It’s early morning and you’ve already hit the snooze button twice on your phone. Finally, you not-so-gracefully wipe the crust from your dry lips, pick it up, and look at it. The CNN alert says the world is about to end, but you don’t have time for that, so you unlock the screen and immediately check your email. Then you check Instagram. Then Twitter, followed by the 10 other apps you for some reason feel the need to check first thing every morning. Only then do you notice the time. During your three-minute shower, you think about how few likes the photo you posted last night garnered. Dry off, throw on some clothes, grab a big mug of coffee and if you’re lucky you remember to grab a granola bar on your way out. You run out the door already knowing that you’ll be at least five minutes late for work.
Full disclosure: this was my morning, for years. And then I got a much-needed job as a superhero-motivational-high-intensity fitness instructor, so I had to make some changes in order to teach my 6 A.M. classes. I realize I am not totally normal when it comes to this shit, but if my old morning routine sounds at all similar to yours and you’re not happy with your day, I got you. Here are some seemingly-obvious (but worth reiterating) changes you can make to your morning that will increase your chances of being a Do Something Bitch like Ronda Rousey by 50%. (That is not a fact, but probably should be.)
- Use an alarm clock. Do not use your phone as an alarm! The temptation to start browsing through every app as soon as you wake up is too great. Separate from your phone. Really.
- The moment after you wake up is one of the most vulnerable times in your whole day. Start it off by thinking about yourself. You can’t make a difference in anyone else’s world unless you take care of you. So focus on you for a moment, not what other people are doing on social media (because we know it’s all a lie anyway). And don’t think about what other people are thinking about you. YOU think about YOU.
- This is a great time to do some meditation. I know, I know. Even if you don’t know the first thing about meditation, try this: Sit up on your bed, legs crossed, breath in and out slowly counting each inhale and exhale as 1, and then count all the way to 10. That’s it. It helps to reset your mind, calm it down, and organize your thoughts.
- This might sound dumb, but it’s been proven to reduces stress and increases performance: tell yourself one great thing about you, and believe it. You have really great eyebrows.
- Get out of bed. Just do it. Take a quick moment to stretch. Touch your toes. Pop those hips. Move your head side to side.
- Before any other type of food or drink, have a glass of water with a slice of lemon in it. Lemon water gets your metabolism going and gives you nutrients your body needs including, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, iron, to name a few.
- Eat something real, with nutritional value. Try consuming carbohydrates, protein, and fiber. Try oatmeal with fruit. Here’s an easy cold oatmeal recipe you can make the day(s) before so it’s ready to go in the morning when you’re still tired. If you have a blender, make a smoothie or juice. You want foods that will keep you feeling full for longer or have high satiating power. Protein, dietary fiber and water have high satiating power, as well as carbs like whole grain bread and oats. (Processed carbs like the ones found in baked goods have a low satiating power.) Eating good carbs and protein will fill you up, and fiber will also help keep your shit regular. Literally.
- Give yourself enough time to get to where you’re going. Try saying “no” to that extra thing you want to cram into your day. Running around and rushing to every place that you go can be exciting, but it also gives you anxiety, and my guess is you probably need less of that.
Doing all of these things at once may seem like too much work, or too much change. But if you do at least one of them at first, and then slowly add them all in, it can be a smooth transition. You, too, were brought into this world to do more than just fuck millionaires. (Not that that’s a bad thing.)
Emma Lovewell is an instructor at Soulcycle and fitness model in New York City.
Illustration by Tara Jacoby.