Lockdown brought many unexpected changes; we learnt to live our lives shut inside, zoom calls became our online application for all communication and clapping on our forecourt was awaited with the same anticipation Saturday drinks once were.
As we giggled at the phrase ‘new normal’ and signed our emails ‘hope you’re staying safe’, our lives existed in a kind of parallel universe; one that looked similar to what we knew, but still felt so unfamiliar.
In a place where time didn’t seem to exist, whilst simultaneously taking ownership of all our lives, early mornings became an unexpected comfort to my otherwise disorderly daily routine.
I’ve always strive to be an early morning person. I find mornings are when I’m the most positive and the most productive. I love watching the warm sun clambering up the houses, the silence of a sleeping world, the smell of fresh coffee brewing, and the endless possibilities of a new, unlived day stretching out ahead. At university, I was always the first one awake, never in the early hours of the morning, but early enough to appreciate the quiet and solitude of early morning rising.
During lockdown, I sought out these early morning promises of tranquillity and basked in their comforts as frequently as I could. Whether it was to finish up some work, to write or read, or just to sit; early mornings were my medication for the dark days we endured. I thought I’d share a few ways I slipped into an early morning routine, what I love most about them, and how I try to maintain this habit even when our world is once again changing.
For me, a lot of my daily routine and the structuring of it comes down to mindset. I know that I feel happier and more optimistic in the morning. If I miss out these hours, I’m left puzzled with what to do and how to feel about the day ahead. I have to actively remind myself that if I lay-in for too long, I’ll succumb to a negative and lethargic mindset, which I’ll later begrudge. I remind myself of this when I fall asleep and when I first wake up in the morning, especially if I’m teetering on the edge of falling back into a slumber.
Having something to look forward to is always a great incentive to get you out of bed. This could be a cup of coffee, a luxurious breakfast, or time to read and journal. If you have something to look forward to, you’re more inclined to get up and start your day excited and positive. I love to make myself a hot coffee, read a few pages of my book and do a lil social media scroll whilst the house is still sleeping, and the drudge of the daily chores aren’t yet calling.
I highly recommend planning your days the night before. Waking up to a full day, with nothing to do can feel extremely deflating. Of course, there’s always the Netflix binge, or that hefty TBR pile, but if you’ve got more pressing matters at hand, having a loose schedule can help. I’d write a few things down that you want to get done in the day, start early and check them off as you go. Waking up early can feel pointless otherwise, and if you’re keen to become an early bird no matter your situation, this can be a huge help with motivation.
The most important thing to remember is that waking up early doesn’t mean you should sacrifice your sleep. Ensure you’re getting 6-8 hours every night and set your alarm according to the time you’re likely to fall asleep. If you want to be getting up at the crack of dawn, alter your sleep pattern accordingly. Early mornings are different for everyone, and it’s up to you to decide what’s early to you. If you’re struggling with sleeping, I’d recommend a long wind-down period; have a bath, turn off your screens, read a book, and avoid food and caffeine in the hours before bed.
I’m often made fun of for how fervently I sing the praises of water, but I’m never going to stop! Water has endless benefits and an early morning douse of H2O is the best way to start the day. I tend to have a glass of water before bed, and, vitally, a glass of water as soon as I wake up. Your body has been water-deprived for hours, having water as soon as you wake will help your body and your metabolism get going for the day.
If being an early morning person indefinitely is your long term goal, then having a routine is key. The more often you wake up early, the more your body will get used to it, and your body clock will start to change. Waking up early will eventually become a habit, and the difficulties you once faced with clawing your way out of bed will whittle away. Set a loose routine; aim to wake up at the same time every day and do much of the same things every morning. For me, this is water, yoga, reading, a hot drink, and a social media scroll. These things have become second-nature to me and are what I look forward to most when a new day dawns.
These are a few attainable and stress-free ways I tailored my morning routine to become an early morning riser. Whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, I hope you’re staying safe and doing what you can to get from one day to the next in these unusual times.
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