I remember those days when I used to come back from parties at 5 am, take my dog and go with her for a walk, meeting my neighbors who have already woke up to walk their dogs… Even when partying became less and less the reason why I went to sleep late (or should I say early? If that’s 5am :) ), but still for years I considered myself a night owl. As a creative person I loved staying up late, taking some green tea and dark chocolate, turning on music and drawing for hours into the night. What I loved about that time is that it is not distractive compared to day hours. It’s you and your ideas alone, and to be inspired and in flow you need to fully focus on your task.
When I was studying in Denmark I had a small side job- during weekend morning I delivered newspapers in our district. The job had to be started at anything from 4-6 am and finished at the latest at 8 am and for the first time in my life I found out that actually I can wake up early and even enjoy it. I got used to singing birds, wonderful sunrises and being awake and outdoor at that early time made me strangely happy. So when after few years I got interested in personal development I started to think that I need to wake up early ALL THE TIME. At some point my husband and I decided to make an experiment (as we often do)- we agreed to spend one month according to Vedic day regime and see what will happen. So we used to woke up at 4 am, take a shower, meditate, read spiritual literature, do some yoga asanas. And though it was of course too radical change to be sustainable (and at 9 am we often wanted to sleep again…), but after that month we were left with taste for that specific, sattvic early morning energy. We were changed, and we got hooked. Of course we went back to more “normal” routine after that month, because to wake up at 4 you need to go to bed at 9-10 and this leaves you with NO social life, but since then I broke my “night owl identity”. I found that I can have the same, just more calm and satisfying energy not late at night, but early in the morning.
Since then I have changed my morning routine all the time, but I always aim to wake up early (5 am-6 am) and go to bed earlier, like 10:30-11 pm. Depending on my plans for that day- whether I have meetings or photo shoots or I can stay at home- the things I do in the morning changes, but here are some of my favorite things to do in those early hours (in no particular order and I don’t do all of them in one morning):
* yoga asanas / exercise/ stretching
* going outside to take images
* reading good books
* manifesting- visualization, writing my goal’s list
* writing my blog posts/learning/working on special projects- if I know I need to do something that requires focus and immersion- morning is the best time for that
*doing hair and face masks from natural oils, cosmetic muds and essential oils
I really appreciate this time- it allows me to do things that I need to do, but “don’t have time” to do during the day. Anything requiring more willpower should go there, too :) And having burning candles, some aromatherapy or incense sticks, a cup of tasty tea or lemon water and inspiring music makes into a pleasant ritual, time where you show yourself that you value your dreams, goals and wellbeing and not just say that you will do those things “some day”.
a) Know your why. We humans are quite lazy beings and without strong motivation we tend to choose things that give us immediate satisfaction instead of long term improvement. I know well that it is cozy in warm bed when it’s still dark outside and it can be so tempting to hit the snooze button again and again, but if you have a strong reason why you want to wake up early it can help you to behave accordingly. Maybe you always wanted to meditate, but never had time? Or exercise, but your day schedule is just too full? Anyway, have a reason, know and clearly imagine your outcome- how would you feel after you finally did that meditation or went to the gym or started working on your project that you wanted for so long?
b) Know yourself and your body. We sleep in repeating different sleep cycles and it is very difficult to wake up at deep sleep stage and REM phase (where you dream) can be a difficult one, too. If you’re curious to “design” your perfect sleep regime, check this out. Personally I noticed that I can wake up easily until around 5:40 am (depending when I fell asleep), if I wake up later I feel quite groggy or then I must sleep much more and can easily wake up at about 7:20, but this is too late for me to prepare for the day.
c) You can’t expect to go to sleep late and wake up early, at least not for long time and not without risking your health, so plan your day accordingly. Go to bed before midnight and plan your regime according to your life- when do you want to wake up and what is the latest time for you to go to sleep to still get enough hours of sleep. Keep in mind, that we rest much better when sleeping before midnight, so you might need less actual hours of sleep.
d) If you want to wake up early and get better quality of sleep have keep in mind that activities you do the evening before affect your ability to wake up early a lot. Don’t go to sleep just after heavy dinner, arguments or any other activities that increase negative emotions. Give yourself some time to relax, turn off computer, TV and social media.
c) I was in one personal development seminar and found this system which for me works quite well, and they mentioned that statistically goal setting works much better when you have planned in details what you will do when you will find yourself distracted from your goal (and you will :) ) Use not the app, but the pdf in the link, as it explains everything in much more details. I also think that writing by hand works better for goal setting.
d) If you are not sure what to do so early in the morning and never had any practices/rituals, I recommend listening to this book by well known personal development lecturer Robin S. Sharma. Really inspirational and sums up many theories from many different sources in one place. My flower images in this post where inspired by this book :)
e) And in the end- don’t be too hard for yourself. Know what and why you want to do and do incremental steps daily. It’s better if it will take you few months to start waking up early, but you will stick with it, then radically changing things from tomorrow for next three days. And if you ruin your schedule (which you will- we all travel, have varying schedules and busy times) don’t be hard on yourself, just re-adjust to your regime when you get back to your normal conditions.
I really hope I inspired you to do some experimentation and if you have any questions please let me know in the comments bellow. And to finish my morning rituals post I want to share a quick healthy breakfast recipe– blackcurrant smoothie:
Blackcurrant smoothie (for 1 person)
1 cup of blackcurrant (you can use frozen when fresh are not available)
2 ripe bananas
1/2 bunch of cilantro/coriander leaves (use according to your taste, I LOVE them, but use less if you’re not used to greens)
1 cup water
a pinch of spirulina powder
a bit of of bee polen
Mix everything in a blender (preferably high speed, for really smooth texture) and enjoy!