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But First, Coffee - The Case For A Slow Morning

5 minReading time

Is breakfast still the most important meal of the day?

If you ask a behavioural psychologist or mood specialist, they’ll say yes. “Breakfast is a critical meal because it influences practically every dimension of our being during the course of the day, including how we perform physically and mentally” says John L Ivy, PhD, Professor Emeritus of the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education at the University of Texas. In other words, you get to set the tone of the day for yourself. For a lot of us, the tone of the day is set for us: Our alarm wakes us up and immediately panic sets in. We run to wake the kids, we jump into the shower, we speed to work. What would it be like if our mornings were more relaxed?

How do you start your day? Do you wake up naturally or to an alarm? Would you describe your mornings as fast or slow? On average how much time do you spend at home in the morning before leaving?

I have the classic night-person morning struggle. Typically when I need to wake up I don’t want to leave the comfort of my sheets. My bed is the friend I never feel I see enough of. So I do what any other person in this position would do: I lag. I lag better than anyone you’ve ever seen lag before.

I snooze. Then I snooze again. Then I start scrolling through Instagram. Then I tell myself that after I’ve scrolled through a few images I’ll stop and actually get out of bed. After that I check the weather, think about what to wear, and then I get out of bed. Approximately 30 minutes later than I should have.

Naturally, my mornings switch from super slow to high-speed real quick.

Then one day my boyfriend mentioned getting up 2 hours before leaving the house. At which point I thought to myself, WHO DOES THAT?

That’s an entire hour in bed you’re missing out on.

But then I started thinking about it. That’s so nice. He doesn’t rush in the morning. Ever. He gives himself way more time than he could ever really need, which means he can take things, really, really, slow. And everyone knows slow mornings are the best kind.

Think about Saturdays and Sundays. On those mornings you have time for pancakes and scrambled eggs. On those mornings you can light candles and listen to music. On those mornings you have time to iron a shirt or do something different with your hair.

Now, as smart as he is, my boyfriend is not the first person to think this way. There are a number of slow morning fans out there; Scott Young and James Clear, among others.

All of them say the same thing: You must give yourself the time and space to start your day. Do not rush into it.

Why is starting slow important?
1. It gives you more freedom and flexibility in the mornings which makes managing your stress levels a lot easier.
2. Your productivity will improve.

The first of those two reasons is the only one I really care about.

I like taking things slowly because I get the opportunity to actually enjoy them. I don’t go for brisk walks, I like to take it easy, look around me, take in the sounds and the smells. It’s not because I think there’s any kind of deep, spiritual awakening that takes place when I do (although I’m sure it’s good for me), but because it makes me happy (provided the smells and sights are good smells and sights, obviously).

So why not do this with my morning? It means I don’t leave home in a panic, stressed for time on my way to the subway. It means I don’t shove spoonfuls of oatmeal or cereal into my mouth while getting dressed, and it means I never leave a full cup of tea sitting in the kitchen as I run out the door.

So is it possible?

Provided I get out of bed on time, yes. And when I do, I tend to leave home with a smile on my face. I set myself up to have a great day from the moment I wake up. It tends not to stop there, (although I can’t claim this is the case every day), but if for example I leave the house and realise my train is delayed, I tend to get less riled up about it. I take it as a moment to do something else, like text a friend, listen to a song or a podcast, or walk to the next stop. It’s almost like slow mornings put me in vacation mode. They stop me rushing everywhere and help me to make the most of the day.

Here are my top three tips for slowing down your mornings:

1. Go to bed earlier
Sleep is the key to productivity. You can optimise your life to death but if you don’t get enough sleep you might as well throw it all out the window. My boyfriend’s most common comment to me is ‘go to bed’, and whilst it might just be because I am bothering him, I also think it’s because he knows I’m not naturally a morning person. Make time for ‘wind-down’ time, put your pyjamas on, brush your teeth and get in bed. Without your phone.

2. Open a window
If you don’t sleep with windows open, open them up. There’s nothing like a blast of fresh air to wake you up.

3. Once you’re up, do something that makes you happy or calms you
For me this is putting on music and lighting a candle. The candle smells nice and the music automatically adds coziness to the room. That’s when I feel like the day has begun.

Could you do it? Let me know if you tried it and how it worked out!

/Femi, The Girl Who Hates Working Out

RELATED: How Quitting Snooze Helped Me Build A Good Exercise Habit

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