I. Am. NOT. A. Morning. Person……. Never have been, never will be. It’s just one of those times of the day that I don’t look forward to. Pulling the covers over my head and laying in bed until the very last minute has always been my favorite friend to survive the morning. That’s why morning life hacks rock my world, because it helps even non morning people like me get my day on the right track.
Over the years though, I realize it was this routine that really set my days up for failure. In order to get my day in order, I would find life hack after life hack to try to make my morning more successful, but all of them were just about going faster and cutting corners, which is great, but when you really are just trying to avoid facing the day there’s something a little bit deeper that you need to look at.
First of all, this isn’t your average list of life hacks. Sure, cutting corners are great, but the problem I find with a lot of things is that we are moving too fast. We are moving at light speed. We lay in bed until the last minute, throw on our clothes, grab a bite to eat (sometimes), and run off to the races. Sure, not everyone may have mornings like this but it seems more and more we are told to do more, be more, go more. It’s no wonder that we have no idea who we are, what we want, or where we are at emotionally.
You can’t pass any news stand without seeing ten magazines promising life hacks to change your day so you can fit more in, and on the same cover tell you ten tricks to lose all the weight you want. It’s all about tricks and gimmicks about getting the life that you want, but most of it is just click bait to get you to buy the magazine. Fast solutions with lightening speed rates of failure. That’s not how to change your life. You know what is? SLOWING DOWN.
We’ve lost touch with ourselves as a society. Self care has taken a back seat to being more productive and doing more. We lie to ourselves and tell ourselves that we can’t take things off our plate, that we can’t make ourselves a priority, but I’m here to tell you folks that you can’t afford NOT to make yourself a priority. It’s not just lip service. Learn from my lessons, which of course were learned the hard way.
In the last year, I’ve had to deal with major health issues that were flared because my life was chaotic and I wasn’t taking care of myself. My body literally forced me to take the time to slow down and figure out how to take care of myself. It taught me to be more mindful, and in the last year, I’ve not only learned how to slow down, but how to truly take care of myself. That’s where my 5 life hacks come in. These are tried and true tips that I’ve learned over the last year that have gotten me closer to an even keel.
Through struggling with perfectionism and weight gain my whole life, I’ve tried everything out there that doesn’t work. The only times that I make progress is when I do the work behind the work. For me, that means putting weight loss goals on the way back burner. In my opinion, if weight loss is your first goal then you are setting yourself up for failure. You’ve got to treat yourself as a whole person. What got you to where you are today? Lack of willpower? (I can go ahead and tell you that is not it) It’s probably more of the fact life is chaotic and you can’t remember the last time you checked in with yourself to see what was going on with YOU!
Over my lovely 36 years of life, I’ve learned that I use food to cope with so much of my life. Boredeom. Happiness. Sadness. Yup, I’m the typical emotional eater. On top of that I’ve never really made meal preparation a huge priority, so I end up grabbing things on the go because I am starving and have no food in sight. That usually leads to food choices that aren’t the most fulfilling.
Busy, busy, busy makes for a really unhealthy and unhappy Ashley. Maybe the same is true for you. It wasn’t until I started slowing down, and checking in with myself that I realized what was really fueling my need to eat all the time. Slow down, be more mindful, make yourself a priority, those are the steps you need to take to get on the right track. Here are the other life hacks I’ve learned lead to living a more healthy, fulfilled life.
5 Life Hacks to Change Your Life One Morning at a Time
Morning Pages: What are morning pages you ask? These are a great tip I learned from a favorite author of mine, Julia Cameron. (You can even check out my interview with Julia Cameron on this episode of the Quirky Inspired podcast) Morning pages are journaling you do first thing in the morning. I normally do them after I’ve gotten my shower, and my brain is actually functioning. It really helps me get the cobwebs out of my head, and rereading it later has really let me slow down and understand some themes that are in my life; the fear of failure, the fear of not being good enough, and the fear of missing out. (All of which I use food to cope)
Fit Breaks: I’m in love with the new Fit Break app from Weight Watchers. Mornings are so hard on my body thanks to fibromyalgia, so I have to do little short movements to get me going in the morning. Fit Break app gives me one minute mini workouts to get my day going. On good days, I love to get up and fit a few in before going to work. Other mornings, I just take it slow and get one fit break in, but it gets me moving more than I had in the past. Moving more is the most important part. You don’t have to be a gym rat to make positive changes.
Routines: Yeah, this one is old hat, but it’s really true. I’m the QUEEN of trying to skip out on doing things that I should. Slowing down, and setting up a routine has helped me to make my health a priority. My medicines are right next to my bed, so I remember to take them. My clothes are put out the night before, so I know what I am going to wear. I have little stations all around my house so the things I need to do are RIGHT in front of my face. That way I have to try hard to ignore them, which it makes it much easier to just go ahead and do what I should be doing anyway.
Music, Music, Music: I’m sure some super smart scientist somewhere has done a study talking about the power of music, but rather than bore you with that nonsense I’ll just tell you. Music can help even the most morning crabby butt go from crabby to at least human in 2.3 seconds (yep, I’m the crabby butt). My $10 subscription to Spotify has saved many, many lives ;). Just sayin’.
Rewards, rewards, rewards: When all else fails, bribery is not out of the question. For me, I have a little piggy bank on my desk that I stuff with dollar bills. Every day that I get up and slow down, make my health and myself a priority a dollar goes into the piggy. I’m saving up for more knitting classes and glass blowing classes. They are things that I’ve found really bring me a lot of happy dances so I’m bribing myself because I really, really want to go play with fire and glass again.
I’m not Buddha nor Ghandi, but I have a whole life’s worth of figuring out what doesn’t work to make you healthy and happy. Life and health is about taking care of your whole self. Your mind, body, and spirit. Gone are the days when a number on the scale should define you.