It is officially that time of year again: we get to turn our clocks forward and “gain” an hour during the day. Many people are excited around this time because the days officially get longer, and it perceivably gives us more time to accomplish things within a day.
Believe it or not, where I’m from – a small town in northern British Columbia, Canada, called Fort St. John – we never had to change our clocks. Daylight savings time doesn’t and never existed there. I had heard of it before, but never really gave it much thought. It was after I moved to Toronto and 2010 and my former boss was giving us a speech about how we had to make sure to change our clocks and that any excuses for forgetting and showing up to work an hour late would not be accepted. I was excited, “So you mean we get a whole extra hour in the morning? That’s awesome!”
To which I was responded to with a witty, “Well yeah, but don’t get too excited because that’s an extra hour you’ll lose in the fall.”
Many people are excited for this event often referred to as “spring forward,” because to many it represents a whole extra hour of sleep before starting your day and heading off to work or whatever your morning ritual may be. However, maybe it’s time to rethink our perspective on this event. What if instead of looking at this as a perfect excuse to sleep in or laze around in bed, we saw it as a gift from Mother Nature to start waking up an hour earlier each morning and engaging in an enriching, mindful practice to give ourselves some much needed care and attention?
There is a lot of power in a ritualistic daily practice, and often times we are quick to brush these things off by saying that we have no time. If that is typically an excuse you use, then daylight savings time is the perfect opportunity to drop the excuse and get started.
Benefits Of Waking Up Early
- Waking up early gives you the benefit of silence. Since most people aren’t early risers, you can enjoy some nice and quiet peace of mind. No cars, kids yelling, music blasting, construction, or whatever it may be. This is a great opportunity to experience the silence and bask in that stillness. If you’re interested in meditation, this gives you a great opportunity to practice mindfulness.
- Sometimes waking up early can translate into increased productivity; the earlier you’re up the more time you have available to get any tasks completed without the many distractions that we encounter during the day.
- Doing this gives you a positive start to the day. By getting up early you are thereby creating more time to do something good and positive in the morning, and this is a great way to start the day. Meditation, exercise, yoga, a walk – whatever it is sets your day up on the right track. Imagine the difference between little time to spare, rushing to get ready, and heading out the door to grab a coffee at a drive-thru before getting to work versus having ample time to quietly and calmly do a yoga routine and some deep breathing, make a healthy smoothie or other breakfast, and gracefully head out the door to work. Which do you think will give you a more productive and focused start to your day?
- Speaking of breakfast, getting up early gives you the time to actually have breakfast, and ensure it’s a healthy one. You will have more time to prepare something to bring with you, or even have the time to sit down and slowly eat and thoroughly enjoy your meal.
- If you are up early, you can “vision set” the day ahead. This involves visualizing what you want your day to look like and what you would like to get done. You can write down the tasks at work that you would like to have completed and any personal tasks or mini goals for yourself. Here you can also write down a daily affirmation that you can recite to yourself each time you check out your sheet and cross another task off the list. You have to admit, crossing stuff off a list feels pretty darn good!
- By getting up early, you are renewing your willpower each morning when you wake up. So you are starting your day, every morning at peak willpower! This can come in handy down the road for other things that may require some willpower, such as starting a new exercise program, going for a run, quitting sugar etc.
Tips For Waking Up Early
- Luckily, if you start this new ritual of early rising with this upcoming daylight savings time change, then it really takes the hard part out of the equation. You’ll simply get up at the same time you normally would except you will have a whole other hour to use! That’s why this is the best time to start this transition. It allows you to do this naturally, instead of making a drastic change.
- If you are waking up early, chances are you will feel tired earlier in the evenings. Go to bed when you start to feel tired. Don’t stay up to watch that show if you are already tired and ready for bed. Listen to your body.
- If you struggle quite a bit with hitting the snooze button, which you should definitely try and stop, you can try a little trick I learned. Put your alarm clock across the room so that you physically have to get up to push snooze. After all that, hopefully you just decide to get up for the day and not hop back into bed.
- Have something to look forward to getting out of bed for. At first this may be tricky, but eventually once you start to notice and feel the benefits of your morning ritual, you will be excited to perform them every night before bed and upon waking in the morning.
What About When We ‘Fall Backward’ Again?
Well, yes this is the inevitable: you will lose that extra hour you gained. But, hopefully by this time you will have fully reaped the benefits of waking up early that you will want to challenge yourself to keep it going, even when you technically lose an hour. The great thing is, come springtime you will be given another gift of the extra hour. Maybe it’s time to wake up even earlier, or just enjoy it however you wish.