Writing by Ally Oliver-Perham
I’ve never been one of those people who approaches the dawn of a new day with a glorious morning routine. No morning yoga for me. I don’t gulp down a liter of water as soon as I wake. I’ve never Instagrammed a bowl of organic bircher muesli. And an early morning meditation session? No, thank you.
I’m aware that there’s a large body of evidence (called the internet) which says all these morning habits are very, very good for you, and when used correctly, may turn you into a supervillain (time will tell). As someone who struggles daily with anxiety, I know that I would probably benefit from these wholesome morning habits. But that fact is, I am a thoroughly disorganised person. On a good day, I will walk out the front door having managed to have scrounged something up for breakfast, and brushed my teeth. On a bad day, I’ll probably get one of those two tasks done (guess which one).
My general lack of organisational skills aside, over the last few years I’ve started realising that the way you start your morning can really set the tone for your whole day. So I’ve started tinkering with my mornings, to see what series of small actions might make for the right golden tone to mask those morning blues. Here’s some of my week day morning essentials (in order of importance):
1. A Soothing Morning Alarm True Story: I once lived with someone who had an alarm clock made of pure evil. When it went off it would shoot a propeller (!) at the ceiling, while emitting the most piercing emergency-emergency-evacuate sound. This horrendous noise would continue until you leapt out of bed in fright, and wrangled the propeller back into it’s evil alarm home. Terrifying. These days, I wake up to the psychedelic and meditative sounds of Melbourne musician Ninoosh via my Wake Up Rosie app. If you don’t have this app, stop everything, and download it now. It’s free, and has lots of beautiful Wake Up Tones to choose from (all created by Australian musicians). AND it also sends you a morning happy image made by a real artist. Heaven. Today my Wake Up Rosie app told me ‘You Got This’, and I thought, yeah man, I totally do. It was a really nice moment. You should’ve been there.
2. Coffee Coffee. Coffee. Coffee. Even writing the word gets me excited. I can only have one coffee a day (otherwise I become all,“oh hello, anxious sweat patches! Let’s run a lap of the office while singing the national anthem in a South African accent!”). So my singular morning coffee is a very precious commodity. Warning to all Melbourne baristas: burn my coffee = a plague on your house.
3. Walking: I’ve also started walking to work when possible. It sounds hard, I know, but it’s actually the best. As I walk, I tend to listen to a podcast or two (This American Life, Love+Radio and Radiolab are my favourites) and watch the sky change colour. I look in at people’s gardens, and all the busy cafes. I walk by small children marching along with their oversized schoolbags. And I eyeball the grey faced people on crowded trams that go by, and imagine smiling and waving to them all, yelling, “You don’t know what you’re missing! You fools! You beautiful fools!”. Then a bird will poop on my shoulder. But in the golden haze of my endorphin high, I won’t care at all.
And while I secretly admire the habits of the stretchy yoga ladies, and rosy cheeks of the organic food people, it just isn’t for more. And that’s the thing with anxiety (or any kind of mental illness)– you have to work out daily strategies that work for you. For some, medication will be best way to deal with it. For others, talking about it with a professional will help. For me, I need a combinations of things like a little happy nudge in the form of the Wake Up Rosie app, a good coffee* and a morning walk. Those things seem to help.
*Ally acknowledges that if you’re the anxious type a coffee probably isn’t a good idea. She likes to live a little dangerously.
You can download Wake Up Rosie from the Apple Store or find out more about the app via this website.
Wake Up Rosie also features the track ‘Emily’ by Freya Bennett, co-founder of Tigress!
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