Woke Up, Got Out of Bed, Dragged a Comb Across My Head
February 6, 2011 7:28 PM   Subscribe

For those of you who work outside of your homes (especially single people without loved ones or kids to pay attention to in the morning) what's your morning routine? What have you been able to stick with that leaves you happier and healthier for the rest of the day?

I'm ready to put a little more intentionality into what I do in the morning and, while I've got some decent spiritual ideas, I'm looking for things I can do quickly to make sure I'm at my mental and physical best. Assume I've got about an hour, and that I'll consider eating and drinking all sorts of different things but that it's unlikely I'll have the time or energy to cook anything. I generally shower at night, so getting dressed is the only real have-to-do-this part of my morning schedule.
posted by l33tpolicywonk to Health & Fitness (30 answers total) 74 users marked this as a favorite
I walk for an hour, no ipod or anything. It's my morning meditation/exercise. I wish everyone I come across a good morning.
posted by mareli at 7:31 PM on February 6, 2011 [5 favorites]

Showering in the morning really helps me wake up and get in the mood for work. When I shower at night, I really just want to stay in bed and not go to work. Then, it really helps to sit down and eat breakfast (even cereal, like granola) with a full glass of water.
posted by yb2006shasta at 7:34 PM on February 6, 2011

Dude. Breakfast smoothies. Changed my life. Yogurt+milk+banana+assorted fruit (I add protein powder and supplements, too), blend for 10 seconds and you're good to go. If I'm in a rush I throw it in a travel mug to take on the bus. Wakes you up, gives you energy, and as easy as making a pot of coffee. And healthy!
posted by auto-correct at 7:35 PM on February 6, 2011 [3 favorites]

Chop up a ton of fruit and put it in containers over the weekend. I used to slice up a pineapple and a melon on Sunday, and they would generally last me the week. Saves time, and gives you some fresh fruit each day. You could also squeeze orange juice.

One thing that was really great when I managed to do it was to just get up straight away - alarm goes off, and I'd go and eat breakfast. Doing it that way seemed to bypass the impulse to sleep in or fire up my laptop, and I seemed to happier for not having done either of those things. Of course, other elements of your routine may be incompatible with this.

Until recently, I was lucky enough to be able to walk into work every morning, which was brilliant. A daily dose of exercise and a chance to chill out and just do a bit of thinking, without the hassle and stress of commuting. Sun or snow, I walked.

When I had to commute in, I deliberately got off one metro stop early. I'd do vocab flashcards using the Anki app on the metro, then walk for about ten minutes and fit in a podcast then.
posted by djgh at 7:36 PM on February 6, 2011

My work provides breakfast. For the first month or two I thought this was totally awesome. I don't any more. I wake up, make coffee, listen to the news on the radio, change, and walk to work. It's simple, but it's made a huge difference.
posted by devilsbrigade at 7:43 PM on February 6, 2011

I get up at 7:45, shower dress and pack my bag by 8. The coffee is brewing while I do this. At 8 I take my beanbag and sit in front of the window where the sun comes in that time of day. I have my coffee beside me. I light a scented candle and set a timer for 25 minutes.

Then I write.

When the timer goes off I have usually finished my coffee. I stop writing and eat a quick breakfast while reading metafilter :) At 8:45 I am ready to leave the house.

I find the morning coffee-write-beanbag-sunshine routine really peaceful. Sometimes I play Gregorian chant music in the background. I get to work feeling like I already achieved something for the day. I've only been doing this since Jan 1 this year, but I haven't missed a day yet (even weekends, although I get up later then). And I can't imagine stopping it now.
posted by lollusc at 7:52 PM on February 6, 2011 [13 favorites]

Ditch the coffee habit. Make yourself get out of bed as soon as the alarm goes off (put it across the room from your bed if necessary). Find something which you do right out of bed every morning that makes you have to think a bit. I pick out my clothes and shower right away.

I have friends I've known for decades who can't believe how quickly I wake up and am functional in the morning. But then, I don't require a chemical jump-start, and have trained myself to be awake and useful within 10 minutes of being awake.

That's done more for making my mornings useful than anything else.
posted by hippybear at 7:53 PM on February 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

There was a period in my life where I woke up every morning, meditated for an hour, stripped the blankets and linens off my futon, folded up the futon and pushed it against the floor, and then proceeded with the rest of my day.

It was great. Having my bed neatly put away at the end of every night's rest really left me feeling put together and prepared for the rest of my day.
posted by alms at 8:27 PM on February 6, 2011

Best answer: Expanding on breakfast smoothies: green breakfast smoothies. Start with several handfuls of fresh greens and puree them with a little orange juice, then make the smoothie as usual. It looks, I have to admit, totally gross, but you don't taste the greens much at all, and it's fantastic for you. Also, they can easily be made the night before and just stirred up a bit before consumption. I love them.
posted by MeghanC at 8:39 PM on February 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

leaves you happier and healthier for the rest of the day?

For a couple of years I was doing an hour of sitting meditation immediately after getting up, then a half hour run, then shower, eat, and off to work. I felt so good.
In fact I should start again, now I no longer have kids' school runs to do..
posted by anadem at 8:45 PM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

All of the below assumes I have to be at work for 8am.

6:10 Hit snooze for probably the third time. Get out of bed.

6:11 Pee. Comb hair. Shower (wash hair, face, and body) and brush teeth.

6:25 Blow dry hair and/or any other grooming that needs to happen beyond basic cleanliness.

6:30 Get dressed. This can actually be accomplished in less time, but I like to leave myself a small window for realizing my outfit looks stupid or this shirt smells bad or these jeans are too saggy.

6:40 Shoes, hat, gloves, scarf, coat, bag, "last looks" (AKA do I have phone, keys, metrocard? Is everything turned off? Is there anything I'm forgetting?) This doesn't take quite as long in the summertime because I'm often wearing sandals or slip-ons and obviously don't have any bundling up to do.

6:50 Out the door.

6:55 Stop in at the coffee shop which is conveniently located equidistant between my apartment and the subway station. My regular order is a small Guatemala (drip, not espresso), milk, no sugar.

7:05 Be at the subway station. During my commute, I listen to music or podcasts, drink coffee, play games on my iPhone, or read. I usually like to be as zoned out of what is actually happening on the train as possible. Since I have close to an hour's commute in each direction and work 10 or more hours a day, it's vital that I get this "me" time.

Depending on the season, I can shave 10 or so minutes off the getting dressed and bundling up portion of the routine and thus be up and out of the house within 30 minutes rather than 40. The coffee pit stop can also be jettisoned if I oversleep.

I eat breakfast at work, later in the morning.
posted by Sara C. at 8:54 PM on February 6, 2011

i walk the dog for an hour before work, and this helps make commute + computer job closer to tolerable. when the dog and i used to walk instead in the afternoons (evening shifts), a short yoga set, sun salutations and such, for 15 or so mins was a beautiful pre-coffee routine.

mornings are awesome. enjoy them. whatever your routine becomes, make sure it involves something where you soak in the quiet alone time before the day starts its demands.
posted by tamarack at 9:10 PM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I quite like (what I understand of) traditional Hindu mornings: ie ablutions first (pee &/or poo, then purify: wash hands & face & rinse out mouth for freshness) before puja (worship) which in my case involves lighting a stick of incense on a windowsill in a little Lord Ganesha holder (as he is the overcomer of all obstacles). The window is open so some of the fragrance goes out into the world.

All this is while dressed as simply as possible. In theory, it should be unstitched cloth, which in the warmer months is a lungi (basically, a sarong) but in the cooler months it's a dressing gown, which contains stitches, but I'm not that much of a purist.

After making obeisance to Sri Ganesha, it's usually a nice big glass of plain water, which is awesomely refreshing, and reminds me that it's great to be alive, and to appreciate simple pleasures.

Then, put on some coffee, and go outside to drink it. Bonus points if it's dawn or just before sunrise. Watch the birds & plants & things.

I might eat at home or at work, but there's usually a bike ride to work, maybe a bit of time in the gym, and then a shower. The bike ride I love but it's that initial pee-purify-puja combination that really gets the day off to a great start.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:20 PM on February 6, 2011 [3 favorites]

Exercise! Then coffee!
posted by yarly at 9:26 PM on February 6, 2011

wake up with plenty of time - I hate being rushed in the mornings. Do whatever I have to do (shower/shave/breakfast) and then the best part - the bike ride to work. Put on some music that has a good energetic tempo and go!go!go! I have 9km (unfortunately down from 17km at my previous employment) and I get to work, shower again and feel awesome!
posted by alchemist at 12:03 AM on February 7, 2011

I wake up, splash some water on my face, and do 30 minutes of stretching/breathing/yoga-type exercises. The exercises vary from day to day depending on what I feel like doing; but they always last 30 minutes, and even the breathing is dynamic rather than static. Then coffee and breakfast. I find that spending time on the computer early in the morning stresses me/tires me out. But it's hard to avoid, as mornings are often the only time I have to catch up on news, email, etc.
posted by Paris Elk at 12:13 AM on February 7, 2011

I make my bed in the morning. It is one of the few things I do pretty regularly that is good for me (I generally spend my mornings lazing around staring at the internet before rushing to actually get ready). It is nice to come home and not have my bed be a mess.

Otherwise things that make me feel better in the morning are opening my curtains to make my room bright and sunny in the morning (not as effective in bad weather), and having an overall clean room. Deciding the night before what I'm going to wear (done extremely rarely) makes me feel more relaxed in the morning rush.
posted by that girl at 12:32 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Wake up at 06:50, get up immediately. Talk to the cat. Shower, shave and get dressed. Tend to cat's needs, the breakfast with a big glass of water. Pack bag and out the door for the bus to work at 07:55.
I can do this all in less time than I usually take, but then I have extra time to talk to the cat or Mrs arcticseal (who is usually stirring by the time I leave). I enjoy the quiet time to eat breakfast and watch the world outside my window.
iPod is charged and has latest podcasts for the 15 min ride to work.
posted by arcticseal at 2:36 AM on February 7, 2011

Order of my mornings:
1) I get out of bed as soon as the alarm goes off, make a non-caffeinated hot drink and sip that while reading the Bible for 20 mins.
2) Shower, dress, dry hair etc.
3) Put porridge on to cook (I don't count this as cooking! 1 scoop oats, handful of dried fruit, milk to cover, microwave, add sugar and cold milk to taste.)
4) Make lunchtime sandwich while porridge cooks.
5) Eat porridge and read newspaper (15 mins).
6) Walk 20 mins to station while listening to worship music.
7) Arrive at work before anyone else, use quiet building to pray for 20 mins.

This gets me to work feeling healthy, relaxed and prepared for my day :-)

So this takes me longer than an hour, but I find getting up in time to do this really makes my day. I often feel grouchier and more flustered on weekends, because I don't have the routine!
posted by alicegoldie at 4:25 AM on February 7, 2011

Showering and laying out my work clothes the night before has made my mornings so much better. Same with buying a Toddy: I'm much too lazy to use a coffeemaker, so we cold-brew a week's worth and keep it in the fridge, for iced coffee always at the ready.

Overall, I do best when my mornings have plenty of time and little obligation. When I've tried to impose wake-up routines on myself like working out, in the long run it's just made me more reluctant to get out of bed.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:25 AM on February 7, 2011

Definitely breakfast in the morning.

The one thing that I've noticed most is that I tend to be more awake and ready to go if, as soon as the alarm goes off, I'm out of bed and beginning the day. If I lounge around for even a few minutes it becomes impossible to get things done - I feel groggy and irritable for most of the morning.

This is convenient, because (when there's not several feet of snow on the ground) I like cycling to work and in order to arrive on time I really need to get out of bed with the alarm. So I get the double whammy of up-and-at-'em and early morning exercise.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:19 AM on February 7, 2011

I bike to where ever I'm going. It's very good for me - mind, body, and soul.
posted by entropone at 7:55 AM on February 7, 2011

I'm fortunate enough to live a couple of minutes' walk from my gym.

Before I go to bed I get my stuff ready to go swimming, or a yoga class, the next morning (eg, swimming kit, change of clothes) - I know that if I have to get it ready in the morning, it'll be excuse enough to not get up.

I usually get up about 15 minutes after the alarm goes off - any later and I either miss the yoga class, or the pool starts getting too busy. I dress and stagger to the pool, very grumpy and tired, but without leaving myself time to question the wisdom of the idea.

After exercising and showering I feel really, really good. It's just those few first minutes that are tough.

After that: reading over breakfast and then, if there's time, a walk to my local coffee shop to sit and read for a bit. I have no big commute, so I replace it with reading there. No rushing. Then a walk to work.

Perhaps the best thing though... I have Tuesdays off from the routine: no swimming or classes. I can stay in bed, or do something else. No guilt. It makes it much easier to struggle through the other early starts knowing I've granted myself one weekday to be a little lazy.
posted by fabius at 9:50 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

I try to jog for about 25-30 minutes four times a week - gets the blood moving, I enjoy the shower afterwards, and I'm energized 'til noon at least. (It also means I avoid staring at the mirror/wall/burning-breakfast because I haven't quite woken up yet...)
posted by Seeba at 12:24 PM on February 7, 2011

Like UbuRoivas, I first drink a glass of water and wash my hands and face. I will then perform several stretching exercises that I get from this site. The alarm clock is important, and there is no reason to make the sound unpleasant. I use the 15 minute meditation bell from this site in Kalarm. I always try to wake up before dawn, in the spirit of the Chinese proverb, which I think benefits a number of things -- mainly, that willpower is like a muscle and needs to be exercised, and this is an easy way to exercise it -- also, because it's more difficult to do things you regret during the morning hours, and easy to do things you regret during the evening and night at the end of the day.
posted by aesacus at 1:56 PM on February 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

I get up earlier than I need to so I can spend 20-30 minutes eating breakfast, drinking coffee, and surfing the internet. These days that means I also get to watch the sunrise. I've been surprised at how much more I enjoy mornings with the extra time instead of rushing through everything, and I only get up 15-20 minutes earlier than I otherwise would.

I also wash all the dishes from the morning before I leave so I don't have to come home to a pile of dirty dishes.
posted by min at 6:38 PM on February 8, 2011

Response by poster: aesacus: "The alarm clock is important, and there is no reason to make the sound unpleasant."

Which one do you use? Can anybody recommend an alarm clock with a semi-pleasant noise?
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 11:39 AM on February 13, 2011

I use my iPhone - I usually have either the "marimba" one or the one that sounds like church bells.

This morning it woke me out of a deep sleep without me even truly hearing the specific sound. At this point it's more like a [HEY WAKE UP NOW] kind of brain poke. Much better than the always jarring BEEPBEEPBEEP thing.
posted by Sara C. at 12:17 PM on February 13, 2011

I use a radio alarm clock tuned to a classical music station. I hate getting *shocked* awake in the morning - rather a gentle, musical return to awareness.
posted by alchemist at 4:15 AM on February 14, 2011

I've been trying out Sleep Cycle, an iPhone app that attempts to determine how well you sleep at night, then, based on that, wakes you up as gently as possible through a staged snooze. I say "attempts" because it bases its data on motion picked up through the accelerometer, and I have a sneaking suspicion that if you sleep with a partner (as I do), then it may pick up his/her movements as well. The thing I like most about it is that to "snooze" you pick up the iPhone, and the image it displays is a bright yellow sun. Who doesn't like seeing a bright yellow sun when they wake up? I'm a little skeptical about the results (I feel a little better when waking up, but maybe it was the placebo effect?), but I do appreciate the data, flawed as it might be, and the pleasant sounds and image I experience when rising from bed.
posted by sillygwailo at 12:22 AM on February 15, 2011

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