I’ve always loved mornings, even in my drinking days. I wouldn’t exactly say that I was a morning person because my mornings were either spent in bed hungover, or fraught with stress and anxiety whilst running around trying to get everyone out the door on time with the correct kit. It would usually take me many cups of coffee and a pile of toast to feel relatively normal and by then half the day would have gone. But still, I loved the newness of the day, the anticipation that something was about to happen and on the odd occasion when I was up really early I found enjoyment in just savouring the peace and tranquillity that came during those silent moments before the rest of the world was awake. Trouble was, it was all a bit of a fuzz and it was not until I started waking up sober everyday, that I realized just how much I was missing.
It’s true, waking up sober will change your life on so many levels. The first point I want to make is that waking up without a hangover after a proper refreshing sleep is the best feeling in the world and it just keeps getting better. I would never give up that feeling for a few laughs during a drunken night – ever.
Waking up without the fog of alcohol but enjoying a proper restful night, means that I naturally wake up much earlier than I used to. Up until recently, I didn’t really make the effort to anything with the extra time and energy, I was quite happy lazing in bed with a cup of tea and just savouring those delicious moments of stillness. It was, and still is a feeling that I am truly grateful for and will never take for granted. To be able to organize dogs, children, breakfasts, school snacks, forgotten homework or lost socks is much easier to handle with a clear head, free from the guilt and anxiety caused by last night’s drinking.
About nine months into my sobriety, I began thinking about mornings a bit more and reading all about those people who jump out of bed at 5 am, full of sparkle and do a 10K run before I had even found the courage to peel myself from under the duvet. These people both fascinated and annoyed me, how on earth do they do it? Why do they do it and most importantly, why would you want to? Especially in the winter when it’s cold and dark outside. People like Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Michelle Obama, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Mark Wahlberg who wakes up at the insane hour of 2.30am. Interestingly though Marky Mark is tucked up in bed by 7.30pm – he obviously understands the importance of sleep. These are obviously extreme examples, but they got me thinking nevertheless.
However, waking up sober every day has meant that I have more energy in the morning so I was curious to see if I could actually get up early and do something. I decided I would give it a go and see how it went, so I told my husband and set the alarm for 5 the next morning. I had chosen the perfect time to do it too, a random Tuesday in the middle of the coldest January we had experienced in a long time – yay! In order to get up early, I of course, had to go to bed early, but as I do love my bed, this was not a problem for me!
Waking up is not actually the problem, I have a great alarm clock which acts like a sunrise, slowly getting brighter as waking up time approaches so by the time I am due to get up, I am already awake. The getting out of bed bit is a bit more challenging especially as it is cold, we have no heating in the bedroom and I have a little furry hot water bottle in the form of my dog who manages to sneak in and lie next to my knees in the night.
I’ll be honest with you, sometimes I do get up straight away but there are days when I get up nearer to six but that’s still a whole two or three hours earlier than I used to. It’s weird but I find it easier to get up at 5 at the weekend than during the week.
What do I do with these extra hours in the morning?
Well, I don’t do a 10K run, that’s for sure. I do like running but not on freezing winter mornings in the dark. I do get outside though, if it’s my turn to walk the dogs I jump into my clothes (sometimes over my PJ’s) wrap up and leave the house as quickly as possible without over thinking it. I like it out there, even in the dark. It’s so peaceful and if the moon is still up I greet her silently as she lights our way. It sounds a bit cliché but I do feel blessed and grateful to be outdoors among nature while the rest of the world is sleeping. Except my husband, he gets up with me too.
Then I have my all important cup of tea. I try not to get distracted by Instagram but I do check my emails before going through and indulging in my early morning yoga practice. I do this by myself in the dark and it is one part of my morning routine that I just won’t give up, no matter what else is going on. I have only been doing yoga for about eight weeks and it is something that I look forward to every day, it is vital to my self care and it helps me start the day on the right foot. I also spend a bit of time setting my intention for the day and just reflecting in silence.
After that I get on with my other jobs, I like to clean out the fire, put the washing in and do other boring stuff which gets it out of the way. My eldest son wakes up at about 6.30, so I make him a coffee because I am nice like that! I then set up my office (read laptop on ironing board in the living room.) This is temporary because my regular office is too cold at the moment and I am soft. My husband however just cracks on with his work in the cold office because he is tough!
I work through until about 7.30 when my eldest son leaves for school and it’s time for the little one to get up. I make him breakfast and milk because I am nice like that! Then it’s just regular getting ready for school stuff after that. But, the beauty of it is, I don’t feel rushed, everything is much calmer and if somebody has lost a sock, then I have plenty of time to find another one.
My youngest and I walk to school together so by the time I get back at around 9.30 I can get straight on with work and knowing that I have done all the fiddly bits and pieces, practiced yoga, eaten breakfast and done some exercise, means that I can settle in to work with a clear head.
I do love my new morning routine which just wouldn’t be possible unless I was waking up sober every day, and although it might not seem all that productive to all those go getters who read, meditate, workout, write and batch cook all before 7am, it works for me. I think I can be confident in saying that I have joined the 5 am club although that’s as early as I will go, anything before 5 is just crazy!
I do love my new morning routine which just wouldn’t be possible unless I was waking up sober every day
Waking up sober has brought me a sense of joy and freedom, peace and productivity that I never experienced before. In order to do this though, I go to bed early at around 9pm – which is just fab! It works really well because I would usually just sit and watch telly until 10 or so, not really achieving anything so all I have done is moved my day forward. Instead of wasting two hours in the evening on the sofa or scrolling through social media, I use those two hours (sometimes three!) in the morning and just get stuff done!
The importance of having a regular morning routine has become clear to me over the past five weeks and although it took a little while to get used to and learn what works for me, I am so glad I put in the effort to try. Now, the idea of a lie in is 7a.m and the thought of staying in bed until 9 is just unthinkable! However, if you had told me back in March 2018, that I would be alcohol free and waking up at 5am, that would have been unthinkable too!
I have gained so much from this experience and it has dramatically changed my days. I believe in a proper morning routine so much that we dedicate a whole section of the Sober Bliss Program to learning how to find the right morning routine for you, which doesn’t necessarily mean you have to wake up at the crack of dawn either.
The benefits of a regular early morning routine are:
You feel proud that you have completed some of your daily tasks early, even just having the time to make your bed and have some proper breakfast will give you a huge lift.
Less Stress – rushing round and flying out the door make for a very stressful start to the day. By having a proper routine and waking up a bit earlier will mean a much calmer and more relaxed start to the day. Make a cuppa and take your time.
A morning routine means that you are in control of your day, not the other way round and that is no small thing.
Building a routine may sound boring but taking the time to craft and practice one you love, helps with stress and anxiety, a set, regular pattern is great for improving your mental health.
Doing a set of regular activities means using less brain power, freeing up your mind to focus on the more challenging stuff later on in the day.
How to get up early
Start slowly, set your alarm 15 minutes earlier than normal. Do this for a few days and then gradually move it forward 15 minutes at a time until you reach your target time.
Go to bed earlier! Work out how many hours of sleep you need and then count back from your waking time so you know your new bedtime.
Go to bed and get up the same time every day, doing this practice regularly will help set your body clock and make new neural pathways to make the whole process easier.
Do something in the morning that you love, this will give you something to genuinely look forward to.
Plan your morning routine the day before. This means you know what you’re getting up for and you will avoid wasting time wondering what to do!
Quitting drinking is not just about removing alcohol. It is about self care, self love, discovering who you are and developing a new set of patterns, behaviours and routines. In the Sober Bliss program we delve deeply into all of this and more, why not check it out and see if it’s the right fit for you?
How are your mornings at the moment? Would you like to change them up? Let me know in the comments below.