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!