How to

27 September 2016

How to Deal with Winter Mornings

A strident mix of ringing and siren sounds somewhere close to your head. It takes you a moment to find the source of the noise through the cocoon of complete darkness. A bare arm reaches forward, dumbly groping at a compact block on the nightstand. It’s your phone alarm, reading 6:00. You retract your arm quickly, nestling into the warmth of your bed, but not before thinking, Morning? It can’t be.

There’s nothing worse than waking up to a chilly bedroom in what looks like the middle of the night. Welcome to winter. Where the night pervades daytime hours and leaving the warmth of your cushy down duvet has never been harder than it is on this day. It’s a blunt fact that starting your morning in the cold and utter gloom of the winter season doesn’t get any easier. The freezing temperatures, cold floors, and unwelcome darkness make it a task to be reckoned with. Even if you manage to make it out the door in one piece, then there’s the chilly car to deal with (is it spring yet?).

Never fret! There are little things you can change about your routine to make the process run a little smoother.

Drink Water First Thing

We are creatures who subsist on food and water. It would be madness to wake up, throw off the covers, and immediately scarf down a burger you’ve had waiting on your nightstand. Instead, consider having a glass of water waiting for you in the morning. Drinking first thing in the morning will jumpstart your metabolism and help you stay awake. After a good 8 hours of sleep, your body is dehydrated. A glass of water solves that problem in addition to flushing out toxins.

Don’t Fall Victim to Yourself

I can think of a million-and-one reasons to belay morning alarms. Maybe you didn’t get enough sleep, or you actually have an extra five minutes to snooze, or you woke up in the middle of the night, and the list goes on. It’s just too easy to be charmed by the comfort of sleep. Whatever your reason may be for staying in bed that day, you are simply attributing to a behavioural problem where you attempt to wake up using willpower. Instead, make waking up to your first (and only!) alarm into a muscle memory. When the alarm sounds, spring out of bed. Just stand up, really. It will be hard going at first, but over time, with practice, waking up won’t be a consideration anymore.

Wake Up the House

There are all sorts of programmable options on my small home appliances. My rice cooker even belts out Twinkle Twinkle Little Star just to let me know it’s done cooking. Coffee makers, a cornerstone in our society, have come a long way. Many models have the option to start brewing at a certain time. This means that you can wake up to a fresh pot of coffee. Imagine the comforting sound of the grinder as you plod through your morning ritual; the scent of freshly-brewed coffee wafting into your darkened room, beckoning you to the kitchen with a lush wave.

Create an Experience

The challenge to having a good morning experience is to make an actual experience. Personally, this involves making peppermint tea, feeding my cats, and reading a page or two from the book in which I’m currently entrenched. Setting aside a spare bit of time for reflection and calm before the day’s madness can completely change the way you approach the day. Outlook is everything, and creating a happy moment is like shining a beacon of calm over the day’s events.

Dress Properly

For the lucky ones among us who have nicer vehicles, remote start-up allows you to start your car from the comfort of your house. You can set the heat on high, turn on the defrosters, and make sure your heated seats are on. It’s a clever idea, one that I’d really like to see incorporated into all cars from this point on. For those of us not privileged enough to enjoy the feature, we must manually start our cars in order to enjoy a toasty ride to work.

However, the long-held notion that it is necessary to warm a car before running has been put to bed (unless you have a carbureted engine). Rather than worry about how your car isn’t warm, worry instead about how well you’re dressed for the weather of the day.  The winter season is all about layering, so don’t skimp on a good jacket or base layers. Prepare yourself for the next day by picking out an appropriate outfit based on the weather forecast. This will ensure that you are comfortable and warm regardless of the temperature.

Armed with a handful of useful tricks and a positive attitude, you can transform dull winter mornings into ritualistic, driven moments of clarity all while looking and feeling fresh. Pay special attention to your Vitamin D levels, and remember to think of summer’s endless days to keep your spirits up.

Jacqui Litvan

Jacqui Litvan, wielding a bachelor's degree in English, strives to create a world of fantasy amidst the ever-changing landscape of military life. Attempting to become a writer, she fuels herself with coffee (working as a barista) and music (spending free time as a raver).