I have always been a night owl. I have always loved staying up late. I love the feeling that everyone is asleep but I’m awake and the world is quiet. I also have spent quite a bit of my working life getting things done at night too. At the same time night is a tricky time where lately I end up watching so. much. television. And if I do work, I started thinking, is nighttime really a good time to be on my computer exposing myself to that stimulating light? Nope.
To quote Jack Handy (for those of you who might possibly remember him), “When I think of all the hours and hours of my life I have spent watching television, it makes me realize, Man, I am really rich with television.” That is a goofy quote, but with so many choices, netflix, hulu, amazon, hbo, etc. I watch a lot of shows. Recently I have been trying to reduce my show watching. I don’t want to eliminate them, because I truly enjoy them, but maybe just really be mindful about my time at night.
My Morning Routine
Enter instituting a new morning routine. I have been trying out a morning routine that requires that I wake up early and to be honest, I actually really really like it. I can’t believe I just said that. Here’s what I’ve been doing if everything goes according to plan.
- 6:00 Wake up call! I give myself 30 minutes to get up, out of bed and ready for a workout. I do NOT bound out of bed. Getting up is really, really, really hard so I give myself plenty of time to do it. I make sure once I do get up I drink at least 2 big glasses of water. Note, people think I’m insane but I do not have caffeine. This is a personal choice because long term use of caffeine contributes to migraines so it’s out for me. This would be the perfect time for your tea or coffee though.
- 6:30 Workout. My requirement is that I do a minimum of a 30 minute workout but I budget in 45 minutes in case I want to do more or combine different things like 30 minutes of cardio and 15 minutes of yoga, or 20 minutes of toning and 20 minutes of cardio with a quick stretch. I don’t want to feel rushed but I’m not going to do a marathon workout either. Knowing I only have to do 30 minutes somehow makes it feel more manageable. I remind myself that I can do anything for just 30 minutes!
- 7:15 Meditation. I might be sweaty and sticky but after my workout I do a 10 minute meditation. If I workout less than 45 minutes I might do a 20 minute meditation. I do TM (mantra-based transcendental meditation)and I use the calm app as a timer and to track my sessions. I literally just sit on my couch to do this.
- 7:30 Shower & get dressed. If I am especially sweaty I will often swap the shower and the meditation timing.
- 8:00 Take care of my dog.
- 8:15 Make a smoothie or other breakfast.
- 8:30 Leave the house for work.
- Total Time: 2.5 hours
- What I have accomplished: a workout, a meditation session, a shower, and breakfast. I dare you not to feel amazing leaving the house for work having done all of these things.
“Feeling” versus Doing
I would like to make a very important statement here: In the morning, I NEVER feel like getting up and I NEVER feel like working out. I do it anyways, and afterwards I always feel fantastic and it is 100% worth it. Getting up early and exercising is never going to be easy for night owls, but I’m telling you it is pretty awesome. Maybe overtime this will change? But for now, I’m just going to have to stop thinking about it and simply take action. Just do it!
The lesson here is that if you are a night person, you can change. It can be done and it’s a little painful but do it enough, and it does get easier. Having time to myself in the morning plus getting my workout in is a game changer for me. It opens up the whole day, sets my mood (30-minutes of exercise is like taking an anti-depressant for me), and leaves me more apt to fall asleep easier earlier in the evening setting me up for the next early morning.
When I Mess It Up….
Inevitably I’m not going to make that 6:00 wake up call every single day, but I’ve found the key is to not skip anything, but to simply shorten everything. Maybe I turned off snooze and it’s now 7 all of a sudden…. then I do a 15 minute work out and a 5 minute meditation or move a little faster getting ready, but I really really try to stick to getting these things in. It just feels too good not to and my future self would be disappointed if I didn’t keep my promises. I’ve found that a little is ALWAYS better than nothing.
I do have to be careful at night to get to bed between 10 and 11 and sometimes I’ll even set a bedtime alarm to help me go to bed on time. I’m likely to watch to stay up otherwise. I’m still watching netflix, but only an hour or maybe two at the most so I don’t feel deprived, but I’m not over doing it. My morning routine has been a game changer.
The Effects of Having a Morning Routine
The effects of having this morning routine have been very positive for me. Seriously, I now love my morning. It’s 100% mine and it’s glorious. The effects of 30 minutes of exercise is profound for my mood. This movement is like taking a daily anti-depressant for me plus I’m finally getting in shape. Working out also creates energy. I’m basically creating the energy I need for the day.
The meditation grounds and centers me in a way that nothing else I’ve tried has. The fact that the first thing I do with my day is take care of myself before anything just feels good. I make sure to get a solid balanced breakfast in but it’s fast- a smoothie, quick egg scramble, or sometimes steel cut oats. I listen to what my body wants. My morning belongs only to me. It sets the tone for the day and leaves me feeling energized and ready.
I used to be a night shower person and then roll out of bed in the morning barely making myself presentable the next day (usually the bare minimum). Now I take a quick shower after my workout and then get dressed, do hair and minimal makeup and I’m ready. It feels good to take that 30 minutes to look my best. I have to be quick but I can do it.
No screens, no email, no phone (except for the alarm) and I’ve never been happier.
Everything about my morning now just feels good (except for initially getting out of bed of course). If you are a night person, how do you think a morning routine could work or not work for you?