It's common knowledge that waking up early is good for us. It decreases stress, kick-starts your metabolism, and it allows one to take advantage of all hours of the day. But these days, with all of our social-media outlets, countless online stores, and numerous video streaming platforms it can be easy to waste this extra time and energy you should be harnessing.
"Essentially, your body is preparing for battle and wants it's soldier(body) to have every advantage taking on the day"
When you wake up after a good night of sleep you are recharged. Besides the initial grogginess you feel when you first hear your alarm, your body is functioning on all cylinders. With out any distractions or stressors the body's systems will work efficiently to metabolize nutrients, regenerate cells of the body, and restore glycogen storage in the liver. Essentially, your body is preparing for battle and wants their soldier to have every advantage taking on the day.
We don't want to let our body down by wasting all this productivity during your sleep by sitting around watching re-runs of It's Always Sunny... and buying another Groupon for your local Spin Studio, which by the way just finished the class you were signed up for. So what do you we to ensure we take advantage of all this extra time and energy we have in the early morning?
Develop a morning routine!
It sounds simple, but it will actually take some effort, time, and evaluation before your routine becomes enjoyable. Waking up early won't immediately make you happy. Just like dieting wont make you happy by simply cutting back on cheeseburgers and craft beer (because it won't). The positive results that occur due to making changes in our lifestyles are what make us happy. I'm not here to tell you to wake up early and your life is changed, but I am here to tell you that if you wake up early, you can learn a routine and enjoy the benefits of harnessing oft wasted time.
A few tips for developing your morning routine:
1. Consistency - be sure to wake up early and often. Even on weekends wake up earlier than usual. Weekends can be some of our most productive days because we can choose what we want to work on, whether it be work-related, chores around the house, or getting in a workout.
2. Eat & Drink - Spend part of your new found early-morning routine preparing breakfast and/or lunch. When we make food, whether it be breakfast or lunch for later, taking a few extra minutes to make food can be cathartic. Allow yourself to enjoy the smells, tastes, and sounds of the coffee dripping into the pot and the sizzle of an egg in a pan before dealing with the days stressors.
3. Timing - Be realistic with how much time you will really need to be more productive and ease morning stress. If you normally wake up at 7 am to be out of the house by 8 am, don't try to wake up at 4 am. Giving yourself an extra 3 hours to your day is great, but that is a big difference. Start by waking an extra half hour, then if you feel you can manage more time or would like more time then set the alarm clock a bit earlier. I believe an extra 60-90 minutes is the perfect amount of time to add to your morning for optimal preparation for the day.
4. Evaluate - Review both your previous days agenda, today's plan, and what can be done tomorrow. This will allow you to delegate your responsibilities more easily. Evaluating your morning routine is another good practice to ensure you are getting the most out of this lifestyle change. If you find your not making it to the gym at night because you're tired, try morning sessions to energize you through the day. If you feel you waste much of your extra time on social-media, try moving the alarm clock back 15 minutes.
A morning routine is not cookie cutter. It will take adjusting to and persistence, but eventually the routine will become habit. Habits are comfortable, they give us a sense of feeling in control of our life. Take control of your day, hour by hour, starting with your morning stretch.