Fun fact: I took this picture earlier this year in Barcelona, as part of a project where I photographed every bed I slept in. 🙂
You are probably not a morning person. I’ll tell you a secret: I am not a morning person either. Yet here I am writing this, on a Monday morning before 8am, after a morning yoga practice and a shower. I do not have class until 2:00pm today, yet I still chose to wake up at 6:30. Today I’m here to share with you why, and what I do exactly with all that time in the morning.
Why I do it..
Mornings are quiet and peaceful
I don’t like dealing with people most of the time. That sounds harsh, but I’m an introvert and I enjoy quiet time to recharge. Now, I live in a large city, and quiet moments are rare. But when you get up when most of the world is still sleeping, it brings a certain kind of peacefulness to your day. The key here (for me) is to not get my phone out first thing in the morning. I repurposed an old iPhone 5 which is my alarm now, and I let my actual phone charge. As I’m writing this at my desk, it’s 8, I’ve been awake for an hour and a half and I have not checked my phone yet. I have not checked social media, my e-mail, the news, anything. I have noticed how important it is to check in with myself and have a human moment before I let the content of my phone tell me how to feel. It has certainly happened in the past that I woke up and read something completely disheartening, and it does throw off my mood.
Getting up early makes me feel like the day has more to offer
The 24 hours we get each day are equal for everyone. But I’m one of those people that gets less productive as the day goes on, and by the time 5:00pm hits it’s incredibly hard to concentrate on work or projects, my brain just feels fried. Now, if I have to, I will do it. But it doesn’t make me happier. By getting up early I basically extend the time I’m productive, and because I’m in such a nice routine, falling asleep and getting enough rest isn’t hard either.
A picture I took on an early morning walk on Sunday.
What I do..
There is no magic time to get up: it’s different for everyone. I know there are a lot of articles floating around the internet about what time successful people wake up. A lot of them wake up at 6, 5, or even 4:30. Although hearing about their routines is super interesting, don’t take it as gospel. Your schedule might be completely different, which also asks for a different routine. Getting up around 6:30am is a sweet spot for me, as a law student that does not have a lot of early classes. But if you work fulltime and your job starts at 9, getting up earlier than that might allow you to spend more time on personal projects.
Getting the blood flowing
As soon as the alarm goes off, I’m out of bed. My boyfriend taught me this, and the first time I noticed how he did that I was horrified. I needed some time to lay in bed and listen to music! But here’s how that negatively effected me: one song turned into two songs, three songs.. half an hour. Nope, get up. Go to the restroom and get yourself a glass of water. Your body has been deprived of fluids for (hopefully) a good eight hours, so you need it. Then I crawl on my yoga mat and do a gentle morning sequence (I like yoga with Adriene) to wake up my body. Occasionally I’ll do a tougher cardio workout, but what I like about yoga is how gentle it is. I’m not completely sweaty and flustered right after I’m done, but I do get the endorphins working out gives you.
Spending time with my thoughts
After the yoga I sit at my desk and write in my journal. I just write whatever comes up. Sometimes it’s a poem, sometimes I write about the day before and sometimes I even write about how badly I would like to go back to bed and be lazy all day. It doesn’t have to be profound, but getting out those thoughts helps me to organise my brain and get into the right mindset to actually start the day. I will sometimes also write daily affirmations for myself here. Note: when I do this haven’t looked at my phone! I can’t stress how important that is for me: I want to be in tune with how I actually feel and not with how I feel because of what I just read on line.
Getting to work!
I usually spend 20 to 40 minutes journaling, drinking coffee and having a light breakfast. It’s then time to shower and get ready before actually doing the work I woke up for. I write my to-do list the night prior so I know what to do. I will either work on my blog (like I’m doing right now), study, clean the house, read a book. Whatever happens to be a priority that day. I tend to not look at my phone until I’ve done my most important work for that day. Because I’m most productive in the morning, I get into the zone pretty quick. Then I go to class, work or whatever other appointments I might have, and the evenings are spent winding down and watching YouTube videos. Because I get up early, I also go to sleep early, usually around 10:00pm. But since my evenings are usually spend screwing around on my phone or laptop (seriously, this was already the case when I was still waking up at 9:00am) it works perfectly fine for me.
This new routine works amazingly well for me. It has improved and continues to improve both my mental and my physical health, and it makes it THAT much easier to be productive and have time for all of the projects I’m working on.