One of the most solid habits I developed, growing up was being an early riser. I am a child of the sixties and in our household – a joint family with my Grandmother, three Uncles, Aunts, my Mother and I – it was normal to be up early. My Gran, Mom and Aunts were up at 4 am to get the coffee started, followed by preparations for breakfast and packed lunches. My Uncles were up soon after and our home buzzed with activity. Almost always, we had house guests who would stay with us for durations ranging from a few days to a few months and sometimes, a year. It wasn’t unusual for family visiting us to assume they could simply come over and stay with us for whatever length of time they wanted. They simply became part of the family and life went on.
We lived in a large house, occupying the entire floor of our building. Each member in the family was responsible for specific household duties, including the children. I remember I would wake up at 5.30 am and after I had a glass of milk, I would help wash the front yard and make a rangoli. Then we’d light the lamp in the prayer room. If you’re wondering why, as per tradition this welcomes the Goddess of Wealth, Lakshmi.
Oh, all those rituals and traditions! It was auspicious to light the lamp at a particular hour before sunrise and we followed a whole lot of them. Then, I would toddle off with my Uncle to go buy the milk from the booth. There were milk bottles back then (I still have an old set somewhere) and we used to love to shave the thick circle of cream under the top and slurrp it! Okay, I digressed!
So anyway, point is – the routine was more or less like clockwork and somehow, comforting.
And thus started my habit of being an early riser.
One habit, I am glad to say, I never deviated from. What is funny is, no matter what time I sleep, I am up at 5 am. I can’t bear to waste those morning hours. They are precious. No doorbells…no phone calls. I get more done in one hour early in the morning than what I achieve during the entire day, sometimes.
On weekdays, I have my own kitchen routine. I get the coffee going and start preparing to cook breakfast and lunch. Of course, I plan what I am going to make the day before and have everything ready.
Again, point is, being an early riser gives me a fabulous headstart to my day. There are days when I slog over a writing project and just can’t find info. Then I sleep over it, wake up early, and start afresh. It all works out.
It could be the mental alertness after a good night’s sleep. I just get more done.
It could be my chat with God, which is fun, I tell you because I always finish laughing.
It could be the routine prayers that make me feel infinitely serene.
Oh, it could also be my fantastic mega-mug of coffee.
Later, when my husband and son are up, I savor my second cup of coffee while they finish their coffee and breakfast. I look forward to those five minutes everyday, usually spent listening to the song on the radio or sharing a joke.
Then at 8, after they’ve left, my work day starts. First, I quickly clear up the kitchen, happily satisfied that lunch is ready and I can get on with my day until 1 pm.
Enveloped by the mild fragrance of cooking mingling with the frankincense in the prayer room, I feel grateful for all that I have.
So what is the big deal about being an early riser?
Plenty of benefits, that’s what.
The day seems longer. If you’ve ever griped about having only 24 hours – I have – try waking up an hour earlier. Somehow you’ll feel you’ve got more time, you’ll accomplish more.
You’ll create time for yourself
As I said before, you feel more mentally alert. This comes from the zero distractions. You can work fast, you can work peacefully.
If you plan the day before, you begin the day with confidence because you know what to do. No time is wasted trying to decide what goes first.
I feel energetic and active. Therefore, healthy.
I start my day drinking two glasses of water. Gets my metabolism kicking in nicely. I also soak some almonds overnight and each one of us eats the soaked almonds, considered an effective memory booster.
I make it a point to eat healthy. Luckily I love salads and all vegetables and fruits.
During vacation time, we try to fit in an early morning walk and on the days we do it, we feel wonderful. But that’s not always possible because my husband works late. So we walk in the evening.
On days I stay up late to finish a project, I make up with a power nap in the afternoon. I read a book and zzzz and wake up refreshed.
I experienced the greatest benefits of being an early riser during my corporate career. I believe it has helped me stay calm and cheerful with an everything-is-possible or nothing-is-impossible attitude. Those days, I would tackle most of my client calls early in the morning. My region had several industrial belts and since factories start working early, I would be there first thing in the morning. My clients loved that I took the initiative to meet them when they were free, even if it was early in the morning, since their “busy-time” began at 9 am. I was rewarded with referrals and I am convinced that my habit of waking early is the secret of my success.
These days, I often get my best writing done in the early hours of the morning – my head is clear, my thoughts flow smoothly. (I am participating in the NaNoWriMo for the third year and am happy to report I am at 39000 words as of today, Nov 8)
I begin my day enthusiastically with a yes-I-can feeling.
So some days I feel a bit lethargic in the afternoon. I use it to catch up on housework with the music blasting and everything’s alright.
I also practice meditation. Just sitting still for 15 minutes is all I do.
Rising early keeps me positive, happy, focused and healthy and stay balanced.
It helps me live a meaningful life.
Are you an early riser?
If yes, why?
If no, why?
Just one more thing!
My friend Angela Artemis of Powered by Intuition‘s book The Reawakening – Guided Meditation is free to download on Amazon for the next three days.. It is a fantastic book and I love it. I am particularly partial to Angela’s soothing voice.
Click the book to visit Amazon to download. Enjoy. And do share with your friends!
A good reminder of my past days!
But Alas! these days am too late!!
Getting up by 6 but ones it was
for some time at 4 and slowly it
went back to 5 and then 6 and
sad to say these days due to the
Late sitting at the computer sometimes
i go to sleep by 12 a m,only able to
get up at 6 a m, I know this is not
a healthy practice, I must re-schedule
my timings LOL
Thanks Vidya for reminding about the
early to bed and early to rise …..
Philip V Ariel recently posted…Hi, Here Comes The First Wednesday Of The Month!!!
Yes. I am a early riser and just like you it was imbibed in me by my mother. I wake up at 5 a.m. and by 6.30 when hubby and kids wake up, I am done with most of my chores and I am almost ready to leave for work at 7.30 a.m. I have also experienced that in tge early morning hours we can get more work done due to less or no distraction. Lovely article this is and the benefits are plenty.
Rekha recently posted…Our Platinum Day of Love
I am more of a night owl and since I am inclined to be awake later waking up earlier isn’t much fun for me.
Josh recently posted…The 27th Biggest Lie In Blogging
I have become more of a night owl. During the school year I am forced to get up early with the kids to get them around for school, but during the summer we sleep in and stay up late. ♥
Kathy recently posted…Goddess of Money
When I was younger and in college and school I had always been an early riser, but somewhere when I started my career 10 long years ago, I kind of lost that habit due to late nights at office. But now, for the past 5 odd years, I have gotten back into the habit of getting up early for a variety of reasons such as the office bus leaving at 6.45 upto six months ago, my little one waking me up at that time, me helping out with the cooking and packing of the lunch boxes, etc. And am truly loving it.
BTW, loved that walk down memory lane that you initially took with this post. Would sincerely request you to please post some more of those nostalgic memories from those Joint Family days. Please.
Jairam Mohan recently posted…Karna – The last few moments
My day starts usually at 6 am. Even if we have a late night, I cant sleep beyond 7. Agree with you completely. There is no better way to start off a day than to wake up early. So much can be accomplished in the early hours of the day. 🙂
Shilpa Garg recently posted…Peace… Finally
Very interesting post. Your rising up early is a boon. I also get up at five in the morning and listen to devotional music on You Tube. But my children( born in sixties) keep sleeping till nine’o clock. Then they are desperate and rush for work. No advice works for them. The next generation(grand children) can sleep till twelve or even one in the afternoon. They keep awake till two’o clock at night.
Usha Menon recently posted…Liebster Award.
Vidya, Oh yes, I am up before the roosters! My alarm is set for 5:30am but I often find I am up earlier. The morning is the most peaceful time and I get the most done. If I miss my coffee and time to read I get cranky.
Julie Barrett recently posted…Some Silly Mercury Retrograde Stories
I have become an early riser with children. Unless I’m unusually tired, I wake around 5:30 AM. I exercise and write, if I have the time.
I love to sleep in the morning time and it has not changed since my three children have come along. I never minded getting up at 11, 1, and 3 to take care of feeding or a sick child, but I have always loved sleeping in a bit. I am a night owl. I have gotten up at 5, or 6 before and I absolutely did get TONS of work done, but that wasn’t simply enough motivation to do it again. 🙂 I am a night owl at heart and that’s the way I am wired. I am envious of all your productivity! Fun post Vidya!
Rae Buchanan recently posted…Gobbly-Good Thanksgiving Crafts for Kids Mini-Series Part 1
Hi Vidya – I’m a pretty early riser – 6:30 more or less but used to be up even earlier before. I think it’s also because of habit and one that was inspired by grandparents who woke up at 4:30. When you’re around people who wake up that early, you have no choice but to join them. There is a magical feeling about the early morning hours and this sense of unlimited peace too. I too am most productive before 9 am. Thanks for sharing the many benefits of early morning efficiency.
I used to be an early riser – not any more – I find it hard these days! But on the days that I manage to rise early, I can do so much more and feel good about it! 🙂
Corinne Rodrigues recently posted…Living Gratitude – A Series
I used to be a late (6.30) riser. One day, I had to receive a business visitor at the airport at 7.30am, so I had to wake up by 5.00. That day, I realised the advantage of early rising. It took some time, but I developed the early rising habit. These days, it’s 4.30 to 5.00 on a normal day, a bit later the morning after a late night.
Proactive Indian recently posted…Are all customers equal? Or are some customers more equal than others?
I am a night owl. But how much I sit through the night, at 6am my eyes just open up. And before that if someone or something wakes me up, then whole day I’ll be in my worst. 6am is the perfect time for me. 🙂
Sheethal recently posted…Their day of Love.
Love the way your story unfolded Vidya, from your mum to welcoming visitors to your early morning habits. In our household hubby is up between 4.30 and 5 and heads off to the gym.
I try not to surface till 6.30 if I can help it! But I do love to get out to walk as the sun is rising and the birds are starting their morningsong. It’s so peaceful and starts my day with joy.
Elle recently posted…How To Stay On Track When Things Are Falling Apart
I, too, love getting up early. In fact my day is so much better if I have at least an hour at home before leaving for work. I’m sleeping much better in my new house which includes sleeping in late some days! While I’m thrilled to be sleeping better, I need to set an alarm so I have an even better day!
Thanks for your reminders!
Betsy/Zen Mama recently posted…A Little Bit of Satori Everyday
yes I too am an early riser typical habit of our kind of families and it sure has kept me in good sted all along my life I am so used to that even when sick and asked to be in bed rest I wake up before 6 get fresh light the lamp offer my prayer and then lie down again but wake up I must whether i go to bed early or late the biological clock is set and thats it.