Goals: How to Become a Winter Morning Person

Amelia Diamond | January 19, 2016

This is a whole different ball game than it was this summer

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There is a difference between waking up and getting up — or “being” up. After I tricked myself into becoming a morning person last summer, my eyelids were conditioned to fling open Monday through Sunday at 6:59 a.m., exactly one minute before my standard weekday alarm goes off.

But once the sky joined a frat called fall and started blacking out earlier and earlier, all the progress I made just a few months prior began to drop by the bedside. Each morning at 7:00 a.m., “Marimba” would sound and my heart would start pounding — undecided between awake and anxious. My brain would start telling everyone to calm down, that this was just a nightmare, then my own covers would make matters worse: “Dude, this isn’t a nightmare,” it would remind us. “This is morning. This is what I was trying to warn you about when you were kicking me off in August. This shit sucks.”

I had to fix it.

Stop Telling Yourself, “This Shit Sucks.” 

It is the number one thing that I had to let go if I wanted to get my mornings back, because that internal struggle you just read is a paradox: its intentions are to keep you cozy in bed, to protect you against the outside world of stress and rain and cold. But your sleep from that first alarm until your final snooze button isn’t worth it if you’re dreading the inevitable. So to turn this around, repeat after me: It’s going to be better than okay — it’s going to be great! I’m up!

Annoying, cheerful positivity does wonders. (So does a great morning soundtrack.) You’ll see.

If You’re Going to Stay in Bed, Sleep. 

Per the above, there’s no point in pressing snooze if you’re hitting it every 2 minutes and getting a crap sleep, nor is there any point in ruining a perfectly good bed session by checking your email. Either decide the night before that you’re sleeping in — and then do it, or commit not just to the waking up, but the getting up.

I Know: Ew. How?

The last time I did this, I did it incrementally. This time called for extremes. I had to literally lure my ass out of bed with treats. I made a deal with myself: no gym (and no guilt about not going to the gym) for exactly one week on one condition: I would have to get OUT of bed. Following that, activities could include anything “treat-worthy,” whether that meant walking to get a stupidly decadent latte and doughnut, reading, watching a TV show or taking a proper shower — long and lazy and inappropriately hot.

This step was and is really important. It took the terrors out of waking up. You have to remind yourself that nothing bad happens as a result of starting your day, but if you start your day with dread then you’re setting yourself up for crap. If you wake up and think, “Doughnuts!” you’re far more likely to brighten your bushy tail. Once you acclimate, you’ll start to feel ready to actually do things.

Last thing: go to bed earlier. So obvious, but so often overlooked.

Phase 2: Doing Things

You may love your job more than you do James Corden but you still need something beyond work to get your feet on the ground. Setting an hour goal-timer gave my mornings focus and gave me a reason to get out of bed once I didn’t have frosting dangling from a string. Important: this time should not include brushing the fuzz off your teeth, popping in contacts or getting dressed. Also important: leave work out of it!

For me, I’m heading back to the gym. For you, it might be meditation followed by breakfast making and lunch packing. Maybe you’d just like to read the paper in peace.

The number one thing I learned and have to remind myself over and over (and over) again is that the air is seriously always so much better when you step outside, take a deep breath, and go, “YO MOTHAFUCKA, I GOT THIS.”

Because you do.

Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis. Rug by Cold Picnic, pajamas by Sleepy Jones, mug by Helen Levi, and eye mask by Morgan Lane x Baron von Fancy.

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  • http://www.stylishdisaster.com Liz

    Shit’s rough, which is why I left the Pacific Northwest. Beautiful, yes. Brutal winters with months of gray sky and sunsets at 4 PM that overall make you want to off yourself? Also, yes.

    Good tips. Bailey’s and coffee never hurt anyone, either.

    Liz
    http://www.stylishdisaster.com

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  • http://insertwth.com/ Denisse

    Winters are horrible. Walking the mile to work from the train station to my office is hell! This morning I thought my legs and hands were just going to chip off. It’s so hard getting out of bed in the mornings when you know that that is what’s coming next. I almost curled into fetal position at a Lavazza – planning on staying there forever.

    • Amelia Diamond

      I went into a drug store for a lap today just because I was like nope, can’t make it the whole way

      • http://insertwth.com/ Denisse

        The building I work in has a Target on the first two floors. And a Pret. Which usually means that when it is too cold to go anywhere (like today), I walk the 100 ft into the Target (because they weren’t kind enough to give us access to it from the inside!) and buy food at Pret. Salty goodness.

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      • Debbie

        what the name of the toothpaste in the cover photo

    • tunie

      #1 tip: morning baths – a steaming hot 10 min soak with rosemary bath oil (an acquired taste…er, aroma, but once aquired, just wonderful for mornings only). It warms and moisturizes your whole body including your mind, it’s hard to be stressed out after a hot bath. The rest of the day unfolds warmly 😀

  • Leandra Medine

    I forgot how much I hated winter until yesterday when it came

    • Amelia Diamond

      because it doesn’t lure us in slowly more. it’s just freaky warm, freaky warm, KARATE CHOP COLD ICE MOTHER FUCKER

      • Ashley Cook

        My sentiments exactly.

  • http://cityhabit.wordpress.com Modupe Oloruntoba

    No one can love their job more than they love James Corden… but otherwise a very helpful list. 🙂

    • Amelia Diamond

      Modupe I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve seen your face in the comments. Welcome back and welcome to the James Corden fan club!

      • http://cityhabit.wordpress.com Modupe Oloruntoba

        omgee Amelia it HAS been forever! Switching jobs and other life things have been happening. Good to be home. Long Live James! 😀

  • Jackie

    Love this! It’s all about perspective – and having good things to lure you out of bed certainly helps, especially when it’s freeezing and your bed is too comfortable. Self care for an hour that is unrelated to getting ready for work is such a brilliant way to make mornings better.

  • http://instagram.com/shypony Josie Fillat

    I seriously needed this. I’ve been meaning to start my school schedule of waking up at 6 but sleeping feels so good. I have one week to get my ass up before it’s a necessity. UGH. ok. I’ll try this tomorrow and I’ll let you know my results.

    • Krista Anna Lewis

      I’m so impressed you’ll be getting up that early. You already win in my book.

      • Amelia Diamond

        same

      • http://instagram.com/shypony Josie Fillat

        it ain’t easy. I live exactly an hour train ride from school. I also work at my school and made the mistake of saying I was available for the morning shift that starts at 8:30. Leaves no room for truly sleeping in. I need that hour in the am to get moving!

  • http://www.looking-glass.ca/ Maria

    I’d also say get active, even if it’s just a little stretch. Going for a short walk helps a lot too, fresh air does wonders.

    • Amelia Diamond

      it does!! i’m screwed if it’s raining though. i’m like a cat.

  • Mary Yasmine Arrouche

    Having extra time to do things is pure luxury. That was my trick when I was in grad school. The bonus was also arriving at 8am lectures looking fresh rather than grumpy, undone and half asleep.

    • Amelia Diamond

      it really is. once you think of waking up early as extra time to do your life, it’s more incentivizing

  • http://www.fossypants.com Colby Foss

    I love this – and I feel you. You have a great voice!

    • Amelia Diamond

      you should hear me SING

  • ReadER451

    Thanks, Amelia!

  • Natty

    printing this out and gluing it to my nightstand. i am the WORST at getting out of bed, seasonal affective disorder aside.

    • Amelia Diamond

      because beds rule.

  • Chetna Singh

    I am not a morning person and I hate winter but coffee helps 🙂 I know what you are saying about the snooze button but I just love the extra 10 minutes of precious sleep .. I’m going to try and change that routine and see how it works.

    • Amelia Diamond

      I do too, but wouldn’t you love that 10 extra minutes even more if they weren’t interrupted with a buzzer??

      • Chetna Singh

        It’s definitely a good way to think and I’m going to try it 🙂

      • Camilla

        I used to have to get up at 6 three times a week. On the two days I didn’t I’d still set my alarm for 6 because being able to go back to sleep was the BEST THING EVER. I think even better than non-interrupted sleep which really all feels the same whether its 7 hours or 9.

        • Lebanese Blonde

          This is genius, I just copied you (see below).

  • Yvonne Dunlevie

    Winter is rough. For the past 2 weeks, I have basically been doing the same thing as Amelia and cutting deals with myself. Today 1 on 1 bribe was was: if you got to your workout, you can stop and get a coffee on the way home, rather than just the usual go and come back. Today, I ordered a $12 fur covered hot water bottle off of Restoration Hardware dot com. Once it arrives, I plan to put it in my bed pre-workout and then get back in post workout for 10 minutes. Stay tuned.

  • Angie

    Love the bit about treats! So true. Until this winter I resisted morning coffee ’cause I thought I was special enough to wake up without it. Ten years of sluggish mornings later and I decided to finally give in, and my mornings have never been more productive. Sometimes you gotta give your body what it needs and stop pretending you’re someone else.

  • Esraa Bassiouny

    omg I had the same problem, during summer and early fall I was such a morning person. I woke everyday at seven with so much energy, but when the weather got colder amd gettimg out of the sheets is like facing your worest ememy, I lacked behind amd actually I am pretty sire 99 % of the day I didn’t hear my alarm. I was in my comfort zone, but with exams are here amd getting out of bed is the only way to study, I like to study in the daylight. I had to force myself out of bed every morning, really force myself out. I am so glad to know that this weren’t just my problem.

    http://dressmecasual.blogspot.com

  • Miranda Babbitt

    “But once the sky joined a frat called fall and started blacking out earlier and earlier…”

    Hands down my favourite line in writing of 2016.

  • http://www.mgluxurynews.com María Geronico

    Doing things in the morning is an important element to become a morning person… I’ve realized that it’s so cold lately in my apartment that I rather go to the gym in the morning than work on my blog at 7:30am.

    An especial post today! Check my Puerto Banus Shooting, and enjoy as I did 🙂
    http://www.mgluxurynews.com/posts

    Bests! María

  • Lebanese Blonde

    This very sincerely just changed my resolve as far as mornings go. I only have to actually be in the office 2-3 days a week, but really should be up and out of the house by 8am every day with my freelance things. However, since it’s “up to me” and I “set my own schedule” I inevitably get nothing done until 11 on the weekdays with no office-going.

    Not sure how this will work, but I just set a “Drop everything (i.e. coffee mug, grapefruit, toothbrush, mascara, covers-if-god-forbid-you’re-still-wrapped-in-them) and get out of your house NOW” alarm. The sound is Beyoncé’s Partition. I’m hoping it will curb my inevitable lateness that occurs even if I give myself an extra hour to get ready.

  • Cookie

    Winter sucks ball sacks. Also I like to be warm in the house but its drying me out like a raisin. Fuk dis shit……..still as never moving to LA. ha!

  • Ashley Cook

    Loved this post! I started my spring semester at college today and as soon as my alarm went off at 6:30 (yikes) I checked all social media and email, which was not wise. I totally agree with everything you wrote about doing things to trick your brain into waking up – and staying up! Love MR.

  • Tess

    But to what degree can you evade your natural circadian rhythm? I think being an early bird vs. night owl is, at least in part, biological.

    • Leonie

      I think it is! and my life is better having accepted it, my being a night owl (just btw, i’ts 2am in Berlin right now, and I am wide awake). I don’t like getting up early, and I don’t like the early mornings. I love late mornings though, and evenings turning into nights. I guess to be super fit in the early morning is so aspired, because it’s during mornings that things are open, and at night everything that includes me in society is closed (no consultation hour at my uni, no doctor offices or shops are open, etc.). also it’s the idea that getting up early is productive and therefore a good way to start the day. I just have to personally disagree, I have super productive and healthy days sleeping until 9.30am, getting up and having a great day. and not necessarily a lazier one than if I had gotten up early, pumped through the day and fallen on the couch exhausted and tired at 8pm. I like being fit into the night, checking stuff off my to-do list, but that’s just me – because I am a night owl i guess, and surely not a natural early riser.

      I have once worked at an office where we all came in by 8am, and later worked at one where we started at 11am. I just prefer the 11am to Amelia one, I have enjoyed my life much more during that time for sure (and I do not mean staying up late to party every night).

      Just an honest question to Amelia: why do you want to change your natural pattern? are you actually more productive and overall happy when you train yourself and get up earlier?

  • Cassandra

    Waking up is such a traumatic experience for me. Love the way you describe it.

    http://www.chicforgood.com

  • http://thelilyhoneylife.com Yennie Solheim

    it’s true, dark and cold mornings suck. I like to start mine with a hot beverage, something with too much sweetness, and trashy tv. it always gets me ready for work, in a non-kardashian kind of way. plus, no one can bug me at that hour.

  • http://www.instagram.com/ashleytheeditor Ashley Bess Lane

    I’m training for a triathlon at the moment and the swims are at 6am, three times a week. I can tell you first hand, it doesn’t matter what climate you’re living in: 515am, no matter how you spin it, is brutal (and I’m convinced borderline masochistic). Preventative drowning – swimming is not my strong suit – on race day is about the only thing that gets me out of bed for this…

  • http://alcessa.wordpress.com/ alcessa

    How to become a Winter Moaning Person? Hm, what if I already am one?

  • Alex

    The really important question is: where can I get a boob rug of my very own??

  • Jessica H

    I typically have four alarms set each morning. One hour and fifteen minutes before waking up, a half hour before waking up, 15 minutes before waking up and then the dreaded wake up time. I guess my philosophy is either to draw out the inevitable disgust at anything but my bed by spreading it over time, or to ‘slowly’ wake myself up. There is also an app that tracks your sleep cycles by movement (free) and wakes you up when you are approaching stage 1 sleep or closer to being awake basically in a given time period before wake up time. It lets you know how well you are actually sleeping night by night by showing you a graph of your sleep cycle that night and comparing it to every night before it.

  • chouette

    I read a great article about how they deal with winter in Norway (or somewhere else brutally winter-y) and they basically just force themselves to have winter things to enjoy the same way we live for the beach in summer. Why not live for the excitement that we can ski, ice skate, drink cocoa, sit by a fire, wear sweaters?

  • http://www.thestylestudiobykb.com Keri Blair

    Oh will I ever become a winter morning person? It’s so hard that it’s dark early.
    Keri
    http://www.thestylestudiobykb.com

  • Liz

    I completely understand the winter morning struggle, where I live winter lasts typically 4-5 months and then bam, summer hits. I wrote a blog post about how to eat clean in 2016, I offer easy ways to keep a healthy diet. It’s hard enough in winter to get up out of bed, breakfast shouldn’t be a marathon too! Check it out on my blog The Glamery.

    http://theglamery.com/2016/01/22/healthy-food-hacks-2016/

  • http://www.fabulousandbeauty.com Fabulous and Beauty

    “YO MOTHAFUCKA, I GOT THIS.” loll.

    I’ve been trying to wake up early for so many months now. It is just getting difficult n difficult especially now that winter is upon us. Your tips are very helpful. Need to stop hitting that snooze button.

    Thank you,
    Fahmzz | http://www.fabulousandbeauty.com

  • http://www.jet-lag-trips.com/ Christel

    I am on my way to become a morning person. In fact i feel more energized than spending my time in my bed…