“I’m just glad you didn’t try and tell me to start getting up early.”
My friend was referring to an article I wrote for Mamamia about ‘getting your mornings under control.’
“I’d never dream of telling you get up early,” I laughed back, “I know you’re not a morning person”.
But she got me thinking. Do you really need to be a morning person to embrace the whole ‘getting up early’ thing?
Not in my experience.
My husband’s not a morning person yet these days he gets up at 4.30am to go for a run. And of course my lovely host Smaggle has recently learned to embrace the early hours of the day.
But why would you want to start rising early if that’s not your natural tendency? I have six reasons for you:
1. It’s the best time of day to exercise
I’ve been an exerciser my whole life so I can say this with absolutely surety: the morning is best time to exercise. There are two main reasons for this.
1. Exercising in the morning wakes you up and sees you starting the day with a clear head (so much so that on the mornings I don’t exercise, it takes me ages to get my brain going).
2. When you plan to exercise in the afternoon, this puts a huge mental load on you for the entire day. Why? Because you spend a large part of the day thinking about the fact that you ‘have’ to exercise ‘later’ and negotiating with yourself about whether you really have to do it or not.
If you exercise in the morning, you’ll probably still negotiate, but only for 10 minutes before deciding to JFDI. If you exercise in the evening, you’ll spend hours on this pointless and draining mental activity.
2. You get to have a good breakfast
We all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day (because it is breaking a fast of 8-10 hours). When our mornings are rushed and pressured however, breakfast is usually the first thing to be sacrificed.
Getting up a little earlier to ensure we have time to eat a healthy breakfast has all kinds of wonderful side effects; it helps us maintain a healthy weight, helps keep our blood sugar stable and sparks our brain into life.
3. It’s the perfect time to work on special projects
You know what I’m talking about – everyone has some kind of special project in their mind they think they don’t have time to action. Whether it’s the photobook from that trip to Europe, fundraising for a charity you love, or writing a book – the early mornings are the best time to work on these things because there is little to distract you.
Best of all – you only need 15 minutes.
15 minutes each morning adds up to a significant amount of time if you’re doing it every day. In no time at all you’ll have gone from wistfully looking at all the photos on your hard drive to flicking through a beautiful and lasting memory from a special time in your life.
4. It’s the perfect time to clear your inbox
Ok – this may be controversial. A lot of people like to say that work should stay at work. But come on, this is 2014, work goes everywhere with us so how about we make that work for us instead of fighting against it.
Early mornings are a great time to get your inbox under control.
I find that if I reply to emails during the day, I’m more likely to get a return email straight away. And then I will feel obliged to email straight back.
We live in a world of instant gratification and it’s been programmed into us to reply to something instantly if it drops in our inbox while we’re on our computers.
If you email people early in the morning when they’re not at their computers, it takes away a bit of reactiveness at the receiver’s end. They’ll be less likely to flick an instant and incomplete answer straight back at you … and you’re less likely to find yourself engaging in unnecessary back and forth.
The other reason I like doing a quick email check first thing when I wake up is because it means when I sit down at my desk to start the work day, I know what’s in there that needs my attention. It also means there are no little surprise time bombs waiting for me!
5. It’s the perfect time to get some time to yourself
I came downstairs the other day at 5.30am to find my husband sitting at the kitchen table reading the paper. I knew he’d gotten up at 4.30am to go for a run so couldn’t figure out why he hadn’t left yet.
‘It’s the one time all day I get to be by myself’ he told me.
Now I’m not suggesting YOU get up at 4.30am … but the principle is the same. Simply getting up half an hour earlier than the rest of your house is a true delight. I know I savour those mornings where I’m the only one downstairs. I just revel in the silence and the fact that no one wants me to use my brain by having a conversation with them.
And I admit, sometimes I get a bit carried away with the whole revelling in silence; before I know it a whole hour has evaporated (so dear husband, I totally get it!)
6. Mornings are great for meandering
No matter what you choose to do with your early mornings, the one thing they are great for is meandering. I am a huge fan of meandering; it’s the thing that’s most allowed me to live a less frantic life.
Early mornings allow for meandering because they don’t feature the reactiveness of the rest of the day (anyone who is awake in the morning is too busy doing their own thing to require anything of you. The same is not true for say … lunchtime … or the early evenings.)
Being able to start your day in an un-rushed fashion is a real treat, and it gives the rest of the day the best chance of panning out the same way.
Doesn’t that sound lovely?
Are you a late riser? Have I convinced you to give early mornings a try?
If you want to hear more from Kelly, visit her fabulous blog A Life Less Frantic.