the rest of the day, even if it’s a dull, gray Tuesday in February.
6. Do Some Light Stretching
You don’t have to be an expert yogi to fold yourself into a child’s pose, hold your feet as you rock back and forth in happy baby pose or spread your arms out high for a sun salutation as you get out of bed. Your bedroom is probably colder than usual this time of year, and scrunching into a ball under your comforter for warmth can cause muscle tightness. So it’s especially important to slowly wake up your muscles and, in turn, your mind. Whether it’s a light ten-minute stretch to calming music (may we recommend a super Zen morning playlist?) or stretching out while you’re still under your sheets (spread your body into a starfish pose and check in with each individual limb, one at a time), there’s no wrong way to do it.