Thursday, January 17, 2013

Rise (the Shining Might Follow)

I'm not an early morning person, but I've learned to be.

In graduate school, few of us wanted to teach 8am classes, and yet, they had to be offered. I started volunteering for the 8:00ams my first year in order to befriend my peers (if some of us were willing, then no one had to be forced), but now I'm a fan of early classes (while adjuncting at Midland, I continued to teach fact, I believe I've had an 8am most every semester). Now, I teach 8ams despite the fact that I have a 50 minute commute to campus. The students in early classes tend to be well prepared, and I like the general feel of those classes, a "we're all in this together" attitude. Additionally, I teach well in the morning because I can muster energy, and I enjoy my work day ending earlier in the day (I left at 12:15 today) allowing me to do more with my afternoons.

But do you think I wake up a big, bright ball of happiness every morning? I'll give you a hint: No. Most mornings, I don't want to leave my warm bed. There are certain things one can do though to make the experience more pleasant (or less unpleasant at least), and I'm sharing my tips here.

I might not be shining, however, I'm always rising. 
Just getting out of bed is the first step to being a morning person. I shower the day before my 8ams, so I don't have to generally mess with that in the morning. I set my alarm for 6am and snooze for an additional 30 minutes. I know I'm getting up at 6:30am, no matter what. Snoozing without a set deadline is dangerous. Don't let yourself do this. Instead, make firm plans for a warning alarm and real alarm.

Tell yourself something positive, immediately 

Have you ever seen this video about a little girl making positive affirmations? Well, I don't take it quite that far, but I do immediately tell myself something positive. Waking up early to go to work is better than: not having work AND better than not waking up :) see? Seriously though, it's important to immediately set a good tone for your day.

Have a super short routine

I get ready for my workday in 30 minutes flat. I brush my hair and teeth, put in contacts, and pick out an outfit (my closet is very organized, with everything professional in one place, so I can easily coordinate an outfit I like). My make up routine takes 5 minutes (foundation, brozer, lip gloss, a bit of mascara and done!). I pack my breakfast/snacks/lunch in the morning, but I already have things in the fridge/freezer that I can just grab. I fill up my reusable water bottle, and I'm good to go. I leave my work things on the kitchen table, so I don't forget anything.

Listen to Music

I like to listen to oldies on my way to work. Music in the morning definitely gives a more positive perspective. I don't drink coffee in the morning, but I can see how that would be a nice pick-me-up too.

Be Nice to People, As Soon as Possible 

The second I walk into school, I enjoy greeting the 3 secretaries in the building. Being nice to other people just naturally puts us in a good mood. I always greet my class and ask about their day. I come into the room energetic and ready to go. I want them to feel like my class is a positive place to be, so I immediately try to set that tone. After class, I always talk to the janitor, Gilbert, because I usually see him in the hall. I also talk to the other teachers in my office suite. Work should not be solitary. Take every opportunity you have to interact positively with people.

Do Favors, As Soon as Possible 

Grant kindness, let someone off the hook, forgive. I literally feel my day brighten when I do these things.

Think About What You're Looking Forward To 

On my morning drive, I think a lot about our upcoming wedding and honeymoon. Having fun things to look forward to (and remembering that you have those things) is such a wonderful lift for the spirit. I also think of closer things (this long weekend for example).

Don't Pressure Yourself to Feel Happy

9 times out of 10, I feel like happiness shines through me after I wake up early...1 out of 10 times, it's just not the best day, and that's okay too. Though I don't have to wake up early on M/W/F, I often choose to. I don't like it at first, but I'm so productive on days I get up and start working rather than sleeping, and I use these same techniques on those days too (If I can't have a positive exchange in person, I make a call or write an email).

Are you a morning person (by choice or by force)? What are your tips for rising and shining? Please share.

I can smell my afternoon coffee brewing, time to go!
<3 S, B, L&Z

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