Reclaim Your Morning
That was the title of a blog post by Jim King, sports nutritionist and personal trainer, in January 2016. He wrote about the “Wish” person and the “But” person:
- “I WISH I could lose weight, I WISH I had more energy, I WISH I was in better shape, I WISH I did not feel so old, I WISH I had more time…”
- “BUT I don’t have enough time, BUT I’m not ready, BUT I don’t have enough money…”
I found myself resonating with this, especially in terms of TIME… wishing I had more. So, I decided to do something about it. As part of a healthy lifestyle, I decided to reclaim my mornings, and in the process, become more efficient, creative, and productive with my time.
And, it’s not just about being more productive. Rising early could actually affect your health. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, night owls face a greater risk of diseases like diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and sarcopenia (muscle loss with aging.)
There are many successful people I know that have an early morning ritual. They rise before the sun, have their quiet time, write out their gratitude’s, say their prayers, meditate, drink their coffee, exercise and have their day planned before most of us have even opened our eyes.
I’ve been that morning person at certain times of my life. I remember the season when I was training for a marathon. I found early mornings to be the best time to get my mileage in. I’d set the alarm, wake, rise, and dress in the dark. I’d head out around 5 or 5:30 a.m. – even in the winter of New York – by myself. I’d always leave a note for my housemates as to what time to expect my return (and to request that they send out the cavalry if I wasn’t back before everyone left for work!)
I can still feel the cold air and hear my footsteps as I ran those dark country roads. Gradually my body warmed up, my mind cleared, and my breath became more controlled as my feet found their cadence.
And, more often than not, I was blessed to watch the sun come up!
I’d get home, shower, eat, grab a cup of coffee and head to work with a bounce, an energy, a skip in my step! I’d arrive at work ready to conquer the day, smiling, cheerfully, asking everyone I came into contact with, “hey, did you catch that BRILLIANT sunrise?!?!?!” Yes, I was that girl!
I was often met with a roll of the eyes as people were struggling to wake up, trying to pump their veins with enough caffeine to take charge of their day.
Another season I had the discipline to rise early – 5 or 6 a.m. – to spend a quiet hour reading my Bible, praying and meditating before the world woke up, or at least, my household.
There have also been seasons when I’ve found sleep challenging and sleeping in or late became something that I coveted.
I’m coming out of one of those seasons right now. Yes, my body required the season without pressure, to snuggle in to the covers, borough my head and allow healing and recovery to take place for a little longer.
I’m saying I’m coming out, because there are still days I want to stay in bed. However, I am in the process of reclaiming my mornings!
Here are a few of the steps I am taking to transition back into being an earlier riser.
- I decide ahead of time and set an intention to awake early. Some days I even set the alarm.
- I add it to my schedule. Sometimes by means of a yoga class, or to get some morning fasted aerobics in.
- I go to bed earlier. Even 15 minutes can make the difference.
- Any caffeine I drink is done before Noon.
- I shut off all electronics 1-2 hours before bed.
- I meditate and focus on my breath. This can be done at night, or in the morning, or both.
- I am specific to cross off the area on my calendar after 9pm, to remind myself not to schedule or take any calls, or plan any events or gatherings, and if I do, I have a curfew.
- I fuel my body with the best possible nutrition every day and include regular nutritional cleansing.
Some or all these steps have me headed in the right direction, one day at a time. One step, then another, and another until I’ve created a new habit. Or revived an old one.
What am I doing with my mornings? Last month I tried a new yoga studio and class (which in an of itself was a blessing; however in addition, it led me to a divine collaboration with a woman named Rosemary ). I bought the special introduction package of unlimited classes for 14 days for $20! This way I can try multiple days and time slots. Granted, my first few classes have been at the 9 a.m. time slot, not exactly early, but it was a start! And, it felt good!
And do you know the funny part? Shawn, the instructor, suggested I try the EARLY morning class. The 6 a.m. one! Funny. At least I thought so! However I am keeping an open mind about it.
I haven’t made it there yet. Perhaps this week. This morning I did morning fasted cardio from the comfort of our studio next door.
What I have learned is that I don’t have to go from zero to 100 in 10 seconds flat. In other words, I don’t have to go from sleeping in every morning, to getting up 2 or 3 hours earlier every day. And I don’t have to commit to 7 mornings a week. We take baby steps. Steps we can manage and accomplish and feel good about! Small goals. Small steps. Consistent action! And just stick with it!
What else do I do with my mornings? Many days I read, pray, and meditate (The Shift, by Susan Sly is one of my favorite guided tools). My Bible and some of my favorite faith based books are also close by.
Some mornings I wake up and do a brain purge… I wake up with SO many things going on in my head I have to write and Write and WRITE some more to get it all out. There are no rules, it doesn’t have to make sense, and I just have to get it out. I’ll make sense of it later.
Some day’s I’m listening to a short video that I find inspirational. Peta Kelly and Alexi Panos are two of my favorites! Check out their YouTube channels! They are powerful! And short enough to do one a day! Imagine, 30 days of Peta! Or 60 days with Alexi! That one thing – 5 minutes in the morning – could literally change the direction of your day and your life!
Lately in my mornings when I finally head up stairs at the very last possibly moment to shower, get ready to head out of the house, I turn on a Steve Furtick episode. If you’ve never heard him preach, you are in for a treat!
Some mornings, I just sit, gazing out the window, watching the sun come up, with my cup of coffee in hand, and feeling deeply grateful. Breathing in, breathing out, relaxing, smiling at the wonder of the Universe and the unlimited possibilities!
All of these things allow me to start my day with ease. With calm. With intention. With awareness. With gratitude. They bring me back into alignment with my authentic self. They help set me up for success. And with this self-love, comes better health, better wealth, and better wisdom. When I’m nurturing this part of my life and myself, it carries over into all other areas of my life.
And you know what the exciting thing is? I have more CLARITY. My FOCUS is dialed in. I have less angst in my body and my life. I’m DREAMING again. I’m AWAKE. I’m ALIVE. I’m ENERGIZED! And I’m so freakin EXCITED I can’t stand it!
Yes! That’s worth reclaiming my mornings!
About the Author
I am a writer and nutrition coach inspiring people to live a life of true health, love, laughter and freedom