The extra hour this weekend means it’s the perfect time to implement a new morning routine.
Bear with me – I know this is not what you were thinking of doing with your extra hour!
Why it’s good to get up early
I am a big fan of peace and quiet. I am also a big fan of feeling like I’ve achieved something. Before becoming a parent, both of these things were entirely possible at any point during the day or night.
Now though, I am a single parent and self employed. So my time during the day while S is at school or otherwise occupied is spent achieving things for my clients, not for myself.
This is where a morning routine comes in. I read Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning while S was still quite small, and found it nothing short of life changing. The basic premise of the book is that you get up early and do self development work before everyone else gets up. It’s a good idea and something that can help all of us.
If you can get up even half an hour earlier, there is so much you can get done. Those precious minutes before the rest of the world is awake are the perfect time for reading in silence, meditating or even working on that book you’ve always wanted to write. Or just for making a nice cup of tea and enjoying it in peace.
How to implement a morning routine when the clocks go back
This weekend as the clocks go back is the perfect time to put a new morning routine in place. If you used to get up at 7am, you will be used to waking up at what is now 6am – so rather than waste that time, get up and make the most of it! Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Have a reason to get up
If you go to bed thinking, Yeah, I might get up and early and do something
On the other hand, if you plan ahead how you will use your time, you will be more motivated to get up. I made a commitment at the beginning of this year to meditate every day, and I always aim for 30 minutes or more – so I know when my alarm goes off that I need to sit up and begin meditating or I will run out of time before S wakes up and we begin our day.
You don’t need to meditate if that’s not your thing; you could use the time to read a book, to journal, to write
2. Go to sleep earlier
It sounds obvious but if you want to get up earlier, you’ll need to go to sleep earlier. The average human needs between 7 and 9 hours sleep every night. This is usually the point where people reference Margaret Thatcher and her famously sleeping only 4 or 5 hours per night whilst Prime Minister. This would be a valid point, were it not for the fact that the percentage of the population who only need a couple of hours’ sleep is tiny. You are most likely not one of them. Just record that TV show, and head for bed.
3. Employ the Mel Robbins method
Mel Robbins wrote a whole book about this, but the basic premise is: if you’re putting off doing something, don’t give yourself the option. As soon as the alarm goes off, tell yourself: 5-4-3-2-1 and then pull the covers off and get up. It’s weirdly effective for those mornings when you really don’t feel like it.
4. Stick to a routine
Everything is hard when you first try it out – but don’t give up after one try! The best way to adopt a new routine is to stick with it. That means terribly boring things like going to bed and getting up at the same time every day – even on weekends. Did you know that the change in sleeping habits many of us have at the weekend can cause changes in our bodies similar to actual jet lag? This includes lowering insulin sensitivity. So staying up til 3am to watch that box set can actually damage your health! Discipline is what is called for here, at least until your new routine becomes a habit.
5. Do things that will wake you up
Once you’re awake, drink a big glass of water or brush your teeth – both of these will help you to feel more awake and less inclined to go back to sleep. If you don’t have a significant other or small person who may be disturbed by it, you could do something like put your alarm clock on the other side of the room so that you have to get out of bed to switch it off. If you have such a thing, you could set a timer for the light to come on in your bedroom at a certain time.
What to do with your extra hour
There are plenty of things you can do if you are up an hour before everyone else. In The Miracle Morning
Silence – some form of meditation
Affirmations – repeating positive lines to yourself
Visualisation – picturing yourself achieving something you really want
Exercise – anything that gets you moving
Reading – a self development book is great for early morning motivation
Scribing – writing or journalling of some kind
Elrod suggests doing each of these every morning, but you can pick and choose which ones you do. I started out doing all of them, but then various parts of it dropped or were changed.
My morning routine
As an example (and by no means a perfect one) here is my usual morning routine:
My alarm goes off at 5:30am – I use the silent alarm on my Fitbit so that it vibrates enough to wake me, but not disturb S. She doesn’t sleep in my bed any longer, but we both sleep with our bedroom doors open and I don’t want to risk waking her up now that I’m used to my early mornings alone!
I meditate for a minimum of 30 minutes, using the Insight Timer app. I’d definitely recommend this app if you’re looking to begin a meditation practice; it’s free and has hundreds of free guided meditations as well as a timer function.
After meditating, I do a card reading for myself. I usually pull cards from 2 or 3 decks, and will often post them on my Instagram Stories.
These days my meditation is often 40-50 minutes which means that by the time I’m finished with my cards, S is usually awake. Her alarm goes off at 6:40, which gives us time to have a cuddle together in my bed before we begin our day.
What does your morning routine look like?
Do you get up before everyone else in order to get some time to yourself? Have I convinced you to give it a go?
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