How to Make the Most of Your Mornings from a Reluctant Early Riser

How to Make the Most of Your Mornings from a Reluctant Early Riser

I’m officially a morning person, reluctantly so, but a morning person nonetheless. This entire week and a good part of last week, I have woken up every single day before my alarm. Today I was awake almost two hours before my alarm was set to go off. Do I necessarily want to be up while it’s still dark outside? No, not really. The reluctant part comes from the fact that my new early rising habit doesn’t stem from some deep seated desire to get more out of my day (like a lot of productivity lit implies). I simply take a medication that causes insomnia as a side effect.

Regardless of the reason why, I was up at 6:30 this morning. My mood at that early hour of the morning vacillates between utterly grumpy and frustrated that I can’t get back to sleep and excited that I get this unexpected bonus time all to myself before leaving for work.

While I’m not claiming to make the best use out of every single moment in the morning (I’ve only been waking up really early for a little less than two weeks) I’m slowly building a routine that seems to be paying off in terms of my overall health and wellbeing. So how have I been utilizing my newfound free time?

The nicest part so far has been sitting on the couch with my journal and actually writing for as long as I feel. Being able to spend more time writing is incredibly soothing and despite my insomnia, I find myself becoming instantly relaxed.

I also take time to lounge on the sofa and play with my dogs as they attempt to give me an early morning tongue bath. Doggie cuddles are a sure fire way to put me in good spirits.

I have also been spending more time outside. The weather has only been fairly tolerable in the last two days, so this morning I took a stroll in my neighborhood while walking the dogs. Breathing in the slight muggy air as I cut through the dense fog felt was especially nice. Once I got back inside, I watched a bit of news, catching up on the Winter Olympics playback before settling down for breakfast.

What I haven’t been doing although I’ve been tempted more than once is working during this time. I’m not saying it won’t ever happen but definitely not checking email or doing the kind of tasks that require a great deal of focus. Allowing my mind to wander creatively and think about future projects; now that is a good way to spend the early morning hours.

I also avoid checking social media or spending too much time reading articles on my phone. It can be difficult since at times I’m extra groggy and scrolling up and down is definitely a brainless activity but I know better than to let myself get sucked into an internet rabbit hole. It also makes the time appear to slow down. I don’t know if other people experience this as well but 15 minutes browsing Facebook seems like it goes by in 30 seconds. If I’m going to experience an extra hour or two in the morning, I want to get all of the time and not have it rush past me because I was mindlessly scrolling.

There’s something indescribably great about a slower pace in the morning. My brain and body have a much better chance to slowly become acquainted with the day, rather than waking up in a stressful mode, thinking about everything that’s on my plate for the day.

I don’t know how long this morning person routine is going to last, and while I’m sure there will be days when all I want to do is stay under the covers even if I’m wide awake; for now I’m going to make the best out of my expanding morning hours.

 

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