A morning routine (or lack thereof) can make or break you, especially as a working parent trying to get everyone out the door by a certain time.

I’m not one of those “skip a meal” types who can barrel on through the day on energy drinks and a candy bar. My blood sugar starts the downward spiral around 10 AM if my belly’s empty, and I start nearing hangry level as lunch approaches. Heaven help me if lunch gets delayed, too. It can be hard enough to tackle a busy day with a smile, let alone with the added pressure of a grumbling stomach and hunger-induced nagging headache.

I prefer to set myself up for success each morning! It doesn’t take much to encourage an awesome start to the day, and chances are if the first part of MY day’s going smoothly, then the same goes for the rest of my family. Kind of like the domino effect, in a positive sense.

Not skipping breakfast is the most obvious way to prevent a harried morning, but it’s not the only one!

Boost Your Morning Routine: 6 Tips

How To Give Your Mornings A Boost: 6 Tips!

1. Keep breakfast simple and quick.

I’ve been known to craft a decent breakfast spread on the weekend if we don’t have anywhere to be before the afternoon (or at all). I love those kinds of weekends, full of homemade waffles with real maple syrup, bacon and a second pot of coffee.

During the week though, anything more than heating leftover pancakes in the microwave is out the window. Even for me, the food blogger who enjoys cooking, and who finds it generally relaxing and fun.

So, instead, I don’t plan over-the-top or complicated breakfasts for weekday mornings. We keep it simple. The kids usually have cereal with fruit (or maybe those reheated pancakes I mentioned earlier), and I might have yogurt with fruit, or a yummy homemade snack bar. Those homemade snack bars are my sister’s creation, modeled after Larabars. They’re easy to make ahead on the weekend, and are perfect to quell a hungry belly in the morning — whether you have time to enjoy one at the kitchen table, or need something to grab ‘n go on the run.

Another favorite of mine are these blueberry crumble bars. They’re a little sweeter than the snack bars (so, um, it’s kind of like enjoying dessert for breakfast), and go perfectly with a hot cup of coffee. Blueberry crumble bars are also easy to make ahead, which means before work the only thing you need to worry about is whether to grab one … or two.

Blueberry Crumble Bars! Yum!

Pro tip: grab two.

2. Get plenty of sleep.

I believe that being well-rested pretty much solves all the world’s problems. We tend to forget this as adults, and often run on empty: Five hours of sleep each night. That’ll do. {yawn}

The reality is, grown-ups need plenty of sleep in order to function well; it’s not just kids. In fact, adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Realizing all the things we need to accomplish every day, getting that much sleep regularly seems daunting — even if, like me, you don’t have any trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. I can’t imagine if insomnia were thrown into the mix, too.

So, if you’re not getting enough sleep, your mornings won’t be awesome. Like, ever. Focus on getting at least seven hours of sleep a night, whether that means lights out earlier than normal, or condensing your morning routine so you can sleep a little later. Reduce screen time an hour before bed, try to get up the same time everyday (even on weekends!), and eliminate caffeine after 3 or 4 PM. Taking a little time to ensure your day’s organized and prioritized can help big time (a-hem, see #5).

3. Take time to savor your cup of coffee.

I’d hate to say that I “need” my cup(s) of coffee in the morning, because the reality is, even if my body didn’t appreciate the caffeine jolt, I’d still enjoy a good cup of decaf. I love coffee’s flavor, and the warmth it brings first thing in the morning.

My favorite cup of coffee is brewed with a French press because it makes the coffee taste velvety and smooth. Problem is, I can’t set my French press to auto-brew first thing in the morning, so I’ll often save the French press for the weekend OR maybe for an afternoon pick-me-up. My everyday drip coffee pot is the workhorse—it’s not fancy, but it does the trick. It’s set to brew at 6 AM, and I usually get up within the hour. It’s ready and waiting … a full pot of hot, strong, delicious coffee.

I use the mornings before the kids wake up to figure out the day, browse my social media channels, and sometimes read a little, all while sipping my hot and steamy mugful of coffee. And when it comes to making that perfect cup of coffee, it doesn’t take much to please me: no sugar and a splash of something creamy—like the whole milk I always have in the fridge (though it’s an extra special treat when I have leftover whipping cream…).

How To Give Your Mornings A Boost: 6 Tips!

4. Read something.

I’ve stopped watching the news in the morning. Part of that’s because I gave up the satellite in the living room in favor of Amazon Fire TV (yes, I realize there are news apps), and part of that’s because so much of the news on air makes me want to gag — whether it’s election-related or just depressing generally. I prefer, instead, to read online about the news from sources I trust, and that are as unbiased as possible (difficult, I know).

I’ll also read for fun in the morning sometimes, too. Just for 30 to 45 minutes — a couple chapters’ worth — while I’m savoring my first cup of coffee and waking up. It’s a nice way to jump start the day!

5. Get outside, even for just a few minutes.

Soaking up fresh air and vitamin D can do wonders for your overall feeling in the morning. In warmer months, I like to step outside and peruse my container gardens, checking out what’s blooming, and whether or not I have any tomatoes or peppers starting to ripen. Jen likes to take long walks (or even runs!) in the mornings. It doesn’t have to be anything that requires a major commitment; even sitting outside while you enjoy your first cup of coffee can set a peaceful precedence for the day.

6. Organize your thoughts and your day.

A couple months ago I discovered the Bullet Journal. Each night I prepare the next day’s spread, taking into account all the things I need to accomplish, whether it’s for work or personal, in a task list format. In the morning before I get ready, I take a look at the day ahead and mentally go through prioritizing what to tackle first (usually something yucky so it’s out of the way early).

Believe it or not, something as simple as spending 15 minutes sorting out to-dos can drastically improve the generally awesomeness of the rest of the day. Truly.

 

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