Do you start your morning feeling overwhelmed? Do you wake up with a bolt and start running? Feeding the kids breakfast. Making lunches. Getting everyone ready. Finding that missing sock. The blue on with the stripe. The shirt, book, or other random, but urgently needed thing. The kids set the agenda. And it pretty much creates a reactionary tone for the rest of the day.
This was me most mornings. Up until 14 days ago. 14 days ago, after a particularly rough morning, I made a decision. I didn’t want to be grumpy in the morning. I didn’t want to shout at my kids as I packed them off to school. I didn’t want to feel angry about the morning chores. I decided to take my morning back.
Great Mornings don’t just happen.
They need to be nurtured. They need to be planned. They need to be cherished.
We all have the same 24 hrs in the day but not all of us are using them effectively.
Transitioning from a “I’m not a morning person” to a “Yay. The alarm went off” kind of person is a process. Like any habit, it needs to be practiced until it’s part of how you see yourself.
“No way, Carey” (I hear you say). “I’m so tired in the morning. I need that extra hour. I work late. I need my sleep”. I’m so tired” (Did I mention that one already?).
Feel the difference.
Even though I have only been getting up early for two weeks, I have already felt the positive effects of my early rising.
- I’m calmer in the mornings.
- I feel more in control.
- I don’t get as frustrated when things aren’t going to schedule.
- I think more clearly.
- I feel healthier.
- I’m happier.
- My kids are happier.
- I feel more organised. Not just in the mornings, but in other areas of my life too.
- I get (a lot) more done.
- I’m not as tired. (I know, weird hey?)
I’m not even close to a perfect morning routine, but the funny thing is, it’s already becoming something that I look forward to every day.
7 Reasons Why mornings matter.
1. You get off to a fantastic start.
Not only are you setting your own agenda as to how you choose to start your day, but you are getting things done that you wouldn’t usually have time for.
2. You set your own pace.
Using this time to inspire and rejuvenate yourself spills over to other areas of your life, letting you reclaim control rather than living in a state of reactiveness.
3. The Quiet.
I don’t even think I need to explain this one. As parents we get to value the Quiet in a way we never did before. No crying. No questions. Quiet. It gives you time to reconnect with yourself and find your centre.
4. The Sunrise.
No matter how many times you see it, there is always something about a Sunrise that simply takes your breath away. It has a way of reminding us to contemplate possibilities and really connect with the emotion of gratitude.
5. Get Stuff Done.
You will be surprised at how much you will get done in this extra time. Planning, lunches, exercise, family time, writing or reading. If you take back one hour every morning, over a week you’ve already gathered 7 hours. Its almost a full work day. You can achieve a lot in 7 hours a week. Write that book, get fit, learn a language, read. It’s yours to create.
Tired of being overweight? No time to exercise. This is it. This is your answer. Use this time to be whoever you want to be.
7. Happiness Factor.
Most people go through life indifferent. Happiness requires an action on our part. I don’t know where you are in your life right now, but I do know that happiness starts with action. Taking small steps towards positive changes – and I do mean small – is often all it takes to make a difference.
How to Get up Early.
You need to decide the night before that you will be getting up early. Trust me, don’t leave it to the morning. It won’t happen. Your bed will be too cosy, the (at least 2 or 3) excuses will fly into your head.
You won’t do it.
Make the decision to get up early before going to sleep. Decide on the time you would like to wake up. Think early. Pre 6.00am or at least an hour before your usual wake up time, and definitely before the kids. I tried a half hour, but for me, the real impact of this exercise came when I took back a full hour.
Plan a Great Morning.
My kids are a perfect example of this. Weekdays I have to drag them out of bed. They are all groggy and whingy and they move like sloths.
But on weekends… hey hey. I have wonder kids. Even my teens. They open their eyes and they get up. That’s it. They make it look so easy. They don’t press the snooze button 8 or 9 times. They don’t moan and groan. They don’t even set an alarm. They finish sleeping and they get up. The big thing here is that they are excited about getting up on the weekends. They have a great day planned.
Everyone is going to have a different Miracle Morning routine. One thing stays the same. Looking forward to your morning makes it easy to get up.
Don’t fill this time with chores you can do later. This is sacred time. Make it matter. How you use this time will the set the tone for the rest of your day.
The Night before Routine.
Get your space ready. Set the heating system, prepare the coffee pot, lay out your clothes, open the blinds. Do whatever is needed to welcome you into the morning.
Certain things bring me peace. A clean kitchen. A vacuumed floor. Wiped down countertops. A cup up tea in this clean kitchen. And sleeping kids. When all these things happen at the same time. Bliss.
Before I go to bed each night, I clean the area that I know I will be spending my stolen hour. I set up my laptop and a little blanket, I fill the kettle and I get my tea cup ready. I make it perfect so when I get up, its ready for me. It’s a little gift to myself that I get to appreciate very single day. It takes me about 15 minutes in the evening to clean my space. Either way, it’s something I would have had to do in the morning anyway, so I just get a little head start as a bonus.
The First 2 Minutes.
It only takes 2 minutes to become a morning person. The quiet two minutes after your alarm goes off. This is when you make the decision to get up or keep on sleeping. In those two minutes, the excuses will start to tempt you. Remember them? “I’m so tired”, “I need this extra sleep”. Think about what you have to look forward to and what you will be missing out on if you choose to waste this time. Then. Get Up. Start Moving.
Build a Routine
Habits are built through repetition. Whether you plan them or not, habits will develop. Sleeping in late is a habit. I doubt its one that you planned. It just happened because you allowed it to. Building a morning routine will help you create and nurture a new habit. An early rising habit.
One of my mistakes was trying to squeeze too much into my extra hour. I wanted to do everything in an hour. You just can’t fit it all in. I didn’t want to spend 10 min doing this and 5 minutes doing that. I wanted to enjoy my time and do the things that would help me achieve my goal of being a better ‘Me’.
The Health Benefits of Getting Up Early.
So what are the actual health benefits of getting up early?
Bear with me here.
There aren’t that many directly related to getting up at a specific time. Most of the benefit comes from what we choose to do in the morning that makes all the difference.
The only real Science I could find to back this up is this study done by researchers at the University of Nottingham. They investigated 83 separate studies on energy and self-control. They found that self-control and energy are linked and that they are a limited resource which we need to replenish daily. As our day goes on, our self and control start to wear out. They get tired. A bit like an overworked muscle.
Have you ever found that certain tasks seem harder later on in the day? Or your willpower seems to wither? You start your day off great but then can’t say no to the slice of chocolate cake (or two) in the afternoon.
As self-control wears out, we start to feel tired and find, even easy, tasks to be more difficult. We get grumpy and our productivity decreases. Hmm. This explains a few things.
This is why it’s important to be careful what you choose to do in your morning time . It makes it one of the most important hours of your day.
But the secret isn’t just to spend your morning hours working; it’s to do the right things in the morning that will help your your energy and self-control stay peaked as long as possible.
7 Quick and Easy Habits to add to your daily routine.
Here are a few ideas on simple, quick habits to include in your morning routine. I recommend having at least 3 or 4 small actions to take that will help you wake up and create a positive, peaceful transition to the day to help you make the most of your early start.
1. Wash your face.
A splash of cold water gets your blood pumping. Many early risers suggest a cold shower, but I have a feeling this would make me dread getting up. So, I stick to little cold water face wash.
2. Drink a glass of water with lemon.
Drinking lemon water as soon as you wake up is the one thing I think everyone should do. It’s a 1 minute habit with so many health benefits.
? It spikes your energy levels.
? Freshens your breath
? Doses your body with vitamins.
? Hydrates your cells.
? Aids your digestive system
? Clears your skin
? Aids nutrient absorption in your stomach
3. Let the light in.
Open the curtains, turn on the light. This is a natural trigger that lets your brain know that sleep time is over.
4. Get Moving
Getting your body moving for as little as 10 minutes makes your brain feel soothed and keeps you in control of your impulses. I still haven’t got to the point of doing a full on exercise routine, but I do like to get moving. I like to stretch and then I head outside to feed the ducks and chickens. They are really appreciating my new routine.
5. Decide on your One Thing.
Research shows that having daily goals increases our confidence and feelings of control. Use this time to plan your day. What’s the One thing to do that will make all the difference that to your day or will have the biggest impact. One thing never quite did it for me, so I like to decide on about three things that I want to do that day that will make me feel like I’ve accomplished something. It can be anything from writing 1000 words, stripping the beds or trying a new recipe.
6. Eat a Real Breakfast
By the time I eat breakfast, my children are up and about. Eating a real food breakfast fuels your body for a great start. People who eat breakfast are less likely to be obese, they have more stable blood-sugar levels, and they tend to be less hungry over the course of the day.
Here are some quick, Real food Breakfast ideas to get the day started right:
5 Fast, Clean Eating Breakfasts for Busy Weekday Mornings
My typical morning routine
5.00 am Wake up.
Wash my face.
Brush my teeth.
Drink a glass of lemon water.
Feed the Chickens and Ducks.
Decide on plan for the day (including my three important things I want to get done today).
Make myself a cup of tea.
Write for about 40 minutes.
Eat breakfast with the kids.
6.45am. The usual stuff kicks in …. Getting ready for school, getting dressed, school run, work day etc etc.
Be Consistent. Except when you decide not to.
I’m not going to lie to you, getting up early doesn’t come naturally to me. I have had to use every tool here to get me motivated to get out of bed. I know it’s recommended that you consistently keep up a habit for 28 days to make it stick, but I like a Sunday morning sleep in. It’s quiet time I get to spend with my husband in bed. We get to talk and reconnect. It’s a time I cherish.
If you want to find out more about how getting up early can change your life, I recommend reading this book. It’s written specifically for families with kids and is full of ideas on how to bring out the best in your family.