Today I was thinking to write about something totally different. A thing that does however also influence my travel experience. I am writing about one of my habits: waking up early. Although there was a time (during my study) that I could sleep for hours in the morning, except for that I have always been a morning person. Waking up early has so many benefits.
Except from a few lazy Sundays, I wake up early everyday (05:45 am in winter 04:45 in summer). Even during traveling I don’t change that routine, as the morning just has so much to offer. I understand, changing from a night person into a morning person can be quite hard, and for some people may be unthinkable. However, I want to share with you the amazing benefits I experience when waking up early and I hope this post will inspire you to at least give it a change.
Just 4 reasons… cause I don’t need more
First of all, waking up early is a good start of your day. And this counts in many different ways. I am not a doctor or an expert, so I cannot say this habit is good for your health or mind. However, when I wake up early, I feel that I already had a good start, which inspires me to keep that going for the rest of the day. From Monday until Friday I start my day with a run. Don’t think I like to start running, I just try not to think about it, put on my sport clothes and start running. Once I am finished I feel good about myself and that feeling gives me the energy to finish things for the rest of the day.
During traveling I sometimes choose to skip a day running to go out and take some good shots of the sunrise. This can be at the beach, but not particularly, the light during sunrise is just stunning and makes everything look so beautiful. Mostly my boyfriend is still sleeping. When I come back to wake him up and can proudly show him the good shots I already took. This feels so good that again it gives me energy to start doing things for the rest of the day.
Furthermore, waking up early gives me time to start with a good breakfast. I don’t always spend a lot time on making breakfast. On normal days it is just some Greek yoghurt with a bit of honey (which I absolutely adore anyway). When I want to give myself an extra treatment I also make some fruits. In any case, I take the time to eat my breakfast and I make sure it is something quite healthy and something I like, which gives me that good positive feeling again.
I absolutely understand that you may not like running, making a healthy breakfast and have the same goals as I have, but think about your own goals. What is that one thing that you are always postponing or maybe not even doing at all, although you did really have plans to do so. Try to do these things in the early morning. This way you don’t have to think about it anymore for the rest of the day and it will probably give you the same satisfying and energizing feeling that I have after a good run.
Stunning sunrise! Do I need to say more? I can show you thousands of pictures I took during sunrise, but no matter how good my camera is and how great the picture turns out, it is never as good as experience it for yourself. Each sunrise is different and unique, but never have I seen an ugly sunrise. Although I hate going outside when it is stormy or rainy, it is actually this kind of weather that can create a stunning sunrise. Not only the weather is influencing the sunrise, also your environment and the time of the year is making each sunrise special. Sometimes it is this romantic, peaceful color changing view, but it can also be that stunning red colored fireball coming from behind the hills. I even walked into a totally pink world once when I was on Kos. It is something you can admire for free, a present from nature.
And yes, sunsets are stunning to! However, the atmosphere in the morning is so different. It is a symbol of the start of the day, an inspiration for the rest of the day. I would not say sunrise is better than sunset, as the sunset again is symbolizing the end of the day. But I highly appreciate this beautiful gift we can admire every day.
Another great blessing of waking up early is the quietness and the amazing atmosphere during the morning hours. I have heard many people saying that running is a good therapy and a way to clear your mind. The quietness in the morning however makes this even better for me. During my run I get inspired for new ideas for my blog or for my journeys. I find solutions for things going on at work or at least it makes me stress a lot less about work. I know that being active is responsible for a huge part of this, but in the morning it is still so quite which makes it so easy to clear my mind and come up with ideas without being distracted. There are almost no cars, no televisions (I hate the sound of them, sorry), no people talking loudly to each other, just quietness.
Of course not every place is as quiet as the other. Right now I am living in Piraeus, Athens, A city that never sleeps. There are people going out with their dogs at 04:00 am, scooters with a broken exhaust valve that makes a lot of noise crossing through our streets at least once an hour and people screaming at each other until the late hours of the night, but still the difference between the morning and the rest of the days is huge. Even Athens seems to be almost quiet in the morning.
And then there is that special atmosphere you can only feel in the early morning. Probably created by the combinations of the quietness and the admiring sunrise. Although I am not spiritual minded and most of my friends would probably describe me as a “matter of fact” kind of person, I cannot deny the peaceful atmosphere that opens your mind in the early morning. It is not something I cannot describe in words or show in in statistics, it is just something you have to experience yourself. In any case, most of my best ideas (whether it is an idea for my blog, an inspiration for one of my journeys or a solution for something going on at work) came to me in the morning, thanks to this clear and peaceful atmosphere.
Last but not least, days are longer when you wake up early. This might sound like common sense, waking up a few hours earlier adds a few hours extra on your day. Well, this is nog entirely true, because I always go to sleep early. I really need my 8 hours of sleep, and I probably have the same awaking hours as someone who is waking up late. But my experience is that I am very productive in the morning. Surely not the first 15 minutes, but after that I can achieve a lot more that I would in the hours after work.
I don’t know about you, but when I come home from work, I don’t really feel like doing anything. And even on a day I did not work, but I was spending my day cleaning the house, shopping for groceries or do whatever else needed to be done, after I finished my dinner, I just don’t feel like doing a lot anymore. Most evenings I am doing some administration (boring!), prepare some of my plans or do some laundry. It is not that I am not doing anything, but in any case I am doing it more slow and it takes me more time to finish. I am sure I would not be able to convince myself going out for a run every day when I would plan it in the evening, while in the morning I never skip one just because I do not have the motivation.
This means it is not entirely true that my days are longer, but as I am more productive, I have more time left to read that book, watch that movie or plan my upcoming trip.
Got inspired my post? Here are some tips that may help you to wake up early.
Stop Snoozing! Snoozing your alarm is only a way to postpone that horrible feeling of getting out of bed. Each ten minutes that alarm goes off, that same feeling comes up again. Put of your alarm the very first time it rings, step out of bed and do what you got to do without starting to think about anything for the first few minutes. As soon as my alarm goes off, I give myself a few minutes to take it easy, I put on my running clothes and at the moment I allow myself to think about staying in bed a bit longer, I have already started running. So I don’t give myself the change to snooze my alarm and stay in bed a bit longer. It’s not that these extra minutes will give me any extra rest anyway.
Give yourself a good reason. Before I go to sleep, I know I have to wake up early because I want to run, I want to take that great pictures or I really want to finish that blog. As soon as my alarm goes off, that’s the only thing I think about. It can be really helpful to set some goals for yourself. Think about something you really want to do. It might be helpful to change the name of your alarm into something like: Let’s go for that 10 KM!, make that flowers grow!, or Finish my first knit work!
Don’t stay up to long, if you want to wake up early, you probably need to catch some extra sleep in the evening. This might be difficult in the beginning if you have to change your routine. For me it really works to read something as I am already in bed. When I am really tired, I will fall asleep anyway. In any case, I would not suggest to start with a drastic change immediately. Get used to it for a while and start with a half hour earlier.
Make it worth it! If you made it waking up one hour earlier, make it worth it! Start doing that thing you really wanted to get done. You will only feel worse if you woke up one hour earlier and then waste it on something you didn’t necessary wanted to do. If you use that one hour valuable, you will not only be happy because you finished that one thing, it will also give you and energizing feeling to keep going for the rest of the day.
Do you really want to experience that energizing but peaceful and clear morning feeling, don’t hesitate to ask me about it. I would love to share more tips with you. But I am also very curious about people who are able to be productive at the end of the day. So if you have any tips for me… I would love to hear about them!