Mental Health Monday, Running, Yoga

Morning People

I’m a morning person (never, ever, ever thought I would say that). This is coming from the author who stayed up all night until sunrise. Multiple times. Night was my habitat. Until I realized, I was lying to myself. And a year later, I accepted that yes, I was a morning person.

The change started in winter. WHAT? You heard right, winter. Suddenly, the number 6:00 on my alarm clock didn’t scare me. Neither did 7 or 8. It normally meant I was getting up for a run. Or getting up to get a headstart on my writing. So I was excited. Realizing I enjoyed getting up early came later.

But it started in winter. Why? Why?

For one, coffee shops aren’t open that late. And neither is anything else. And it was snowy or icy outside which meant I didn’t want to go out late at night when the ice is at its worst and when it always seems to snow. I needed to run and if I tried during the day… ha ha ha. Not going to happen. Motivating myself to run at noon when it’s still below zero? Uh-uh.

So, I got up early and got it out of the way. Started my day with a fresh run right as I woke up, came home and ate breakfast next to a warm cup of coffee. And I loved it.

Why though did I suddenly like mornings? Why did I get out and put layer after layer on my skin to go run? Why do I think everyone should give being a morning person a shot? And what got me into waking up earlier than I needed to? A lot of things. Really though, I did it for myself.

Storytime!

Well, it’s winter. At least here it is. And that means lots of sunny mornings (and by morning I mean 9 a.m) and lots of trees playing dead. With the sun rising as late as it does, and with the days being cloudier, darker, and colder, waking up is so much harder. Isn’t it?

We wake up before the sun, most of us. We come home after the sun goes to sleep. Throughout our days we don’t see rays of sunshine tickle the leaves of full, lively trees. Everything is cold, dead, and covered in salt. And going outside hurts your flesh. At least that’s how it is in the Midwest. So when we are all snuggled up under twenty layers of blankies, why on Earth would getting up be easy?

Yes, warm coffee awaits. Yes, our bed awaits us after we move through our day. We might even get to see the sun peak around snowy clouds at some point in the day. But it’s just not enough. We don’t get to feel the warmth, drive with our windows down. And we certainly don’t want to go outside on the weekends and hike. Well, except for some of us crazy winter runners and lovers out there (*ahem* we rock).

And I like getting up, it’s exciting, but it’s brutal during a Midwest winter.

But I do it because of what it gives me. The why behind why I get up and get outside early is most important to me.

IMG_20171228_161352.jpg

Most of my runs look like this, but in the dark. Not your idea of a good morning? It wasn’t mine either. Not at first.

Waking up at an early hour, hitting the pavement covered in snow without any music in my ears gives me a sense of self and a sense of nature. Everything is so quiet. There are no cars. Lights flick every few minutes as people wake up. I get to hear the snow crunch under each step I take. It’s cold most of the time, but I heat up fast. It’s magical. And sometimes, if I’m real lucky, I get to see the sun rise over fresh snow, which could very well be the most beautiful thing in the world.

I cherish that quiet. In the summer I run at night or in the morning and each has its own unique silence that deafens me. Even so, there’s something special about a crisp winter morning.

I can’t even tell you what got me into running early except that one night, after years of struggling, my insomnia finally went to sleep. Hasn’t woken up since. Definitely caused by more exercise and less sleep, I was exhausted and suddenly, in bed at 10 pm looked pretty good to me. Of course, I denied this harder than anything else because morning people have a stigma. Stigma being they’re awful and loud. Well I’m loud, but not awful.

Each morning, I get to say hello to the sun in my own special way. Even if I’m not running, I wake up and rip the curtains open (you have no idea how many curtains I go through). I greet the day with a smile and with the absence of technology. When I’m awake, then comes emails and work but first, exercise, coffee with breakfast, and a book.

Since I’ve given into to the beauty of the morning, I have more energy. My days are more productive. I even sleep better. I do start getting cranky around 9 and realize that I’m living the life of an 80-year-old. But you know what? That’s fine with me. Mornings make me happy.

I said it!

IF you’ve stuck with me this long and have not cursed my existence, I’ll challenge you this. Try it. Just try. If you are a night owl through and through, up till 4 every night. You do you. But if not, give it a go. Read up a little on what to do (because being a morning person requires some help in the morning), and try it for a few weeks. Wake up with a smile. Go on, look at the world differently. It doesn’t bite.

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