This time last year my stress levels had reached critical mass. I have always packed a lot into my life but starting a new part time university lecturing role on top of working on the Nicky Rockets brand with my husband, running the vintage Pamperbox, writing and of course being a mum meant I felt ragged around the edges.For the first time I questioned whether portfolio working was still a good fit for me.
I was permanently exhausted and yet the quality of sleep I was achieving was awful. I would toss and turn in bed, unable to drop off, eventually succumbing to watching something on netflix until 1am (sometimes even 2am) and then 7am when the alarm went off I would feel awful.
My husband Nicky has always been an early riser. He also sleeps like a baby and I would lie watching him gently snoring and wish I was a "morning person" rather than a "night owl"
During a particularly gnarly time when I had quite a few writing deadlines and some university work to mark he suggested that just for a week or so I get up with him at 5am.
At first I thought he was insane but given my schedule and the fact that I effectively have to down work tools at 3.15pm every day to collect my daughter from school thought I would try it out.
Like most people the thought of getting up so early actually slightly scared me,my only experience of being up and at them before sunrise has been when I go on holiday and of course when I worked in TV as a director I would have to get up ridiculously early to be on filming sets but I never adjusted my sleeping patterns so these were examples of enduring an early start and fueling it with sugar and caffeine.
I wont lie the first few days were hard. I felt physically sick. It seemed as if I had literally just shut my eyes and now here I was getting up again.I think if I hadn't told myself this was a short term plan to get me through a pile of work I'm not sure I would have managed even the first week.
Except... I did get through the first week and after two days of being exhausted i was in bed by 10.30pm.Rather than watching hours of TV and playing on my phone I was fast asleep, a deep uninterrupted sleep which meant when i woke up I felt really invigorated.
I started to look forward to the magical hour between 5 and 6 where the world gently snored but I got to sit quietly with my coffee and plan my day.
My mountains of work decreased as by 7am I had already made a healthy inroad into unanswered emails, writing work and university lesson planning. This in turn meant that I wasn't constantly feeling anxious about the amount I had to do.
Interestingly what has also resulted from this new habit (and it has now become a habit) is that rather than just cramming more work into my schedule I have actually been able to take the time to work out what I need to step away from.
My time was so busy before I was the definition of a busy fool, giving each activity equal status and attention rather than acknowledging that somethings just can't figure in my life as I have neither the time nor the inclination to invest in them.
Researchers claim it takes 66 days to hard wire a new habit and I would agree that it took a couple of months for my new wake up time to become the norm but now that it is I feel almost evangelical about its benefits.
Having always assumed I was a night owl I have learnt that my maximum performance time mentally is actually earlier in the day and that an earlier bedtime is essential to facilitate this.
The benefits of this new small but mighty lifestyle choice have been amazing including:
- My moods have felt more leveled out and I have felt less general anxiety
- My creativity has increased tenfold as I now feel I have thinking space
- My skin and general appearance has improved as I am getting such a good quality of sleep
I understand this approach may not be for everyone but once I joined the "5am club" as its called and looked into it more I discovered that its a practice used by many of life's high achievers.Politicians, business people, writers who all find getting up at 5am gives them a feeling of control and sets them up for a day of focus and purpose.
It's been a game changer for me and if you are feeling overwhelmed, your "To do" list has become a novel and you are permanently tired but can't switch your brain off enough to sleep I could recommend it more.
A few months into this new routine I discovered a writer and motivational speaker Robin Sharma who is also a devote of the 5am Club and has loads to say about the benefits so if you are interested here is a video he has made about it.
Will you be setting your alarm at 5am tomorrow?
JANUARY SALE over at Nicky Rockets-Only a few days left!
We need to make room for new Tshirts in 2015, so we are having a MASSIVE sale on 2 of our designs. This years Halloween Tee is now only £5, while the amazing 'Mutiny for her Bounty - You gotta ask before you touch my booty' Tee is an amazing £7. There is limited stock, and they won't be reprinted once they are gone, so come down and grab a bargain -www.nickyrockets.com
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