I started waking up before my partner everyday because he’s a late sleeper. Then I started doing it because it was amazing. Last year I decided I would change my life, because otherwise it wasn’t going to happen on its own, and figured it was time to start giving this car a push uphill. It’s been a rollercoaster of bad days and good ones, and discovering who I was outside of my own head. (I think sometimes I get lost in there, and I was overdue for a vacation.)
I’ve always been a morning person, it’s just who I am. I get up, have a glass of ice water while I prep coffee, turn on an audiobook or some jazz (yup, I’m one of those people!) and I genuinely enjoy my morning.
It takes roughly an hour for everyone else in the house to rouse themselves from the warm, cozy covers of the soft, plush beds, but I’m already ahead of the “race” for the day and zipping through my to do list by then.
I decided it was time to remind everyone what’s so great about having an hour to ourselves each morning, and I have 5 solid reasons you should start doing this right now, first thing when you wake up (set the alarm back just a bit! Even if you have work, wake up a bit earlier — I know I’m horrible, but trust me).
Number One: No One Wants Anything From You, Yet.
I don’t have children, but I do have a household of pets and people. Most of which are still too tired to drive me nuts when I’m up before them. I slink into the bathroom after hitting the alarm off as soon as it rings, brush my teeth, and head to the living room. I do some light stretching, sometimes yoga, and breathe in the day.
No one wants me to do anything. No clients are rushing for advice or changes to their project. No one needs fed.
It’s selfish, no-holds-bar me time. And honestly, you deserve a little me time, too. Don’t you think?
Number Two: My Brain Gets Time To Be Creative.
The silence of the morning makes for some of the most organized time I have. After I finish my stretches, I get my ice water, start on coffee, and open up my monthly planner. I have a spot for writing notes for each day in it, so I take five minutes to write down all the positive things I did the day before, and the negative things that are from habits I really want to change and grow from.
I get to be completely honest with myself. I get to write notes on any creative writing projects I have going, read a little if I want to, and make sure my to do list is in order. Oh, I also have time to time block my day — which really helps when you need to make sure you’re remaining productive, but also having family time available later in the day.
Number Three: It Changed My Mood Dramatically.
Sleeping in late just makes me lethargic. You know, there is actual proven evidence that over-sleeping can make you more tired. Serious. I used to over-sleep just because I felt like I had nothing better to do, so why bother getting up early? The problem was I had plenty of things to do, I was just procrastinating them as “not important” in order to justify more sleep.
A lot of people my age, as well as, myself, suffer from different mental health disorders. Many of them revolve around different stressors, and upbringing. And while I agree that no amount of exercise or “good sleeping habits” will fix the chemical imbalance in one’s brain. I won’t sit here and say that it has zero good impact on your body. Healthy sleeping habits and exercise actually help the endorphins in your brain that make you happy. It may not take away the need to use medication for severe medical conditions like Manic Depression or Bi-Polar Disorder, for an example, but they can greatly improve your mood in general.
While I still battle with my anxiety and depression, I can honestly and openly tell you that only sleeping 8 hours a night or sometimes 7.5 hours, has changed the way I look at my life. I’m happier, eating better, and not getting my typical bouts of “I don’t want to do anything”-self-destructive behavior.
In fact, I wrote this list out this morning before all the hustle and bustle of life, and was able to do so without thinking, “Ugh, who am I kidding?” Because I don’t feel that way at all.
I used to wake up and be annoyed that nothing was clean, all the ferrets were too hyper, and “Lord, can the neighbors just stop yelling?”
Now I wake up and think, “I have plenty of time to clean that mess today,” “I love that our ferrets are just happy to be awake and playing,” and I don’t even think about the neighbors unless they need to borrow a cup of sugar. (Not that they have ever asked to borrow one, but I am certain I’d share if they did.)
Number Four: I Get To Jump Start On My To Do List.
I’m sure not everyone feels as productive first thing in the morning as I do, but after awhile of waking up early before everyone else, I get a chance to look at my to do list and see what can be done and in what order of importance I should do things.
I like to organize in the morning, it’s productive and it makes the morning easier than just diving into work-related stuff. Then, I do the stuff that’s the least stressful and things that when you’re going through the list you would typically consider it “small and insignificant, I’ll get to it later”. Maybe you need to make a more professional e-mail, or you have been really meaning to redo your files on the computer, or maybe you just really need to clean out the toxic people on your friend’s list. You can do that first thing in the morning before the rise and shine of everyone else, or work beckons you, and never have to use that ugly excuse “I’ll get to it later” again.
Number Five: Saying Affirmations Works! And It’s Easier When No One Hears You.
I believe in my mornings being judgement-free. And let’s face it, a lot of people are judgmental about affirmations. They work, not that anyone else cares, but it’s not for them anyway. I like to meditate and focus on my affirmations or my mantra in the morning. Call me crazy, but it’s also changed my perspective on life completely.
I no longer feel bogged down by hate-filled voices about my body, my intelligence, or anything else for that matter. I allow my mind to fill with a healthy light of love and acceptance before the B.S. of the day begins to drill into me.
“And I know I deserve your love, because there is nothing I’m not worthy of.” — This Is Me, The Greatest Showman.
I used to let people hold me back with their words and their beliefs, but I’ve changed my mind. I spent every morning since I started changing my sleep schedule and waking up before everyone else, as my time for me, to work on me, and you can too. You can change the way you feel about other people, and the way you likely feel about yourself.
Nothing is holding you back but you. This is something you can do to alter your life that won’t cost you money, it won’t cost you suffering, and it will benefit you in the long run.
In fact, by reading this article you’re already planting the seeds of change in your mind. That’s good. Keep watering that garden. Whether you know it right now, the seeds will sprout, no matter how pessimistic you feel right now, or how crazy you think I sound. Maybe you think I’m a jazz-listening-Yoga-Doing-Sleep-and-Exercise-Help-Delusional-Millennial-Hippie. That’s cool too, I don’t mind. Just keep watering that garden, when those flowers bloom and you’re awake an hour before everyone else, you can look back and remember when this all began. You can thank yourself for making the move to change your mind, and you can bask in the sunlight of your silent morning of “me” time.
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Johannus M. Steger is a Dallas, Texas blogger, vlogger, student, and fiction writer. He has a love for all things Fantasy and coffee, and leads a successful group of like-minded individuals in goal-and-task setting every Friday. He is published through The Huffington Post and a horror anthology, “Infinite Darkness”.
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