Here we are in the midst of winter. It’s dark and cold. Freezing actually, and snuggling under the cosy doona for as long as possible is how most of us prefer to spend our mornings.
But winter is the perfect time to create new and better habits in preparation for summer. Getting out of bed a bit earlier can help make for a less stressful and more productive day. We are all so busy and time poor that it makes sense to grab an extra hour or two each morning and make the most of that precious time.
Several months ago, I started getting up at 5.30am every week day. Having that extra hour each day has enabled me to get organised, focus on my health and feel good about the day ahead. Depending on the day and my priorities for the week, here are 5 things I choose to wake up early for:
If you are like me and have a love/hate relationship with exercise, getting it over and done with first thing in the morning is the best way to go. The hardest part for me is to physically start but once I get into it, it’s not so bad and when the work out is done, it’s so worth it! The best part of exercising in the morning is I feel accomplished, alive and raring to go which is a great mood to start the day with. I also enjoy my morning shower a whole lot more too.
Going out for a walk or a run during winter is no fun unless you have someone to go with. If you prefer not to leave the house, think about how you can exercise at home. There are so many fitness apps which allow you to make up your own workouts or you can use the workouts already put together. I use these apps:
7 minute workout
Nike+ Training Club
I plan my 30 – 45 minute workout the night before so I don’t have to think too much which helps make it easier to get started. I mix it up by using workouts from these apps, exercises I have learned from attending bootcamp and personal training sessions and also from www.fitnessmagazine.com. I also have a cross trainer, fit ball and weights right in my bedroom so I literally can walk from my bed over to the other side of the room so there really is no excuse!
We are all so busy and in a constant rush that we don’t have time to stop, take time out and refocus our energy. Early in the morning, before the kids wake up and the mad school rush begins, is the perfect time to spend 10 to 15 minutes on meditation, writing, journaling, thinking about decisions that might need to be made or what you have to be grateful for in your life. Staying in bed with the book you can’t put down and a cup of tea is also another way to use this time. Having a quiet moment to start your day can make the mood of the day much more peaceful and positive.
I have the sentence a day journal from Kikki-K which I write in each day. The journal has 365 unique prompts or questions over 3 years which requires you to reflect on life and think about where you are currently at. I only started using mine this year but I am looking forward to seeing how my answers change over the coming years.
I sometimes also spend time writing down my thoughts and ideas and if I am feeling particularly inspired, I will write a whole blog post or article with these ideas.
Experts say we should be drinking 40 mls of water per kg of body weight. For me, that’s about 2 litres and I really struggle with this especially during winter. Getting out of bed earlier means I can spend 10 to 15 minutes reading, journaling, writing or looking at social media while I drink my first water for the day. I try and aim for at least 500 mls (which means a quarter of my water intake for the day is done!) but I do know people who guzzle a whole litre first thing in the morning. Try adding sliced lemon or lime to warm water which is much nicer on a cold morning.
4. Meal preparation
Some people like to get their school lunches ready the night before but I prefer to do this in the morning. As I am home generally 3 days a week, I make time to prepare a lunch box for myself with morning tea, lunch and snacks (and a sweet treat!) so I am set for the day. I find if I haven’t thought about what I am going to eat, I end up raiding the pantry and making quick but poor food choices. Some mornings I will make a green smoothie for breakfast or for later.
While the chopping board and knives are already out, I also look at what is planned for dinner and do as much preparation as I can like chopping up meat and vegetables or mixing spices. Anything that can be done in the morning and left in the fridge means less to do later and makes for a much quicker and smoother evening.
Now I know what you are thinking, why would anyone want to get up early in the cold to do housework? Trust me, spending 30 minutes one or two mornings a week doing housework or any of those little jobs you don’t get around to during the day makes a HUGE difference. Since I started doing this a morning or two a week, I feel I am on top of everything more often and not spending as much time on the weekends bogged down doing household chores. You can actually get a lot done in 30 minutes.
Like exercise, I too have a love/hate relationship with housework. I love a clean, organised house but I don’t enjoy cleaning at all. Who does? The other morning, I got up early and cleaned all the drains – definitely not the best job in the world but when I finished I felt accomplished and relieved that I had stopped putting it off and it had finally been done!
So these are my 5 things worth waking up early for. What’s yours?
Number 6 – Wake up to a beautifully written blog post that reminds us to get up and get moving.
I was really hoping that housework could be #1 but the fact that it was in the top 5 works for me! I don’t want to have to choose between my child’s attempts to get my attention and getting the coffeepot, dishwasher, washing machine, or shower going, so that’s my early morning wake up 🙂