How often do you find yourself struggling to get yourself out of bed? How many days a week do you madly rush around in the morning because you spent an extra 15 minutes in bed? Do you set your alarm to give you the most time in bed and the least possible time to get ready? If that sounds familiar, there is a better way. A really small change that can have huge consequences. What I am talking about, is a good morning routine.
I never used to be a morning person.
My weekends regularly saw me stay in bed until late morning/early afternoon. I would get out of bed with half of the day already gone. My weekdays were not much better.
I worked out I could get ready and out the door in around 32 minutes. Alarm set at 07:28 thank you very much.
This then caused absolute chaos on the days when things just didn’t go right. Can’t find your keys? Forget to make lunch? Ice on your car windscreen? Before you know it 32 becomes 52 and your 20 minutes late for work. As well as the lateness, your stress levels are also through the roof from all of the rushing around.
Am I still sounding familiar?
Viva la revolución
My big change came when I moved in with my current partner. She is the complete opposite of me. 7 am is pretty normal every day of the week, sometimes even earlier. What this did, was slowly move my alarm earlier and earlier.
And you know what, I felt so much better for it!
Yep, it took a little more self-control to get myself into bed earlier to make sure I got all the sleep I needed. But once that routine has settled, being out of bed at 7 am most days is incredible!
What to do with all the extra hours?
A slight segway here into my current morning routine; but here is what I do with the extra hours I now have in the morning.
- 6 am – Alarm goes off, most of the time I am awake before it goes off. Wander downstairs and make myself a cup of tea
- 615am – 15-minute meditation practice
- 630am – Daily journal, normally takes around 15 minutes
- 645am – Yoga
- 7 am – First look at my phone
- 715am to 830am – Whatever the hell I want! Normally I write, sometimes I read. But I have over an hour to just relax, eat, get dressed and prepare myself for the day.
Just imagine that in your current morning. Imagine how much less stress you would feel even just having a spare hour in your mornings to do whatever you want. That gym routine you’ve always wanted to start? The book you’ve always wanted to write? There’s your time to do it.
The benefits of a good routine
A regular morning routine has so many benefits beyond just having some extra time to watch Netflix do something productive.
You’re less likely to forget things
I am the worst at this! The number of times I would cook something for lunch to then drive to work and completely forget it. Shopping lists, phone, wallet. You name it, I’ve forgotten it.
If you have an hour to prepare yourself, you have all the time in the world to get your shit together. No crazy rush out the door, just pure stress-free time.
We’ve all been there. 5 minutes to run out the door and get ready but knowing that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. One of 2 things then happen
- You quickly grab whatever you can get your hands on in the house
- You stop on route and pick up something along with your daily coffee fix
Neither of these paths is conducive to a healthy a filling breakfast. With that extra hour, just think of the possibilities? Freshly cooked omelette’s, porridge, hell even whip together something incredible like these greek chickpeas on toast from The Lazy Cat Kitchen (https://www.lazycatkitchen.com/greek-chickpeas-on-toast/).
Give yourself the time and start your day off in exactly the right way. Say goodbye to the cinnamon bun from Starbucks. Your body will thank you.
One of my favourite times to exercise is first thing in the morning. From yoga to a 30-minute jog. I also find I’m crap at exercising after work. I set out to work with good intentions but after a long day in front of the computer, I can think of nothing worse than getting into my running gear.
Getting your exercise done early is also a sure fire way to put you in a good mood. It’s a scientific fact that exercise releases endorphins. These little bad boys are chemicals that interact with receptors in your brain to reduce your perception of pain and quite literally improve your mood.
Just imagine, every day within an hour of waking up you’re already in a fantastic mood.
Think of the productivity boost.
Think of the improved relationships, both personal and professional.
Think of the improvement in your own healthy making sure you have time set aside to exercise every single day.
Yeah, exercising first thing in the morning is a surefire way to get you moving towards your goals.
I’ve spoken in the past about the benefits of disconnecting from your phone. What better time to do that than at 6 am? Nobody else is awake, no notifications just un-bridled time for you.
Start a meditation practice? Write in a journal? Sit and read the book you’ve been wanting to read for months.
I don’t have kids, but I imagine this time in the morning and late at night are the only two opportunities in a day to get some complete relaxation.
The health benefits of taking time for yourself are also too strong to ignore. Greater fulfilment with life, less tension and a decrease in fatigue from constantly trying to be your best self in front of other people.
I also like to take time first thing in a morning to get ready for the day ahead. Mediate, write in a journal and look at what the day ahead looks like. What tasks do you need to get done for the day to be a success? Doing this before the distraction starts to ensure nothing is missed.
Any of the 4 above points are fantastic reasons to drag yourself out of bed early. Some of which can be done with your alarm set just 15 minutes earlier.
Actionable tip – Start small, start your day 15 minutes early and do something productive with that extra time.
Just start with 15 minutes and see how much better it makes your mornings. Even if you just sit down on the sofa and enjoy a cup of coffee. 15 minutes, that’s all I’m asking. Surely you can manage that?