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5 Concrete Ways to Wake Up Full of Energy

5 Concrete Ways to Wake Up Full of Energy

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Jewish tradition advises: “Wake up like a lion to serve your Creator in the morning!” (Shulchan Aruch 1:1)

Every moment of our day—from the minute we open ourStart by reframing the act of waking up eyes until the last thing we do at night—is meant to be infused with energy. To be Jewish is to understand that there is much to do, that time is fleeting, and that each day affords us the priceless gift of life.

In practice, it can be hard to remember all this first thing in the morning when our alarm goes off, and all we feel like doing is rolling over and going back to sleep (that goes for children and adults). Here are five strategies for infusing energy and purpose in our mornings, culled from 4,000 years of Jewish wisdom.

1. Savor the miracle of waking up

Start by reframing the very act of waking up. Instead of groaning at our alarm clock’s insistent ring, take a moment to stop and appreciate the very fact that we woke up at all! Next time you wake up, pause for a moment and consider something truly amazing: the complex systems that fuel our bodies, that make our environment and how they all have to come together perfectly in order for us to survive. Savoring the fact that our very existence is a miracle can be enough to stop up rolling over and going back to sleep.

In Judaism, a beautiful short prayer of thanks is traditionally said the very moment one awakes: Modeh ani lefanecha, Melech chai vikayom, Shehechezarta bi nishmati b’chemla, Rabah emunatecha: “I gratefully thank You, O living and eternal King, for You have returned my soul within me with compassion, abundant is your faithfulness!”

This lovely statement thanks the Almighty for our very existence and helps us appreciate the fact that we woke up to live another day. Taking a moment to appreciate the miracle of our existence can profoundly change our outlook, and make us more grateful and energetic.

2. Start the day with gratitude

In Judaism, there’s a beautiful series of morning blessings that helps us articulate and appreciate just how many G‑d-given gifts go into our routine of waking up and getting out of bed. We bless G‑d for giving us the morning in the first place, and appreciate our ability to know the difference between day and night.

Pause and savor all the miracles!

We say blessings thanking G‑d for a host of seemingly ordinary things that it might be easy to overlook: having the ability to see, being physically able to get out of bed, being able to stand up and walk across the room. We thank G‑d for giving us clothes to wear, for being part of the Jewish people, for being free and not enslaved. With each blessing, we remember to treasure the incredible miracle of our very existence anew each day. It all adds up to a powerful dose of gratitude, guaranteed to infuse our early morning with energy and thanks.

3. New day, new possibilities

One of my favorite Jewish prayers is the brief morning one that begins: “My G‑d, the soul placed within me is pure. You created it, You fashioned it, You breathed it into me, You safeguard it within me . . . ”

I love being reminded that my soul—my innermost essence—comes from and reflects the Divine. No matter what mistakes I’ve made, no matter what disappointments are in my past, this prayer reminds me that we each have a pure, good soul inside us, and each day presents us with a new chance to realize our awesome, holy potential.

This means that whatever mistakes we made yesterday and whatever problems we face today do not define us. Recalling that we each are made in the image of the Divine—that we each reflect limitless love and possibility—can help us confront the challenges that each new day brings and face a new day with confidence.

It’s a radically different mindset to the another-day, another-daily-grind type of outlook that saps energy. These prayers remind us that while we’ll be challenged and tested, the decisions we make matter, and we won’t face them alone.

4. Have a goal in mind

Have you ever woken up the morning of a big day—a wedding, a trip, a school event or job interview—and felt extra-energized? Having something exciting to look forward to is a guaranteed way to wake up full of vigor; when we know that the day ahead will offer new experiences, we often feel like leaping out of bed. In contrast, when we’re complacent about what the day in store for us holds, sleep can feel like a refuge. We press the snooze button, and feel sluggish and unwilling to get out of bed.

One solution to feeling sleepy is having a goal in mind each day. Search for interesting, fulfilling pursuits. Ask yourself: “What are my main objectives in life?” What are your goals this year? This week? Today? When we have concrete, real plans that are important to us, it’s much easier to wake up feeling alert and full of energy, ready to embark on our individual pursuits.

Of course, we all have mundane responsibilities;Search for interesting, fulfilling pursuits there are times when we have to work at tasks we find repetitive or boring. But reframing our mindset to one of growth (“What do I hope to accomplish with my life?”) can help make each new day seem full of purpose.

5. Take good care of yourself

Two thousand years ago, the great Jewish sage Hillel observed: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me?” (Pirkei Avot 1:14) While others might be wonderful resources, we are ultimately responsible for our own well-being, both spiritually and physically.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-in-three adults fails to get enough sleep on a regular basis. We can all benefit from asking ourselves the important questions: Are we going to sleep on time, eating right and exercising enough? Many of us are vigilant when it comes to making sure our kids and others are healthy, but it’s important to do the same for ourselves.

When it comes to infusing our mornings—and our lives, in general—with energy and enthusiasm, this can mean making sure that we’re taking care of ourselves adequately, giving ourselves the tools we need to wake up well-rested, to have stamina for each day and to live our lives to the fullest.

Yvette Alt Miller, Ph.D., is a mother and adjunct professor of political science living in Chicago. She is the author of Angels at the Table: A Practical Guide to Celebrating Shabbat (Continuum, 2011).
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