By Sam Lovett
Now that we are settled in our dorms, most Colorado College students sleep soundly in their new, comfortable beds. Some students may argue that one beauty of college is the ability to roll out of bed and go to class. Not having to walk, drive, or take public transportation to school is a blessing to most college kids; however, others may say that rolling out of bed is bittersweet. Colorado College students typically have to be up and ready to learn by 9 a.m., yet a lot of us are still not awake enough to retain any information.
While I can’t take away your early Monday mornings, I can hopefully give you some advice for improving your attentive skills in the morning.
Step 1: Stretches
When first waking up in the morning, I love to do what’s called a “good morning stretch.” Bring your arms over your head and point your toes. Squeeze every part of your body for three seconds and then let go. This stretch is simple, but it brings new oxygen to the blood, giving your body a chance to become more alert. This stretch can be done during the early hours of the morning in your bed.
Once you’re out of bed, bring your feet hip-width distance apart and bend your knees. Tuck your chin and slowly reach your fingertips to the ground. The goal is not to touch the ground with your hands, but to lengthen the spine and bring your chest to your thighs. Once you feel your hamstrings relax, release your head by shaking yes and no and grab both elbows. This time, you can straighten your legs if that feels good to you. Sway your arms back and forth to loosen the spine. When you’re ready to come back up, bring your hands to your thighs, tuck your chin, and slowly rise. Give yourself a moment to become stable. Take a deep breath in…and out.
Now that you are standing, reach both arms up to the ceiling, and take a micro backbend by arching your back. If you feel lightheaded, know that it is completely normal and should feel refreshing once the feeling has settled.
Step 2: Cleanliness
Wash your face with cold water and soap. Showers are nice, but sometimes we don’t have enough time for them. The cold water washes away the “sleep” in your eyes as well as any oil developed while sleeping, and refreshes your pores. I know this seems like an obvious one, but you’d be surprised by how many people do not wash their face in the morning.
Take a washcloth and run it under cold water. Once wet, put the towel on the back of your neck. I couldn’t tell you why this works, but it wakes me up completely.
If you have time, gargle salt and warm water. Although it may seem a little gross, it clears your sinuses and kills a lot of bacteria. If you don’t want to get sick — do this. If you already are sick — do this.
Step 3: Hydrate and eat
Drink at least 15 ounces of water right when you wake up before class. Hydrating the body before learning gives the brain an extra boost of alertness. I never say no to coffee, but make sure to drink enough water because coffee dehydrates the body.
And, finally, make sure to eat something. Your brain needs energy in order to retain information.
Step 4: Take a moment
Go outside for at least 45 seconds and look at Pike’s Peak. It should be getting cold soon, but the cold, fresh air, along with the Purple Majesties, rejuvenates your mind and soul.
Step 5: Routine
Whatever you choose to do, make it your morning routine. Having a routine can be very beneficial to your learning each day because it creates a sense of grounding.