I don't recall being an early riser when I was younger but I remember all too vividly not enjoying those exhausting bleary-eyes mornings sat, or in my case laid down, on the sofa watching children's television with my son, who had a habit of woking up the wrong side of 6am! So, why would I inflict such an early start on myself now I have teens, who barely see the mornings in their school holidays; I could easily linger for a little longer in bed and no-one would notice?
I realised quite early on in my journey as a parent that I don't function particularly well when I haven't had some time to reflect. Whilst I love the hustle and bustle of family life, and relish the time I have with friends, I need at least an hour each and every day to just be on my own to ponder life, the universe, and everything.
So waking up early was a conscious decision, a way to create some much needed 'me-time', which I lost as the children grew up. Those of you who have older children will appreciate the days of having the evenings to yourself disappear once your children hit senior school and in the case of older teens, they are often still awake when you go off to bed! I found myself faced with a dilemma; do I become a serious night-owl, and stay up obscenely late to get 'me-time' or do I become a lark and wake at the crack of dawn. I chose Lark.
Whilst it was difficult at first when the alarm went off at 5am, and all I wanted to do was press snooze a million times, the early mornings have very quickly become my daily saviours. I've been walking at 5am now for over 4 years and I find it gives me a sense of peace and tranquility amongst the chaos that can be parenting some days. As a result I find myself handling challenging situations in a much more measured way, and I pause longer before becoming exasperated at saying the same thing over and over again before being heard!! On the rare occasions that I lie-in, or the children wake up early and disturb my morning paradise, I am noticeably more crabby and irritable. I believe it's as much in what I do during those precious 2 hours before everyone wakes up, as the alone time, which keeps me sane. Here is what I do each and every day:
1. Drink a large glass of water and follow it up with a cup of tea
2. Write a daily journal about the previous day, which I always end with three things I'm grateful for
3. Read one chapter of a book; I am currently re-reading 'We' by Gillian Anderson and Jennifer Nadel
4. Ten minutes of meditation
5. Write down my goals for the day, both work and 'mummy', along with my 'to-do' list
It might not be your thing but if you need to claim some much needed 'you' time and don't quite know how you'll find the time amongst all your other demands, I can highly recommend waking up early, even 30 minutes earlier than the rest of the house, for some much needed quiet time.
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