Why getting up early makes you happy

Anybody who isn’t a morning person (as I am) is going to flinch when reading the title above. I am completely aware that not everyone enjoys getting up early in the morning, and the only way I can understand the feeling is when somebody tries to force me to stay up late. I’m not a night owl and have never been – whenever I do end up staying up past my bedtime, it causes my whole sleeping pattern to shift. Which is something I really don’t like.

Getting up early (or, to lessen the pressure: earlier) is somewhat of a choice, though. To make this choice easier, I thought I’d write up a post about how getting up early(er) will help you to “find your happy”.

Have you ever been on holiday somewhere at a lake or a beach? If so, you’ll know how beautiful it is to see the sun rise above the water (if you’ve ever managed to get up early enough while on holiday, that is). I feel like that in itself should be a reason to rise and shine: you’ll see nature wake with you, and somehow, to me at least, that is one of the most grounding and calming feelings in the world. If you have trouble getting “your engines running” in the morning, I would actually recommend going for a walk or even a jog, if you can wrap your head around it, before doing anything else. I suspect the biggest problem non-morning-people have is that their mind is still in bed even when they get up, which means their body is probably very confused as to what it should be doing. Going outside, even for just 15 minutes in the morning, and walking around the block is going to do wonders.

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I sound like it’s always easy for me to get up. Believe me, it’s not. I have the tendency to rise early when I have had a full night’s worth of sleep, but when I know I don’t have real obligations till noon (which happens a lot when you’re a student), it’s difficult to motivate yourself to get up before 9 am. What really helps me is having some sort of appointment early in the morning, preferably at 8.30 or even earlier, that way I am forced to get up and plan my morning around it. Knowing that I have something to do right away makes me happier, and not like I “got up for nothing”. Also, having an obligation makes me use my time much more wisely – I don’t just linger in bed longer than I need. I can already bust out a workout, clean out the dishwasher, turn on the laundry, or whatever it is that needs to be done BEFORE breakfast, making me feel a lot more content than I would without knowing that my apartment’s the way I want it to be.

Of course, this is probably only relevant to students, and everybody who’s working is, again, rolling their eyes at me right now. I will be with you guys, soon, starting to work in September, so by then I’ll probably read this post, rolling my eyes at myself just as you are.

The most important reason why getting up early is going to make you happy(er) is that you can already have some “me”-time before work, breakfast or anything going on that day. If going for that 15 minute walk sounds remotely accesible to you, go for it – not only will it wake your body, it’ll do wonders for your mood. I don’t go for a run every morning, but when I do, I know that day will be great, as I’ve already taken the time to do something good for myself. If you would love having a cappuccino every morning, but never take the time to make it because you aren’t getting up early enough, set out your milk foamer the night before, as well as a pretty coffee mug, and see if it helps remind you to get out of bed when the alarm rings. You’ll see it does wonders for your mood if you’ve taken time early in the day to be kind to yourself (even if it feels like you’re torturing yourself by getting out of bed at first).

To sum up, getting up early makes you happy, because you a) have the opportunity to truly wake yourself and your body up without rushing into it, b) you can actually get things done before going to work or whereever, like preparing a nice healthy lunch, picking up the chaos around the house, or picking out matching socks for once. And, finally, c) you can already take some time to be kind to yourself in the morning if you get up early enough, which will result in a much more content, calmed, and happy you.

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If you need ideas how to be kind to yourself in the morning concerning your food (and you know it had to come to that topic sooner or later if you read my blog regularly), come check out my Guide for Morning Grinches, where I’ve tried to introduce any breakfast-hater to eating a healthy breakfast step-by-step.

I think the most important thing about getting up is knowing WHY you are getting up. If it’s “only” for the job you don’t always love, chances are it’s going to be tough on you, especially if you’re not a morning person. Why not get up for the pretty sunrise outside, for making that nice hot cup of coffee instead of picking it up on the way, for spending sometime remembering you are getting up because you are choosing to enjoy life. What may sound like a bumper sticker is actually meant seriously; eventhough it’s hard, I challenge you to get up 5 minutes earlier every day this coming week, and use those minutes to treat yourself. Let me know if you feel happier by the end of the week – although I already know you will. 🙂

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