Morning is wonderful. Its only drawback is that it comes at such an inconvenient time of day. ~Glen Cook
It’s official. I am a morning person.
It only took 6 weeks of practice followed by 4 weeks of commitment, but today I woke up naturally 4 minutes before my 5am alarm and had time to enjoy my morning coffee while journaling before heading up the canyon for a sunrise run. Seriously, who is this person?
For the past few years getting out of bed in the morning was a serious struggle. It wasn’t uncommon for me to hit snooze for an hour and a half and then tear through the house in total stress mode barely making it to the bus stop on time and always forgetting something important on the counter. My mornings were frantic and stressful and I didn’t think it could ever change.
Turns out I was wrong. I could change. It just took about 10 weeks of concentrated effort and here is how I did it:
- By starting small. I began by experimenting. The idea of one day waking up and greeting the day with a series of sun salutations was just not realistic, especially in the dead of winter. I began rising earlier on occasion, allowing myself only one or two snoozes and sometimes packing my lunch or setting out my keys, work badge, etc. the night before. I began to notice how these less rushed and more leisurely mornings set a much more pleasant starting tone for the day.
- Going to bed earlier. You can’t expect to get up earlier if you don’t go to sleep a little earlier. It was much easier to get out of bed in the morning if I had gone to bed a little earlier or it I knew I had the flexibility in my day for an afternoon nap.
- Setting a morning intention the night before. At first I wanted to do too much in the morning. I wanted to have time to enjoy my coffee and write and meditate and do some yoga and run every other morning and tidy up the kitchen, which just left me feeling like I hadn’t accomplished anything. I found that if I set a specific and singular intention in the morning such as a specific writing task to focus on or a particular running route to set out on I am much more likely to get out of bed and feel like my morning was productive.
- Being mindful and learning from morning missteps. Oftentimes I feel like I have a lovely morning and then out of nowhere seem to get whopped over the head with a sense of impending doom. I’ve tried to become mindful of when those first feelings of anxiety start creeping up in the morning with the hopes of becoming more aware of when I start to feel rushed so I can figure out some strategies for feeling less stress.
- Staying away from Twitter. This was the hardest thing to do and one of the main reasons I began my morning mindfulness project in the first place. It is so easy to spiral down the social media rabbit hole of doom, but I began to see my morning time as sacred space. Why in the world would I bother rising so early in the morning just to waste that time checking the morning headlines, email, Twitter, etc? There is plenty of opportunity to check social media during the day, but no room for those things during my sacred morning time.
Developing a lovely morning routine does not happen overnight – it is created consciously and mindfully over time. I am still figuring out how I can best use this morning time, but what I have learned so far is how much better this makes my day.