I once heard someone calling mornings “the rudder of the day”, meaning that how you start your mornings will determine how your day will progress. The morning is the time where you lay out the heading that your day will follow. I’ve found this to be very true, and just like some people say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, I say mornings are the most important time of the day.
For many people, mornings are associated with being tired, having to hurry, and frantically picking out the outfit of the day. This will automatically make you start your day in a stressful mood, and your day will likely follow the same pattern. To provide you with some inspiration, let me share with you how I start my mornings:
- First of all, I like my mornings to be a time just for myself. That’s why I always set my alarm to go off one hour earlier than my husband’s. This works great because I tend to require less sleep than him anyway. That means that if he rises at 7, I’ll be up at 6.
- I like to start my mornings the night before by laying out my clothes, filling the kettle with water and placing the coffee and my mug next to it, so all I have to do in the morning is to press the button on the boiler.
- I always keep my phone in the other room, so when the alarm goes off, I have to not only leave the bed but actually get out of the bedroom in order to turn it off.
- I drink two large glasses of water the moment I get up in order to rehydrate my body after a night’s sleep (I also find that the cold water helps me wake up much faster).
- I then spend a maximum of 5 minutes looking at the messages I may have received over the night because of time difference or Korean friends with wacky sleep patterns (if you’re reading, don’t ever expect a reply from me at 2:30 in the morning). Then I put my phone away for the next hour or so.
- Feeling increasingly awake, I proceed to my yoga stretch routine, where I spend around 7 minutes doing light exercise while enjoying the beautiful colors of dawn over Seoul (depends on the time of year, though).
- It’s now around 6:15 and the next step on my morning agenda is reading. I’m always reading at least 3 books at the same time, and I keep separate slots in the day for each of them. In the morning, the reading time is dedicated to Korean novels. I’m currently reading anything I can get my hands on from the series 오늘의 젊은 작가 or in English “Contemporary young authors”. I’ve read four novels in the series so far, and they all capture the zeitgeist of contemporary Korea in a magnificent way. They each deal with issues like feminism, unemployment, discrimination, minorities, and many other hot topics related to modern Korean society.
- After reading for about 30 minutes while sipping my coffee, I take a look at my diary and typically write down a couple of things I’m grateful for, and get an overview of my schedule for the day before jumping in the shower.
- After a hot shower, I always splash my face with ice-cold water (a beauty trick my dear grandmother taught me). This is supposed to increase the blood flow in your face while tightening and preventing wrinkles. I blindly trust this advice, because my grandmother lived to be almost 95 with the smoothest complexion I’ve ever seen.
- Then I apply moisturizer and sunscreen (!), get dressed and start preparing breakfast.
- For the past two years, I’ve stuck to only eating fruit for breakfast, so this doesn’t take long to prepare. I usually eat an apple, a banana, half a mango, and maybe a tangerine. It may not seem like a filling breakfast, but once you train your body to accept that this is all it’s getting before noon, it will adjust and you’ll feel full and energized throughout the rest of the morning. I occasionally snack on a banana, a few nuts or almonds later in the morning, but I very rarely eat bread or other starches before lunchtime.
- I usually do my makeup as one of the last steps of my morning routine since I prefer to do this in daylight. This was not always possible in Denmark, where I would then have to wait until at least 9 during the darker months. Luckily in Korea, the sun rises at 7:30 at the absolute latest.
I find that having a routine like this one makes me feel relaxed, at peace, and ready to start my day without having to rush. Feel free to share how you start your day in the comments.
Fun fact: Traditionally, Koreans have not had their own phrase for “good morning”, like the Japanese say おはようございます (ohayo gozaimasu). But recently, I’m hearing a lot of people say 좋은 아침입니다 (choeun achimimnida) literally meaning “it’s a good morning” when they greet each other in the a.m. This just shows the significant impact of English on the Korean language.