Lifestyle

The Case for Becoming a Morning Person

Turns out there are a few perks to getting up early.

PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK; DESIGN: MIA COLEMAN

I've never been one to hop out of bed at my first alarm — or the second, for that matter. The idea of early morning workouts fills me with dread, and heaven help me if I have to make it across town for an appointment before 9 am. That said, I have started to appreciate having some free time before I start work for the day, because getting up earlier leaves more time for activities before the workday starts — like these fun, outside-the-box ways to treat yourself. 

Go all out on breakfast

Instead of grabbing a protein bar before work, spend a little extra time making yourself a weekend-worthy brunch. Go with the classic diner combo of two eggs any style, bacon, and hash browns, or try something a bit trendier, like these viral baked oats or a triple-decker bagel sandwich. If you don't have time to cook yourself an entire brunch, treat yourself to The Original Donut Shop® Coffee One Step Vanilla Latte. These K-Cup® pods have all the rich creaminess of a café-style latte at the touch of a button. 

Set aside time to read 

If the last time you picked up a book was for a school assignment, you're not giving reading enough credit. One University of Sussex study found that reading for just six minutes reduced stress levels by 68 percent. (Odds are you're probably spending that long scrolling through social media before getting out of bed.) Plus, if you create a designated reading time, you might actually get through all the books in your to-be-read pile. 

Try podcasting and people watching

Another strategy for motivating yourself to get out of bed is saving something special, like a favorite podcast, for the mornings. If you know you'll only listen to it before your workday starts, you might be a bit more excited to start your day. Grab a pair of headphones, press play on the latest episode, and walk to a local park or public garden to listen. Watching joggers, dog walkers, and school kids pass by your park bench while you listen is almost meditative.  

PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK, DESIGN: MIA COLEMAN

Explore a new part of town 

Weekdays can get monotonous, especially if you always do the same exact thing before you start the workday. Bring a little bit of excitement to just another Tuesday by waking up early to be a tourist in your own city. Challenge yourself to skip your usual walking route and instead head to a new-to-you part of town to pick up a breakfast pastry or check out some public art. As simple as it sounds, doing something different — even if it's just visiting a new shop — can really change your perspective. In fact, research shows that our brains are constantly seeking new, novel experiences, and shaking up your routine can improve memory and creativity.  

Tap into your creative side

Consider this a petition to bring back arts and crafts time for adults. Researchers believe flexing your creative muscles can actually help you think positively about the future, lower stress levels, and activate the reward center of the brain. (Plus it’s just as much fun to do now as it was when you were a kid.) Make mornings the time of day when you get in tune with your creative hobbies. You can opt for favorite activities from childhood like doodling or watercolors, or try something you've never done before, like punch needling or calligraphy.  

PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK; DESIGN: MIA COLEMAN

Do some thrifting 

Sometimes, the early bird really does get the worm — and in this case, the worm is a pair of dirt-cheap, perfectly distressed jeans. Hitting up your local thrift stores or antique shops right when they open means you'll get first pick at some really cool vintage finds. Take it to the next level by getting to know the employees at your favorite shop and finding out when they accept donations or get new inventory to really have the inside track. Even if you don't buy anything, there's something undeniably pleasing about browsing the shelves.

Hit the trail for a solo hike

Getting in some physical activity can also help you start the day off right: One 2019 study found that people who exercised in the morning had improved attention, decision-making, and visual learning abilities. That doesn't mean you have to start going for long runs at the crack of dawn, though. Try a more low-key way to get your blood pumping you’ll actually enjoy, like hiking a local trail. You probably won't run into as many other people as you would later in the day, so you can really soak up the peace and quiet of being out in nature. Don't forget to treat yourself with a mug full of The Original Donut Shop® Coffee Regular before you hit the trails, too.

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