For pretty much the entirety of my childhood and most of my adolescence I always woke up early. I could never sleep in if I wanted to no matter how tired I was. As a young child, this did not bother me. I loved waking up early to go to breakfast with my grandparents or watch weekend cartoons or just play. It wasn't until I got older that it started to bother me. I can remember being at middle school sleepovers and waking up at 8 a.m on a Saturday feeling like a total freak compared to my sleeping friends (who wouldn't wake up until sometime around noon). All I wanted to do was be able to sleep in. It's funny to me that years later this would be the absolute last thing I wanted to do.
As I grew into a teenager everything started to change and I was finally able to sleep in whenever I wanted to. Every single day that I did not have to wake up to an alarm, I didn't get out of bed before 11. Often in the summer or on winter breaks, I wouldn't wake up until as late as 4 p.m. For the longest time, I honestly had no problem with this. I planned my days around this schedule and if I had to choose between doing something early or sleeping, I always chose to sleep. I was still productive, but I was quite limited in what I could do with the time I had. I needed a routine that could balance school, working out, and friends. What I was doing was working, but just barely. I felt so stressed and overwhelmed and I constantly felt like I was running out of time. Eventually, I got to a point where I just couldn't take it anymore. I was going to bed around three or four o'clock in the morning every night and waking up at two the next day. I felt so drained and fatigued and I decided I had to suck it up and make a change.
So I started waking up early; way earlier than what I was used to. Instead of rolling over and checking my phone wondering if it's past 12 yet, and I wake up to an alarm around 7 a.m every morning. Quite the change! At first, it was absolutely brutal to get through. My body was so conditioned to its old ways that trying to form a new lifestyle habit was proven to be challenging. The second I heard my alarms go off it felt like the same feeling you get when you drive to Chick-fil-A on a Sunday; shock and denial. I would lay in bed for over 30 minutes as I just continued to hit snooze after snooze. But as the days went on it got easier and easier and eventually, I snapped back to how I was when I was little and I don't even need an alarm anymore.
Making the decision to start waking up early has impacted my life in more ways than I could've ever expected. For starters I am able to get so much more done in a day; I have so much more time! When you wake up in the afternoon it's hard to run errands when businesses and stores close in the evening. Waking up early introduced me to a whole new way to approach getting things done. It leaves me for so much free time in the evenings that I can use to see my friends or however else I want. I work out in the mornings now as well, which has significantly improved my quality of living. I used to plan my workouts for the evening, but at the end of the day, I would always be too tired to hit the gym. Now, however, I jump out of bed and throw on my workout clothes and make it happen. I am able to enjoy my mornings so much more now and I have such a deeper appreciation for this time of day. I drink coffee, listen to music, read, play with my dogs, etc. By reserving a time first thing in the morning just for me, I am able to remind myself that I should think about myself and my own happiness more often. Its a time of day where I can relax and know that before I do anything, I am taking time for myself and I am so grateful for that.
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