June 24, 2013

10 Things to Do When You Get Up Before the Sun.

My little girl is not a fan of sleep.

The thing is, I am.

Between the two of us, we manage to compromise—most of the time.

Every now and then, when you get woken up at the crack of dawn, it’s just not possible to fall back asleep. Or maybe it is, and I don’t really want to—because  sometimes it’s nice to be the only one up in your house.

It’s quiet. 

I can hear the birds chirp and the squirrels dash across the rooftop.

It’s serene. 

The day is new and fresh, and so am I.

So here are things to do when you’re up early.

1. Be stealthy. 

This morning (and yesterday, when the same thing happened) there was no coffee ground. Wah, wah.

My husband got our tiny lady back to sleep by taking her to the couch, which is near the kitchen, so unfortunately for me, and fortunately for them, I’m not jerky enough to grind coffee and risk waking my precious snoozers.

My point is that if you’re up early, try to remember that if you live with others, it’s best to be polite and keep your noise level down.

2. Write and submit to elephant journal.

Many people have told me that they want to submit to elephant journal, and then they never do. My suggestion is that if you’re up early, you’re fresh and ready to go—and nothing’s standing in your way. What do you have to lose, when you might have a lot to share?

3. Go to a yoga class.

One of my favorite things to do when I’m up early is sneak out to an early bird yoga class. One reason relates to #1. I have a home gym and a cute, cozy yoga room, but it’s difficult to enjoy either when I don’t want to be too loud.

Another perk is that if you’re afraid of not fully waking up for your day (that groggy, up-way-too-early feeling), then a power-style class might be exactly what you need. (And it’s good for you!)

4. Climb back in bed. 

Often, I can’t fully enjoy my wonderful bed because by the time that I get there, I’m asleep in two seconds. If you live alone, or can be quiet enough to not wake up your sleeping companion, then grab a book or just lie there in the stillness for a moment, or two, or three. (I know, I know, a few minutes with nothing to do! Can you handle it?)

Admittedly, I’m currently combining tips 2 and 4, and it feels great.

5. Read.

I think perhaps you saw this one coming after our previous suggestion. Reading is underrated in our society, in my not-so-humble opinion, and while I’m well aware that you can read on one of your spectacularly cool devices, I also suggest reading an actual book made of paper and ink. It’s special—that feeling of holding a book in your two hands. I even like the smell of books. Let’s move on before I scare you…

6. Get outside. 

If you live in a safe community, then now might be your chance to get out into nature before you’re likely cooped up in a cage for the rest of your day.

When I start to feel depressed, I know that I haven’t been outside enough. Being submersed in the lush greens of nature, surrounded by sunshine (even the dawning sun), is more healing than we give it credit for.

7. Be productive.

If you’re not the type to laze around after waking, then do something around the house that will help you later on, or that will just plain feel good to have accomplished before your day even technically should have gotten started.

Fold the laundry, do the dishes, sweep, clean your toilets—you get the picture.

There’s always something to do that’s hanging over your head, and it might be more relaxing to you to simply get it out of your way than it would be to hop back into bed with your favorite book.

8. Read the paper. 

Maybe the actual newspaper, but that’s not what I mean. If you’re like me, and you literally have to steal moments to read the news (I’m a stay-at-home yogi with an active toddler), then now might be your opportunity to catch up on the latest headlines and global happenings. Sometimes it’s nice to have already heard of a crucial piece of news before someone else tells you about it. Also, it’s generally a good idea to form your own opinions rather than always relying on an outsider’s. An additional perk: stay informed and you’ll have conversation topics waiting for when lunch comes around.

9. Make yourself good food.

I make food a priority, but I know how difficult it can be to make a breakfast that’s worth eating before you have to head out the door. If you’re a person who typically has to eat and run or run and eat, then make yourself (and maybe the other people in your house) something special—and healthy—this morning.

10. Look around.

My final recommendation is that, even before you do one of the other things on this list, you look around.

Look out your windows and glance out at that beautiful world that’s waiting for you.

Notice the almost-out-of-focus effect of the morning light hitting the trees in your front yard.

Check out the other critters who got up before you did.

Look around now—and then don’t forget to do it again later.

Too often, our days are filled with check lists and plans, things we have to finish, and things we have to start, when what should actually be at the top of our agendas is to notice the amazing world that we inhabit—that supports us and our lives—every single day.

Don’t forget to be grateful, and don’t forget to give back.

“In the morning a man walks with his whole body; in the evening, only with his legs.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson.


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{Photo: via Pinterest}

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