Life Before Morning Circle

7 ways to make the most of your morning


By 6:45am, City Year corps members are ready to serve with an open mind, positive can-do, and a soul generated by love. But life before 6:45 can be rough. Fortunately, there are things we can do to prime ourselves for a more powerful, more enjoyable day of service.

1. Prepare beforehand.


Cut down on the amount of time you need in the morning by taking care of business before you go to bed. You can wake up to a prepared lunch ready to go from the fridge, and even a prepared breakfast (you can cook oatmeal overnight in a crockpot, for example). Take a few extra minutes in the morning to grind your coffee, pack your backpack, and press you pants (you do press your pants, right?). This step will free up time for some extra sleep, or the time you’ll need to implement these other helpful tips.

2. Set an alarm that works for you.


Some people need to be gently roused from sleep by soft, bright music like subtle rays of sonic sunshine. Others need an air raid siren without a snooze button. Experiment to find a system that gets you up best so you can be awake on time and in a good mood.

3. Hydrate!


Hydrogen hydroxide is the best substance to wake up your mind and body. The caffeine in coffee will have a stimulant effect on your brain, but coffee dehydrates the body and can make a morning even more difficult. Whether you drink coffee or not, water is essential to life, especially life before morning circle!

4. Get loose!


Cats stretch every day because cats know things. We could learn a lot from cats. Stretching is a great way to wake up more fully. You can up the ante by doing some calisthenics, or go varsity by making it to the gym before service (your team will be impressed).

5. Get Centered.


Mental and spiritual health are important aspects of self-care. Take a few minutes each morning to pray or meditate. Pausing to breathe and know where and how you exist can make a big difference in your disposition, giving you a foundation for confidence.

6. Eat Breakfast.


Cars and buses don’t run without fuel. Bodies and minds don’t either. Nobody’s got the time or metabolism for eggs benedict every day, but breakfast should be a priority. Find something quick and delicious, make a healthy smoothie to go, or refer back to point 1.

7. Get the sleep you need.


Bedtimes aren’t just for kids. Setting a hard deadline to be in bed can be part of a healthy adult rhythm. Take a minute to think about how much rest you need and make that rest a priority. This might involve some sacrifice, but being well-rested will help keep you healthy, productive and positive.

— Ben Jenkins, first year corps member at Mifflin Middle School


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