The 5 AM Club: 10 Things You Can Do Before The Kids Wake UpSelena Mills
I said I wasn’t going to do it.
The New Year’s Resolution(s) thing. Usually, it’s a plural, right?
I have but one resolution. It’s rather a biggie, with a few other ones tied in, technically-speaking. But the meat of it is this: becoming a long-term morning person.
You see, last year, I joined the 5 AM Club for a while and, although it was hard in the beginning, I savored those early mornings. I was proud of myself. I was less tired (because I went to bed early and slowly weaned myself off of being a night owl). I got into a great fitness regime. Our mornings weren’t a circus (or, at least, I had more patience when the circus came to town). My morning pre-coffee grumps were at a minimum.
These are good things, yes? Things we want for ourselves as we try to be more patient mothers, right? I know I do.
I want to revive my old pre-day workout routine. I want to become an impenetrable force who isn’t tantalized by the thought of all of those delicious hours after the kids are in bed where I can hang out with the mister, read, write, watch TV or do basically any other adult thing (or VERY adult thing) that doesn’t involve umpteen interruptions, meltdowns, sib fights, bum- and nose-wiping (not my own). At least not past midnight.
I need not be sucked into those glorious, alluring, star-lit hours and get back into my early morning groove. It’s the only way I can fit in the time to hit the mat and the trail.
When Laura Vanderkam, author of the e-book, What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast: A Short Guide to Making Over Your Mornings, was researching how people spend their time in the morning, she found that those who were the most successful in life were those who dedicated their mornings to doing things that they enjoy, revolving around self-care. And studies show, “Morning people are actually happier, healthier and more successful than night owls.” Forbes lays it all out for us with “5 Things Super Successful People Do Before 8 AM.”
My list is going to be a little different, but I’m definitely tuning in.
There’s this nasty (realistic?) voice in my head saying, Yeah right. Good luck with all of that, Burgess.
So. All I can do is make my goals in this regard be known to the Internets and journal my way through. Holding myself accountable via the scrutiny of said Internets and documenting my process over on my personal blog. Tomorrow (January 10), will be Day One. I may or may not post everyday, but I’m definitely creating a 5 AM Club category and even if I post but a picture of my snowy trail or feet to my mat, I’ll share. Perhaps some of you will join me? You can follow along by using the hashtag #5AMCLUBBERS on Instagram. You’ll find me (my account) there, and I’d be pretty stoked to see you there, too. If’n you’re into doing this sort of thing.
Who’s with me?
#1. Give Yourself a Bedtime 1 of 10
This one will be just as tough as getting up early for me--at least for the first couple of weeks. Part of it includes checking electronics at the bedroom door. If I want to flip through something I'd rather be by the glow of the bedside lamp and the smell of paper pages. Or connecting with Trev, instead of checking out my Instagram feed. That will be hard. I love all of the creativity and inspiration that flows through those who I follow, so I'm not going to be super stringent on this, but I may make a time limit on it, or just try and by more aware of how much (too much!) time I spend on social platforms and perusing the internet. If I'm going to get up at 5 AM, I need to be just as rested as I would be if I were to rise at 7 AM. Which means being strict about going to bed two hours earlier than I'm accustomed to every night.
#2. Say Hello to 5 AM 2 of 10There's no motivation happening when one's alarm clock goes off at 5 AM, sleep is far too delicious. This is where that earlier bedtime comes in. The first thing to do at 5AM (at least for me!) is to flip the switch on the kettle to boil water for coffee and drink a big-ass glass of water.
#3. Stretch (Better Yet, Simple Yoga Exercises) 3 of 10
Now that I'm waiting for my water to boil, it's time to yawn, scratch and stretch out like a cat without a child kicking me in the head to wake up or yodelling in my ear to make them oatmeal. All in due time. Mommy first. I've found the gentle, long stretches employed in doing restorative yoga to be a rather luxurious way to wake up.
#4. Find Five Minutes for Mindful Practice 4 of 10
I was never really into meditating or chanting up until very recently. Through the gentle guidance of a very special woman who I spent time with over the holidays, I discovered the beauty of engaging in simple, focused breath and mind and posture-aligning exercises while listening to Kundalini meditation music or classical Indian music (Krishna Das and Bhagavan Das have become favorites). Before you go running for the hills at the thought of this, fine. Do what pleases YOU. Whether it's prayer, or simply being still for five minutes and chilling out, cultivating a small amount of time for mindfulness in your day can really improve how the rest of your day pans out.
#5. Let The Light In 5 of 10
Open up the curtains and let the morning light in. Or, if you're like me and live in a part of the world where the morning sun doesn't begin to rise till around 7:20, open them anyway and take in the serene silence and calm of the beauty that is a dark and sleeping world. If you're aching for more sunlight, get yourself one of those sunlamps! I'm really thinking about getting one, I've heard from a bunch of friends that they seriously do work!
#6. Sip & Journal 6 of 10
You don't have to be a writer to keep a journal. Writing can be a healing, grounding and cathartic experience for us all. I don't have any set guidelines for what goes into my journals, as long as I'm putting pen to paper, things are grand. Sometimes I write out my to-do list for the day, sometimes I go through phrases or paragraphs I wrote down from the middle of the night (I wake up a few times from dreams) or from when I was nodding off to sleep and add to them or reflect upon them and edit them. I get some of my best ideas or streams of thoughts in that dreamy-like state just before I nod off. There are words that I forget if I don't jot them down immediately!
This is the time where I sip on some fine, hot, black coffee in peace--not cold coffee with 10 things to do involving lunch- and breakfast-making, dressing and general childcare to get out the door. I must remember how blissful these few minutes are before anyone else is up!
#7. Get Green 7 of 10
Hop on that smoothie train. I drink a green one each and every day and I can't say enough about how much they improve my mood or what they keep me from stuffing into my mouth when I'm rushed in the morning. A green smoothie based on organic coconut water with avocado, greens (kale or spinach), cucumber, celery, parsley, lemon, apples, hemp, chia seeds and a frozen banana sees me through my early morning workout before I have another breakfast with the kids.
#8. Move 8 of 10
I'm lucky enough to live steps away from some great running trails and I'm one of those crazy people who totally gets off on winter running. I love everything about it, in fact. It's an excellent workout and totally doable with the right gear. Plus there's the rush of adrenaline from feeling like a warrior. Last year, I invested in winter running shoes and thermal, non-restrictive clothing. A kick-ass running play-list is key. My favorite combo has been parking at my yoga studio, going for a quick run around the bay and ending back up at the studio in time for the 6:15 AM warm yoga or sunrise yoga. Either one gets me home in time to spend the rest of the morning with my sweethearts--feeding them and getting them out the door for school/daycare.
#9. Cleanse 9 of 10
Whether I went for a jog or worked-out or did yoga from home, I feel rushed if I don't take 10 minutes to have a quick, hot shower and do something that feels a little spa-like. I created the recipe for this gentle honey, baking soda and coconut oil face scrub last year and I keep making more if it--it's that good. In looking at the 'ole Google Analytics for my blog, it's a DIY that's ended up being one of my most continually popular posts!
#10. Maintain 10 of 10
Ah, the glue. There will surely be days that I falter, and that's OK. There will be nights I stay up late and mornings that I hit the snooze button. The key for me, I think is to keep looking back on this post and taking a few moments for personal reflection when I falter. If I have to get logistical, then so be it. If I have to put my running shoes and yoga mat at the foot of the bed, I will. If I must bribe myself with simple rewards, I will. (New sports bra, a pedicure, Starbucks... whatever.) Creating these habits is the easy part. Maintaining them is where the real willpower will come in. As time goes on, these things will just be.
More Babbles From Selena…
- Holiday In Review: Our Best One Yet
- A Daddy’s Love
- 10 Things I’ll Never Regret Doing With My Kids
- 7 New Year’s Resolutions I Hope My Toddlers Make For 2014
- 10 Ways We Stay Sane With Toddlers During The Winter Break
- 20 Unique Challenges That Parents of Toddlers Face Everyday
Selena is a crafty, culinary mom. Regular writer here and on Disney Baby. Part-time mischief maker, all the time geek. Elsewhere on the Internets … Via her humble beginnings, mastering in general mayhem: le petit rêve