5 Ways to Make Mornings Easier, More Enjoyable, and Less Stressful

If you’re like me you’ve experienced the barrage of disappointments that come from not getting enough sleep at night.

WHAT!?! I JUST went to sleep! How is it 5am already?!

NO!! OMG NO!

WHHYYYYYYYY!

Well, I just won’t go to the gym this morning.

(40 minutes later) OMG I’m STILL tired!

coffeeThen it’s getting out of bed as slow as humanly possible. Lingering in the perfectly warm blankets, despising my cat for being able to sleep indefinitely yet waking me up with its wet nose and then putting her ass in my face the minute I open my eyes at 3am because maybe it’s time for food yet?! -__-

Cats are dumb.

But luckily YOU aren’t! And there are actually things we can do to make mornings easier.

Besides all of the reasons to get more sleep and what happens when you don’t get enough, I want to focus on the things you can do to make your mornings easier and less stressful.

haikuSome people are able to wake up with mild struggles, take on the day and go throughout their morning with minor stress and anxiety. Well GOOD for them. I am not like this at all. I push it when it comes to listening to my alarm clock, if my phone were a person it would be the equivalent of you trying to talk to me and me constantly pushing your entire face away with my hand. DO NOT WANT.

But this, as we know isn’t effective. It’s also not effective because then I have entirely too little time to get ready and do all the things I like to do to try to look presentable. So what happens next is me rushing into the shower – which is a lot like the Odyssey when Odysseus ventures onto an island and spends like 4 hours on it with Calypso but then on the outside 7 years have actually passed. Yeah, that’s basically the shower. La la la hot water feels so good, it’s clearly only been like 8 minutes…holy $@&% it’s 7:30 already!!! Jesus $#%ing now I only have 15 minutes to eat things and make my face look less like my normal face. Crap!

Then I get angry because “everything” goes wrong. I can’t find where I put the tomatoes, the cat is in the way, the cat is STILL in the way, damn it cat, quit walking EXACTLY where I’m trying to go.

Meanwhile my poor husband is watching from afar probably thinking “good lord where is my wife, I’ve married a monster and I’m afraid  she might stab me with that spatula if I make any sudden movements…”

So after the Xteenth time of this happening, I sat down and thought about what I could do to make my life easier and way less stressful.

1. Take 10 minutes before bed to get shit together – this could mean a variety of things but for me it means the following specifics:

  • Set the coffee pot – I’m a weak person and I need my coffee in the morning, especially since I usually get up around 4:45/5am. I cannot function mentally before I know I have a cup of hot black coffee in my hand. Trying to fumble through the dark kitchen and make this happen at that ungodly hour only makes me more upset that I’m awake. Plus, I usually end up stepping on the cat and it isn’t helping our relationship bloom necessarily.
  • Plan out your outfit – You would think that putting on clothes in the morning would be no big deal. Guys do it all the time, they just…and oh look they are handsome. Yeah no. I don’t work that way. THIS takes a little more effort. Plus I never know when what I was thinking in my head as possibly cute could turn into “oh shit it has holes in it” or “since when did you get extremely bloated in your left leg” – seriously – these things happen. Having one or two SOLID options and more importantly, KNOWING where all those articles of clothing are, is SUPER important.

2. Tidy up the kitchen – There’s nothing more frustrating than waking up tired and then having to clean, load/unload the dishwasher, or move stuff around in the sink to even be able to reach what you need or get a skillet out for eggs. Knowing that everything is ready to go the night before will help you feel accomplished and more ready to sleep. Things I’ll also do will be throwing in a load of laundry, folding any blankets that are lying out on the couch, clearing off any flat surfaces where we’ve piled up junk. A clean neat space = a clean calm mind.

3. Make your bed in the morning! This one really is important and the Thrifty Couple did a great post about it. Making your bed first thing in the morning (or right after you get your coffee) instantly makes the room feel better and look, you’ve already completed something for the day! It doesn’t matter HOW clean your bedroom is, if the bed isn’t made, it looks like a disaster. Plus then when you get home after work you’ll get to walk into a room with a bed completely ready for sleeps!

4. Pack your lunch and prep your breakfast – think there’s not much to do anyway and you can totally do it in the morning? Yeah, so do I most days but I can’t tell you how helpful it is when I’m in a rush and the past me  has already cut up cucumbers and tomatoes and put them in a container in the fridge the night before. We drink a lot of smoothies so even freezing bananas and getting everything together in a bag that we want to blend up the next day can save a lot of time, especially when you have a tiny kitchen and have to keep inching by one another. Even just getting an idea of what you want to make for lunch the night before can save a lot of decision-making time in the AM.

5. Don’t get distracted – this is a big one. I’d love to have more time in the morning but I’m not sure how I could get up ANY earlier than I already do. The time allotment I give myself is fine, except when I start doing something else randomly. When we’re tired and not fully awake yet it’s easy to not choose the right priorities. For example, I will easily spend 10 minutes on my phone looking at Facebook, decide to start clipping my finger  nails, or want to re-organize that desk drawer because I just thought of it. But the morning RIGHT before work or whatever you have to do or get to is NOT the time. Instead, create a system for things you think of so you’ll remember to do them later. More often than not I get distracted and lose track of time because I’m worried that if I don’t do it that very second, I’ll completely forget and it will never get done. Keep a white board or a note pad on the fridge or download the amazing iPhone all, AnyList to keep track of groceries, errands and update it in real-time with anyone you share your lists with.

Now the key is sticking to these! Good luck and happy sleeping!

 

 

 

 

 

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Banana Almond Butter Blondies

These.

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The other night I was craving a Hershey’s bar so bad I was making noises and embarrassing myself at the grocery store. I KNEW though that if I caved, I’d be upset. Not because indulging is bad but because Hershey’s bars are now made with more fake ingredients and isolates (ingredients found naturally that are then isolated and put into products in higher amounts than found in nature) than they once used to. Without going on a rant with this alone, I’ll get to the story about me laying in bed for over an hour pouting that my life was over that night because I wanted a chocolate bar and I couldn’t have it. The 26 year old version of a tantrum.

But I didn’t cave. Instead, I thought about what I had in my kitchen and decided to come up with a healthier recipe to satisfy my sweet tooth. Thus, the birth of the banana almond butter blondie bars was born and let me tell you, these are dynamite delicious! So much so that my husband and I inhaled the entire 12 bars within 20 minutes of them coming out of the oven. But you know, it was for science…and blogging…and all of you! I took one for the team! ….erm. Good lord I already want more of these!

This was also my first time buying and using dates. I’ll be honest, I was always hesitant because they look like a pile of bugs. But great odin’s raven are these things sweet and amazing! In fact, of all the dates I’ve experienced, these were definitely the sweetest (see what I did there – my Dad humor has no end). And while dates are high in fructose, they also are packed with magnesium, fiber, potassium, and antioxidants. In other words. they are a MUCH better alternative to get some sweet in your baking that just using refined sugar.

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I’ll stop teasing and give you the recipe already 😛

Recipe:

  • 3 bananas
  • 6 pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup whole grain oats
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a smaller baking dish (I used a glass 6×8 or so) with wax paper and cooking spray. Mash together bananas until creamy. Slice up pitted dates. Combine all ingredients into a bowl with mashed bananas. Pour mixture into lined baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

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The beauty of these is you can eat them immediately for more of a bread pudding type treat. If you were really being bad you could add ice cream. Letting them cool for at least 20 minutes though gives them time to solidify more into bars. I can’t tell you what they are like cooled further or even refrigerated because we ate them too fast (nom nom nom) but I will do an update soon.

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Slice them into 12 pieces for the following nutritional info per serving.

nutrition