By Carys Brown
Let’s talk about morning routines. If you are anything like me (and almost every high school student ever) I know that some mornings are spent rushing around my room packing my bag for school with a piece of cold toast in one hand and the regret of hitting the snooze alarm 11 times screaming at me in the back of my head.
To make things worse, checking my phone just leaves me feeling guilty about my sluggish morning spent waiting for the caffeine to kick in before I can focus on my day. I see people waking up at 5 am, motivated to make a green tea and do a meditation session within a seemingly infinite amount of time spent making an aesthetic looking smoothie bowl, finishing an hour of schoolwork, squeezing in a cute journal session in at sunrise, and, of course, running a quick half a marathon all BEFORE SCHOOL even starts!
This trend is not only unrealistic but leaves us with a false sense of what success and productivity look like. I have been that 5 am Atar student (granted, it only lasted about two weeks), and I hated it. Sure, the rush of energy first thing in the morning is nice and the satisfaction of squeezing in some homework before school is no bad thing, but the 4 pm afterschool naps, zoning out in class and having to go to bed at 8 pm due to sheer exhaustion was entirely counter-productive and left me doing less work than before.
Don’t get ahead of yourself, this is not an excuse to wake up 15 minutes before school starts and spend your morning in a mad rush, as tempting as that sounds some days. This is just your friendly Atar Survival Guide reminder, to find balance.
It is no lie; a good morning makes all the difference to your energy and productivity. Yet, to create a morning routine, we need to start with the night before. I don’t want to sound like the broken record teenagers hear on the daily, but an 8-hour sleep schedule really is your best friend. By now, after all the nagging we hear about it, we are aware of how much sleep suits our own bodies. For me, I find that anywhere closer to nine hours of sleep works best to compensate for the brainpower exerted and all the talking I can’t help myself from doing in class.
I agree with this morning trend to some degree; early mornings give your time to ease into your day, especially if you have a jam-packed schedule of classes. However, trying to squeeze in every ‘mindfulness’ and ‘wellbeing-activity’ you can find into your morning, just drains all your ‘focus-juice’ that should be used in class. Instead, pick a few habits that give you energy. Maybe make the effort to wake up 30 minutes earlier and make yourself a more nutritious breakfast than cold toast and spend time sitting down and eating. Or put time aside to do 10 minutes of yoga, do a little journal session or read those articles for school that you have been putting off. Most importantly, recognise that you can only do so much with your time and putting pressure on yourself to fit every fitness and health trend, as well as your schoolwork into your morning routine, is only going to put you at risk of burning out.
Personally, I am approaching this year with a focus on myself rather than my grades, and I want to inspire you to follow in suit. That means, if one morning I want to do a bright blue face mask and wear my slippers while I eat a Nutella filled croissant, I am going to put on a bright-blue face mask, wear my slippers and enjoy my Nutella croissant. However, for the most part, I enjoy my classes and want to spend my mornings giving myself energy to ‘seize the day.’ So when I have the motivation, I wake up early, make my bed (very important), eat my breakfast while talking to my Mum and try to keep up to date with some news articles.
Be kind to yourself, even if that means taking a little off your plate in the mornings. Or, in contrast, waking up earlier and making the extra effort to add things to your morning to make the rest of your day a little easier and more productive.
Hope these tips have bought you some guidance! Good luck out there and if you have any tips you would like to share, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!