how to wake up on the bitter, cold, early mornings

Right here down under (Australia, that is), we are (hopefully) nearing the end of winter. The sun is tucked into bed by 5:30pm and doesn't start stretching out its rays till after 6am. You all know how difficult it is to leave the warm sanctuary of your bed on chilly winter mornings, let alone having to get up before the sun does. Regardless of how impossible it might seem, waking up in the dark does get easier. Here are some "rules" I abide to:

  1. Don't hit snooze. We're all tempted to hit that button when the blaring sound goes off. I hate it when it goes off and wake me from my dreams, so I wouldn't want to hear it again. Plus, it isn't going to get easier to delay getting out of bed. Go ahead. Kick off your covers, stand up, shut the alarm off, and go on with your life.
  2. Do some jumping jacks. Dance around. I don't actually do this myself, but I know it works for some people. It gets your blood flowing and gets your body warmed up in the chilly air.
  3. Brush your teeth. Scrape your tongue. To me, brushing my teeth denotes the start of my day. It brushes the residues of the night away, and starts my mouth fresh. On top of that, I also scrape my tongue with a tongue scraper. It's an added bonus to brushing your teeth, and you'd be surprised how much junk accumulates on your tongue overnight!
  4. Splash water on your face. Nothing wakes me up more than a splash of cold water on my face. It's literally a wake-up call to my eyes!
  5. Drink a cup of warm water with lemon and honey. It is by far the best method for me to wake up my digestive system. Not only does It warms up my insides, stomach and intestines get to work too (I usually go to the toilet not too long after I drink this yummy concoction). For some additional spice, grate some ginger into your cup!
  6. Breathe. Bring in some oxygen into your body! Awaken those sleepy cells! Sit in a comfortable position and do some deep belly breathing, focusing on your in breath and out breath. Feel the fresh oxygen nourish your cells and your brain. Start with 2 minutes and see how you feel, then build up from that. My morning pranayama practice is my caffeine-free way to refresh my way!
  7. Exercise. I used to fit this regimen into my afternoons. But ever since I became more serious with my Ashtanga practice, I have enjoyed the myriad of benefits of moving my limbs in the mornings, whether it be yoga or going for a quick jog. It's a sure-fast way to awaken the remaining of your sleepy body--it gets your heart pumping, your blood flowing, and oxygen inside you. Furthermore, your brain releases endorphins and dopamines--the hormones responsible for happy, exhilarated feelings--during and after exercising. Fitting my exercise in the morning also means that I have more time in the afternoon.

Try these and turn your mornings around! :-)