The sounds of a garbage truck or honking cars woke you up. Your roommate is in the shower when you’re already late to work. You burned your toast. The subway is late (or worse, overcrowded). When you live in New York City, there are a million things that can go wrong–all before the clock strikes 9:00 am. It can be hard to keep your cool and a bad morning can set off your entire day.
So how do you take hold of your morning, and set yourself up for the best day ever, every single day? Simple, follow these eight steps:
1. Wake up to the first alarm
Your alarm goes off, you hit snooze once, twice, maybe even three times. Before you know it, it’s an hour later, you’re late for work and groggy from an extra hour of disturbed sleep. This extra bit of shuteye isn’t doing you any favors. You don’t fall back into the REM cycle your body actually needs. Instead, you stay half awake, half asleep and your body is left ultra-confused. Put your alarm (whether it be a clock or your iPhone) far away from your bed so you physically have to stand up to shut it off. That way when it goes off for the first time, you’ll put feet to floor, turn that noisemaker off and start your day.
2. Do some kind of physical activity
You don’t have to run a marathon–you don’t even have to run one mile. Just get up and get active. Getting your blood flowing first thing in the morning will wake you up and kickstart your metabolism for the day ahead. Over the summer, my boyfriend and I would wake up every morning, grab a coffee, and take a walk along the East River. It wasn’t strenuous, but it got us moving. So take a walk (even if it’s just up and down the stairs of your apartment building!), do some yoga, ride a bike. Get your blood pumping and endorphins flowing. Looking for some peer motivation? Join The Rise NYC for free workouts around the city every morning.
3. Make your bed
Make your bed every morning–even if it’s messy. Even if it’s just throwing the sheet over everything. Even if you’re running late. Making your bed sets you up for success–it checks one accomplishment off your list before you even get out the front door.
4. Get yourself ready the night before
Lay out your outfit, pack your work bag/purse, have your shoes ready by the door. The less decisions you have to make in the morning, the more headspace you’ll have for other more important things. Pour the grinds in your coffee maker so all you have to do is press the “brew” button in the morning. Have your breakfast planned. Pack your lunch the night before. Anything you can do to set yourself up the night before means more time in your pocket in the morning.
Ok–I know this one sounds hard. Especially if you live in a city as crazy as New York. But I promise, you can do it. Meditation has serious health benefits and clears your mind so you can start the day level-headed, ready to take on your biggest challenges. And you can do it anywhere–even on the subway. Search for a meditation app to download on your smartphone (there are loads of free ones in the app store). Pop in your earbuds, get the app going, close your eyes, and give yourself a few minutes of calm before you take on the craziness of the day.
6. Eat breakfast
You’ve heard this a million times, but breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy–grab a granola bar or piece of fruit. Or go all out and cook up some bacon and eggs. Whatever you’re feeling, make sure to eat your brain food before heading out the door.
7. Listen to a podcast
Every morning, I listen to either Up First or The Daily podcast on my way to work. They run from 12 – 30 min and give a rundown of everything you need to know for the day. So while you may not have time to read the full New York Times, you’ll still have an idea of what’s going on in the world. Don’t feel like listening to something? Sign up for The Skimm, a daily email with a top line view of the day’s news.
8. Give a compliment
In a city as crazy as New York City, it can be easy to get frustrated with people. Commuters run every which way on the sidewalks, bikers zip through red lights, and cars speed through puddles as you walk past them. It’s annoying. I get it. But before you lose your head, do as Selena (Gomez) does, and kill ‘em with kindness. If you don’t feel like going as far as giving out a compliment to a stranger, just use some words of thanks–thank your bus driver, your barista, or the person in front of you for holding the door. Share a smile, a nod, and we’ll all get through this cold dark winter together.
BONUS: Follow steps 1-8 for a great morning every day. And book your apartment with Bedly to have the best apartment to come home to every evening. Month-to-month leases, furnished bedrooms, and easy online payments mean less stress for you, and a brighter day all around. Check out available units at Bedly.com.
Photo credits in order of appearance: Tenor GIF, The Journal, Quartz, Manchester Madness, Rodale’s Organic Life, Pure Wow, Toronto Star, Nieman Lab, Tenor GIF