Mornings, particularly the ones that occur on Mondays, can be brutal. You know it. I know it. We allllll know it. However, there is no denying that having a good morning usually leads to a pretty solid day...even when that day is a dreaded Monday. While I would never ever claim to be any sort of scientist or scholar, I do believe there is a direct correlation between making an effort to foster success and then actually achieving said success.
So, here are some things I've tried in my adulthood...working five days a week at a real job thing that have made for better, more productive mornings that have then turned into better, more productive days. And yes, they've even helped ease the pain of the Monday blues.
1. Meal Prep
Buying lunch every day is expensive, fattening and starts to get a little repetitive (One can only have so many "Pick 2 for $5" meals, ya dig?"). However, packing your lunch in the morning can take time that you usually don't have or want to spend. So, I highly recommend packing your lunch the night before or, at least, getting a feel for what you want to throw together. Pack some snacks in baggies, and put them on your counter. Throw some leftovers in a container so you can just grab it and go the next morning. If you think to prepare something for lunch the night before, I promise you will thank yourself the next morning. Something I've started doing that is buying a package of chicken tenders or breasts and seasoning and baking them on Sunday night. I let them cool off and put them in the fridge. It's so easy to just put a piece in a container with some mixed greens for a quick salad, or heat it up with some rice or veggies for an easy dinner. I also do the same with salmon and tilapia filets. Just throw them in the oven while you're catching up on the latest Housewives episode, and you will have quick go-to lunch and dinner ideas without any hassle.
Bonus points for you if you can chop some fruit the night before or but your coffee grounds in your coffeemaker so all you have to do is turn it on when you wake up. Eating breakfast makes all the difference, and not having to do too much to get it together is a huge help.
2. Lay your outfit out the night before
Okay, because there is nothing more frustrating than trying to have a good, smooth morning and realizing you hate everything in your closet and that you have nothing to wear. Stains, tears, shrinkage and all other trifling matters will ALWAYS show up when you aren't expecting it. Without fail. Eliminate the drama, and skim through your closet for an outfit that you really like the night before and pull it aside. This week I laid out my whole week's worth of outfits, and it easily added 20 more minutes to my morning routine. In high school, I came up with a number system for my clothes that I've managed to carry with me through college and now into adulthood. While there's no need to be that excessive and ridiculous, it will really help if you take five minutes before you go to bed to decide on what you're going to wear the next day. Like, for real.
3. Set a good song as your alarm...one you won't hate no matter how hard you try.
This seems like a small thing, but it's important. Oh my gosh, is it important. The worst thing about alarms is that they are made ridiculously less effective by the mere fact that we have the option to silence them, snooze them and, the infamous move of just turning them off all together. Don't pick your favorite song in life because it will definitely stop being your favorite song. Choose a song that makes you feel good, has an upbeat vibe and has no emotional attachment to your soul in any way. Currently, I like "One Dance" because it's fun. Previously, I tried "Ring the Alarm" which, ironically, wasn't the best choice. P.S. Do NOT pick a song with a ridiculous beginning because it will scare you and make your heart jump...which will then make you more sleepy. Or maybe that's just me. Woops.
4. Pretty Petty Time (PPT)
"Pretty Petty Time" is how I refer to the time between getting out of bed and heading out the door. Now, you can obviously use that time to do whatever you want for however long you want. You can make it a 15-minute rushed fluster-fest or you can clench your fists and actually get up when your alarm goes off to have 30 minutes of PPT. Now, I will be the first to admit that the first one is easier and initially seems to be more appealing because sleep wins, right? Not really. That extra 10 minutes that eventually turns into 20 isn't going to make you feel more rested. It's just not. Get up, and indulge in PPT. Take the time to feel pretty, and be petty about it. For me, that means making a cup of coffee and dancing around in my undies to Drake or watching Bravo reruns instead of trying to scrape lunch together or figure out what dress is going to make me look the least lumpy that day. I like making bowls of fruit or toasting cinnamon bagels and taking the time to eat slow, really really feel the warmth of my coffee and spritz my half-dressed self in body spray and just be. You can, and should, find confidence in many different facets of yourself. You really should. But in a world of air-brushed magazine photos, bikini-clad Instagram models and, I love em but lets be real, the Kardashian-Jenner gals- it's really important to love your bod and all that it is. And it's hard sometimes. Oh man, is it hard. But, it's necessary...you deserve..and you will feel it when it works. Take the time to notice yourself. Notice the tiny bit of change you see after a week of going to the gym and eating more spinach. Notice how good you look in the stuff you got from the VS semi-annual sale. Notice that you dance well, look vibrant and glow. Notice yourself. As much as we think this whole confidence/sex-appeal thing has to do with other people's validation...it's actually been about how you see yourself the whole time. Make the time. Trust me. Feel pretty, and don't be afraid to be a little petty about it.
5. Take a minute
Once you've had your PPT, take a chunk of time to be still and quiet. I like to pray and journal and annotate my Bible and scribble through devotionals to pinpoint what parts of my heart need the most love. Meditate, pray, inhale a chapter of whatever you're reading...listen to a few songs that make your heart beat just that much faster. It can be five minutes...it can be 20. I really think it pays off to give yourself a nugget of your morning to go inside yourself and just be. Much like with PPT, you deserve to nourish the passions and ideas and hopes you have and silence any anxiety or fear that tries to sit on the good stuff. When we go into rushed-autopilot mode, it's easy to forget that negativity lurks in corners. It sits there, and it waits for us to get busy and rushed and anxious so it can seep in. However, it's never had a single thang on someone who proactively works to pluck it out and throw it away. Take the time to do it. We do better when we are rooting for ourselves. Be on your side.