This week I read Courtney Carver’s post on ‘Reclaiming Your Mornings’, and it struck a chord with me. I had a great morning rhythm going until a couple of months ago. I’ve always loved the early mornings, getting up around 5am, the stillness and peaceful feeling of a new day and all it can hold. But, our recent move from New York to Georgia with three children, two dogs and ‘stuff’ through a wrench in my routine, and I never quite reclaimed the ‘me time’ I am used to having each morning.
After reading Courtney’s post, and realizing I’m not alone, (although her morning rhythm was disrupted by a trip to Italy and Qatar, much more exotic than my move a few states south and still in the same time zone) I decided to buckle down and start fresh this week. I don’t know why I haven’t done it sooner, as I always remember what I’ve been missing out on the first day I wake early.
Everyone’s morning rhythm is a little different, and mine goes something like this-
1. Lay in bed for about 10 minutes listening to the frogs outside and whatever the bugs are that have invaded Georgia. (I don’t know their names yet, but they are loud!)
2. Drink some water followed by an energy laden beverage of some kind. I’m still working on trying to strip this from my mornings.
3. Read something that speaks to my inner feelings about life, simplicity and what is truly important. It helps set the tone for my day and gives me a broader perspective on life, which helps immensely when the kids finally get up and need my attention.
4. Because my contractors for my online business start working around 4:30am most mornings, I do check my email to make sure they don’t need anything, but I resist the urge (most times) to do anything other type of online activities.
5. Put on my workout clothes, even though I won’t be exercising for another hour or so, if I put them on early, I know I’ll do it.
6. Prep any food that I can for lunch and dinner for the day to save time and help me resist the urge to order out.
I love the mornings and how the promise of a new day and learning more in life is available miraculously, yet again to me. The simple beauty of our natural surroundings brings with it hope and peace and stillness to the soul. So, if you’re like me and you realize how wonderful the mornings are, but it takes a small miracle to find the will-power to stop hitting the snooze button over and over, here are some things I’ve found that have helped me get up and out of bed and back in my morning rhythm.
-Plan your morning the evening before. I have a small black bound book with pretty floral designs on it (yes, that helps me want to get up in the morning), that I use to plan my day the evening before. Borrowing from Leo Babauta, I plan my MIT’s (most important tasks), then go on to plan three additional personal and three additional work tasks that I would also like to complete. I then label the ones that I would like to get done in the morning with AM at the end. I most often try and make those my MIT’s.
-Move your alarm clock or phone. This one can seem difficult, but, really it works. Even if you only need to do it for a little while until you are waking easily. I have moved my phone to the opposite side of the room, since I use it for my alarm. On occasion, I have moved it completely out of the bedroom but turned it up high enough that I would hear it. Most of the time, once I am in my routine, I can move it back beside the bed without hitting the snooze button.
-Get enough sleep. No matter how well you have your morning planned or how far away your alarm is, if you haven’t gotten the sleep that your body naturally needs, you are going to have a hard time waking up and getting up. Be kind to your body and let it rest as long as it needs, this will also cut down on the amount of caffeine you feel like you need each day.
-Don’t eat too close to going to bed. This is just from personal experience, so feel free to take it or leave it, but, when I go to bed with a full stomach, I don’t feel as well the next morning. I feel at my best when I wake up hungry and ready to start the day. I try to stop eating at least two, if not three hours before bed each night, giving my digestive system time to do it’s job, so it can get some rest too.
I hope these tips will help you get going in the mornings, along with the other wonderful suggestions from Courtney Carver. Mornings are one of my most productive times of the day, and provide me with a sense of peace and stillness I just can’t seem to find when I end up sleeping in late and trying to play catch up with the day’s activities. May you find peace in the mornings and enjoy the sunrise!