Listen to music in the morning. Let yourself dance.

Find some great music.

I love having music on in the background while I’m doing routine things like eating breakfast and getting dressed.  I find the combination of music and a mild caffeine buzz puts me in a good mood, and it’s a great way to distract yourself from any pain you might be feeling so that you move normally instead of tensing up.

I think it helps to have music that you’re really excited about, and to explore new music often to keep yourself mentally and emotionally charged.   The more into the music you are, the more likely it is to distract you from the pain.

For that reason, I say listen to whatever genre of music you want.  Don’t feel like you have to stick to “relaxation” or “healing” music to try to get through your pain.  If you want to listen to heavy metal first thing in the morning, that’s fine.  Whatever resonates with you and matches your mood is probably best.  Personally, I tend to alternate between pop music, club music, and dubstep for my morning wake-up music, but I sometimes listen to angry alternative rock.  Don’t feel silly about your choices– different things resonate with different people.   If you like it, turn it up (as loud as you can at 8 am, anyway).

Let yourself move to the music. 

It’s okay if all you can do is nod your head a little bit, or tap your feet, or snap your fingers.  Just let your body feel the music.  It’s a great way to ease yourself into moving your body in a relaxed way, without over-thinking it.

When we’re in pain, we tend to hold our bodies in a very rigid way, as if we are trying to protect ourselves.  Walking around with a stiff, rigid posture usually backfires and causes us to end up in more pain, because we are tensing our muscles up all day long.  For me, the combination of a mild caffeine buzz, music I love, and the joy of having a few extra minutes at home in the morning is the perfect combination to start to enjoy moving again.  If I’m paying attention to the music, I’m paying less attention to my pain.  Make yourself a playlist that you freakin’ love and let your body move however it wants.

Where to find good music?

  • There are basically zero listenable FM radio stations where I live, so I find a lot of new music through Youtube.  You can sign up to make a free account and then save music videos to your own personal playlist.  This is a great way to have new music at your fingertips on a daily basis.  I make different playlists based by genre, so I can easily find music that fits my mood.
  • Pandora is also a great option.  You just tell it one artist or band that you like, and it will play songs by similar artists.

To my readers, what kind of music do you like to start your day with?  I’m always looking for new suggestions!

For more of my tips on dealing with mornings, check out:

Start out slowly. It’s normal to be stiff in the morning.

If you have any kind of injury, muscle strain, or chronic pain, don’t be surprised if you wake up in more pain than you were in when you went to bed.  Everyone is a little bit more stiff in the morning from lying still all night long.  You just might not notice it until you have some kind of pulled muscle or other issue that’s causing pain and inflammation.

To top things off, the discomfort of morning aches and pains is going to be magnified if you have a heightened sensitivity to pain, which sometimes happens to people who have been through a traumatic physical experience.  (I’ve written more on that here).  When you combine these two things, the first few hours of the day can be excruciating.

If you notice increased pain and stiffness in the morning, I suggest you plan your days to leave yourself extra time in the morning.  I know this is sometimes easier said than done, but it really can make all the difference in affecting the overall quality of your day.

If you have time to go through the movements of getting ready for the day at a gradual pace, it will help you to slowly loosen up.  Little movements, like getting out of bed, brushing your teeth, and making breakfast will all help warm your muscles up and flush out any extra fluid that’s built up overnight.

You might find that there are certain things you can’t do when you first wake up, like bending down and pick something up off the floor, or reaching a mug on the highest shelf in the kitchen.  But if you keep getting ready for the day with small, gentle movements, you might find that after half an hour, some of your flexibility has returned.

In comparison, if you try to rush your body through motions that it’s not quite ready to perform, you’ll just be yanking on those stiff muscles and your nervous system will let you know that it is not pleased.  You might technically be ready to leave the house sooner, but you will be experiencing a lot more pain and discomfort than if you had just taken your time.  Trust me; there have definitely been times when I’ve chosen to sleep in instead of getting up early enough to take my time to get ready.  The first few hours of those days ended up being miserable.