From an alarm clock switch-up to a 5-minute meditation practice, get your morning mojo back with these mood-boosting tips
Does every day currently feel like it should be a duvet day? We know where you’re coming from. The days are getting colder and it’s getting darker earlier, making WFB (working from bed) a seriously tempting prospect.
While we actually gained light in the morning, short term, when the clocks went back, there’s no denying that the dip in temperatures and the long, dark evenings mean we all feel we’re missing out on that sweet vitamin D.
Mood, energy levels and productivity can all dip with the darker hours; fortunately, there are some easy, yet effective ways to help boost morning motivation and get your mojo back.
From meditation techniques to help you focus to re-energising shower oils and feel-good makeup to brighten up your day, here are six morning motivation tips to help you get the spring back into your step without, well, having to wait until spring.
1. Switch up your alarm clock
How does waking up to a golden sunrise sound? Blissful right, but more dream than reality in the winter months. That’s where a sunrise alarm clock comes in.
Designed to slowly illuminate for a wake-up call that gently nudges, rather than shocks you out of your slumber, it provides a great alternative to the eye-scorching light of a phone screen or the sudden jolt of a more traditional alarm clock.
Try: Lumie Sunrise Alarm (£39.99)
• Size: H18 x W17 x D9cm
• 30-minute sunrise/sunset
• Five optional wake-up sounds or a beep
• Snooze feature
• Dimmable bedside lighting
• Mood lighting - choose from green, red, blue, pink, orange or light blue
• 2-year manufacturer's warranty
If you often have a case of alarm clock dread, this pick could change that thanks to its soothing, slowly illuminating warm white light and variety of recorded sounds that range from blackbirds to purring kittens and even goats(!). It also has a 30-minute dimming sunset option which provides the perfect backdrop for your bedtime routine.
2. Set the tone & take control
This can start as soon as you open your eyes. “When we wake up in the morning it’s important to set the tone for your day,” says wellbeing expert and mindfulness coach, Terrence The Teacher. “There are always external factors that could spoil your mood – the emails that you noticed waiting in your inbox, the meeting you might run late for or just the grey day outside looking at you. So, create a morning routine that grounds you and enhances your mood.”
He recommends trying a gratitude meditation to release feel-good hormones and keeping tech at arm’s length, figuratively and literally. “Avoid your mobile and other devices for at least the first 30 minutes in your morning. Try connecting with loved ones instead which may help to enhance your mood.”
3. Try getting a morning workout in
If you’ve always wanted to be a morning workout person, the winter can provide the ideal opportunity to start. By exercising early, you may feel more energised for the rest of the day and more focussed to crack on with your to-do list.
It needn’t be high impact either. In fact, a 2019 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that a morning bout of moderate-intensity exercise was enough to improve cognitive function and working memory.
Any tips if you’re a morning workout newbie? “You need to create a ritual,” says personal trainer and founder of That Girl London, Christina Howells (@thatgirllondon_christina on Instagram). “Plan the mornings that you’re going to train and get everything ready the night before. After three to four weeks, it will become a habit.”
Getting clear on your motivations can also help provide some instant inspo to draw from when your duvet’s calling. “Write your reasons why and keep them somewhere you can see them when you wake up,” Christina recommends. “Sometimes reading them first thing can remind you why you’re getting out of bed.” If you find that daytime distractions – the emails, the phone calls and the meetings – put a stop to your workout plans, the mornings can provide a great distraction-free way to get your workout in while also freeing up your evenings too.
4. Power your shower
A shower is the go-to ritual for many people to wash away signs of tiredness in the mornings, but how open would you be to turning the hot tap off? You may want to take inspiration from Fearne Cotton who, on Joe Wicks’ podcast, recommended cold showers to kickstart productivity. She explained: “I’ll have a warm shower and then I put it on the coldest setting it will go on. I can stay in there for three minutes now and then I get out. It’s heaven, you’re pumped!”
Fearne’s not alone in her praise of cold showers. Miranda Kerr is purported to be a fan and The Rock turned to Twitter to describe how his cold showers help him to “clear the cobwebs and get rollin’” with his day.
If you can’t face the idea of a cold shower in the winter (and really, who could blame you), a revitalising shower oil could be the bathroom upgrade you’ve been looking for. Essential oils such as juniper berry, neroli and grapefruit can all help reinvigorate senses and jumpstart your day.
5. Introduce mindfulness and meditation into your morning routine
“A five to 10 minute meditation can reset your mood, lower anxiety and raise your energy levels,” says Terrence. It can be a helpful habit to get into to help de-stress the body and mind. It can seem hard at first, but it gets easier with practice. “The more that you meditate, the more you will notice the changes,” he says.
Here’s a morning meditation that Terrence recommends trying on the darkest and dreariest of winter mornings to help you feel motivated:
1. On waking up, get comfortable and close your eyes
2. Start by noticing your breath. Connect to it as you breathe in and out
3. After a few breaths, use your imagination and visualise a bright white wall in front of you. The white reflecting light will counter the early darkness that awaits you later
4. Keep your attention and focus on this bright wall for a few minutes
5. Also imagine a warmth reflecting from it just nurturing and energising you
6. After a while, let it fade and then when you’re ready, start going about your day
6. Boost your mood with make-up
When it comes to de-stressing, skincare has fast become a much-needed form of self-care for many people. And make-up is very much a part of that – there’s something incredibly joyous about opening a new lipstick for the first time or using it as a form of self-expression. Bold colours and multi-finish textures appeal to a range of senses and can help you feel ready to face the day.
Try: Huda Beauty Rose Quartz Eyeshadow Palette (£58)
• Size: 17.35g
• 18 shades
Inspired by Huda’s favourite crystal, the re-energising rose quartz, this new eyeshadow palette’s bevy of finishes and shades is a joy to experiment with. Containing matte, metallic and quartz-inspired multi-shimmer marble creams, it’s certain to brighten up anyone’s morning.