For the past year, I’ve had the craziest schedule ever. I would get up at 5:30 AM and be out the door by 6:30 AM. I commuted over an hour to work, worked 10 hour days, then commuted back home. My evenings were filled with housework, paying bills, making phone calls, and then working some more. I was constantly drained and felt like I was on zombie mode, not really living my life.
The fact is, a frantic schedule isn’t a simple thing to fix. I cannot change my day-to-day life because I’m an adult and I have to do what I have to do. But I knew that I needed something to be different or I was going to crash and burn… So, I decided to change the only thing I really could control: my wake up time.
Now, I was already getting up at 5:30 AM, and it’s pretty crazy to get up any earlier, I know. But this month, I started getting up between 4:30 and 4:45 AM. My routine used to be get up, get dressed, get ready, and run. Now, I get up, exercise, shower, and read the paperM or watch a show while having breakfast and tea. Then I get dressed and ready to go. I have a lot more time to move at a normal human pace and feel like I’m not immediately thrown into my hectic life right when I wake up.
I definitely noticed some major changes and I think it’s something a lot of us could try out! These are the 5 things that I have noticed since waking up earlier each day:
1. Despite less sleep, I actually have more energy.
Of course, losing an hour of the precious little sleep I was getting was a big adjustment. I do go to bed a little earlier to compensate, but my evening schedule is still hectic. But I feel like having that downtime in the morning has made things better than sleep ever could. Maybe it’s the morning exercise that gets me going but whatever it is, it’s working!
2. I feel less stressed and depressed.
Stress basically ran my life and because I didn’t have any time to feel like a human being. I was pretty down about myself and my lifestyle. While this isn’t a cure-all for mental health issues, this has helped me quite a bit with staying positive and working towards my goals.
3. I’m more invested in my work than ever.
I used to literally just do what I had to do and resent the loss of my time and freedom while doing it. Now that I’m taking just a bit of time to myself before I start my day, I am much more willing to work hard at my job. I just have a newfound energy and emotional capacity that I never had before.
4. I feel more in-tune with myself.
There were times before where I would go an entire day without ever actually thinking about myself. I would go all day and never check in with myself about how I’m feeling or handling things. There just wasn’t time for it. I know it sounds crazy but it’s true. Now, I feel more aware of myself and my needs because I’m taking the time out to remember that those needs do matter. I’m doing things just for me; reading more, relaxing with a cup of tea, and just sitting in silence with my thoughts. It really does make all the difference in the world.
5. I don’t feel like I have to live for weekends and holidays anymore to keep me going.
At the end of the day, I would actually be dragging my body where it needed to go. Sometimes, walking up stairs was physically challenging because I was just so exhausted. I would start counting down the days and hours to the weekend, starting on Monday. I even found Sunday nights stressful before I was so close to having to start another week. Am I tired at the end of a long day now? Of course. I am totally ready for bed before it’s even close to bedtime. But I feel like I’ve given myself a higher quality of life in my day-to-day schedule so I don’t have to rely on the days off to keep me going.
Not everyone has schedules quite as intense as what I’ve described, but I think in our constantly busy, on-the-go society, we could all use a little more time to ourselves. I know waking up any earlier than you absolutely have to doesn’t sound like a good time, but I challenge everyone who feels like they’re in over their heads to give it try. The results could be not only worth it, but life changing!