A better routine: Music in the Morning


Do you incorporate music into your morning routine? I’ve been thinking it’s something I might benefit from, as a way to feel more energized more quickly after waking up. I got to talking about this with writer Sarah Ann Noel, and she agreed to do some more research on the subject—including asking some other successful women about their routines. I hope, if you’re reading, that you’ll weigh in as well! 

by Sarah Ann Noel

In my house, I’m always the last one up in the morning, and it’s a luxury I don’t take for granted. I normally pad out to the dining room as my daughters are eating breakfast, and when they finish, I brush their hair to start my day. It’s quiet, except for their chatter. I kiss the oldest as she heads off to school with her dad, and then I’ll start some soft music in the living room to accompany my morning chores. My little one likes to take her morning slowly too, and so, for now, a mellow accompaniment suits us best.

I imagine life won’t always look like this; and I know a lot of people like to use music to infuse their mornings with energy. This Time Magazine article looks at the best songs to wake up to, according to a psychologist, and they are all quite driving and upbeat. I had a vision of Kate Winslet, a la The Holiday waking up to Jet and dancing around her bed in pajamas. I could only hope to start the day with that much energy—maybe music is the key? Apparently the secret to the devised playlist is two-fold: Each of the songs builds slowly, so as not to be a slap in the face; and they all send more positive messages. (Also according to these morning routines of successful people, music is the way to go.)

I’m not necessarily doing it wrong, but since my morning rituals look different than the recommended habits, I decided to ask around to establish a trend. I reached out to creative women who are successful in their fields, women I look up to and who exude style and fun. What do their mornings look like and what gets them moving in the morning?

“I do well with more powerful and soulful songs in the morning, ones that make me want to stomp my feet to the ground and make me proud to be me. It gets me going! Lately, that’s Nina Simone, for sure. I also like Baltimore a lot this fall, which is weird, because the words are not uplifting. But they’re real and it makes me feel like wanting to change something.” —LaTonya Yvette, Brooklyn, writer + stylist 

“I’m a huge fan of female vocalists! My current morning playlist includes Florist (for when I’m feeling more calm and subdued); Hop Along (for when I’m feeling a little sassy); and Frankie Cosmos (because her voice is magical).”—Larissa Gaul, Philadelphia, Anthropologie buying coordinator

“I’m definitely the person in our family who takes the longest to wake up. As the days get shorter, mornings with our two-year-old begin pre-dawn these days, making them even more painful. Lucky for me, my husband is almost always the first one up. Before he pads into the kitchen to get the oatmeal started, he turns the radio to the local jazz station. Since our apartment is set up studio style, I can hear the music (and smell the oats) from bed, and it’s the perfect low-key way to ease into the day.”Erin Boyle, Brooklyn, author + blogger

To be honest, [during the week] I am usually in such a rush and in crazy rush hour traffic, that I either pop on a playlist curated by Spotify or listen to Sirius XMU, the indie station on Sirius Radio. But weekends are a different story! If I am getting myself ramped up to go to kickboxing class, I’ll pop on some Jay-Z or Run the Jewels. If I’m just sipping coffee, browsing blogs, my music choices tend to gravitate towards the likes of First Aid Kit, Jenny Lewis and Dawes. The latter is my favorite–slow mornings are the key to a good day!”—Kate Naylor, Atlanta, writer + content manager

“I often prefer low-key music to accompany the high-octane jolt of my cold brew in the morning. However, as of late, I’ve been dedicated to the fine art of subliminal messaging and have been playing Nice As F*#k on repeat for my daughters. Strong female voices (literally and figuratively) and catchy tunes make for one hell of a start to our day while sending all the feministing vibes to my girls is just a bonus. Wink, wink.”—Christine Fadel, Charlotte, writer 

What about you? Do you take the morning slow and soft? Or do you like to jump out of bed and dance around the house in your pajamas? What music do you listen to in the morning? Any suggestions? 

P.S. Advice for establishing a better routine. (Obviously, this is still a struggle.) And another time this topic came up.

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