I've always wanted to be a morning person, but it's just not happening. What this means is that no matter what side of the bed I get up on, it's the wrong one. Here's how I try to help myself.
Drink something warm.
I realize this makes me sound like a coffee freak, but the truth is that I start looking forward to my morning cup as I'm going to bed the night before. It's like my lighthouse amid the turbulence of the crazy morning routine. I know other coffee drinkers can relate, and even if coffee isn't your cup of tea (ha!!), a comforting cup of whatever floats your boat can really help anchor the day. (Forgive me, I got going with the sea metaphors and I just couldn't stop! The ship has sailed!)
While you're drinking something warm or otherwise comforting, do something meditative. It could be sitting and focusing on your breathing, opening the shades to get a glimpse of the first morning light, listening to the birds begin their chorus, reading a devotional—whatever centers you and gives you some energy from within.
Do something hard.
Once you're soothed by a warm mug of something good and energized by re-calibrating your focus, tackle something hard. It could be a task that would hang over your head for the rest of the day, like writing a difficult email, or it could be logging in your twenty minutes on the treadmill. Some people call this "eating frogs in the morning." Once it's done, you'll feel like you can do anything and how great of a way to face the day is that?
Be kind to those around you.
If you live with others, greet them lovingly and spread some of your morning peace to help their day get off to a good start. Bring your spouse or roommate a cup of a coffee just the way they like it or give your kids a kiss with an "I love you" as you help them get ready. A little thoughtfulness and care make the receiver and the giver happy.
Get ready the night before.
I hate hate hate the morning mad rush out of the house and do whatever I can to make it more manageable. In our household, this means figuring out and maybe even preparing school lunches the night before, starting off with a clean kitchen, having shoes ready and backpacks packed the night before, and going over any schedule variations before we're trying to get everyone where they need to go. For others, picking out clothes the night before might also be a potential sanity saver. Recognize morning "sticking points" (Mommy, I need you to sign this! Mommy, I need money for the book fair! Honey, I have a meeting at noon. Can you pick up the kids? Where are my shooooooooes??!) and try to prepare for them when it's more calm — namely, the day before.
Give yourself another start.
Even if you drink your (sloshing) coffee in the car, toss granola bars at the kids while their papers fly from their backpacks, and leave a sink full of dishes to return to, hit the reset button. The day is full of opportunities to start over — every hour, every minute. Don't let a bad start color your entire day. Begin anew. Sometimes I do it with another cup of coffee.
What are your day-fixing morning routines?