Dark mornings are your best friend.
They may feel painfully unwelcome at this time of year, and you may be struggling to free yourself from the weight of the duvet far more than you were able to a few weeks back – but really, you could turn them to your advantage.
We’ve asked various Eloquently Her wellbeing experts and self-confessed ‘morning person’ types, to share their hints, tips and insights with us about using this darker morning window, and managing to feel less sluggish, more satisfied.
1 Fake it First, Thank it Later
You’ve heard the expression about ‘fake it til you make it’? Well, here’s where you’re going to have to start by telling yourself that you really ARE a morning person, and that you do want to be ‘up and at em’ in the early hours.
Getting out of bed before the sun is up can actually wind up making you feel somewhat self-righteous and accomplished, if doing so means that you get slightly more done in your day.
This feels particularly true if you’re in a household where your family are normally up when the sun rises too, so you’re then contending with their noise and presence.
Even if you only use that hour before everyone else to make a peaceful cup of tea, you’ve claimed yourself restorative me-time that you wouldn’t typically get.
2 Sport for Sanity
Okay. So we understand that a morning run feels even tougher in the cold and dark.
But, even if you only make it around the block and are in four layers of clothes and a pair of mittens, that bracing air will enliven your soul and make you feel truly alert for the day.
It’ll be as if you’ve conquered your own Everest, even before you’ve reached your desk or got the kids to school.
Try it for three days and see how it makes you feel.
3 List Lust
If you’re a person who loves lists and likes to feel they tick many elements off by the close of the day, imagine how much greater you’d feel to know you’d ticked, say four, even trivial items off, by 7am.
Make these small tasks which you’d normally be doing in a rush amongst everything else – from sorting washing to filing paperwork, or paying a bill online.
If nothing else, it might mean you start the day with a clear desk!
4 Workzone Sanctuary
When was the last time you were able to write that document or compose that important letter or email without watching social media or communications pop into your feed every few moments?
If you do decide to use this pre-Dawn time to do a bit of work, there’s something truly gratifying in knowing you’re a whole lot less likely to be disturbed.
Take the time to sit focused on the piece of work in hand, and to realise you’re not being interrupted or pulled into another world of office conversation or irrelevant demands.
5 Breakfast is Best
They say breakfast like a King for ultimate success.
And how often do you?
If you’re someone who normally rushes breakfast, how about taking this extra time to prepare your first meal of the day with more love and intent.
Setting yourself up with the right nutrition is the very best choice you can make for yourself – even if it does take a little getting used to.
6 Surprise and Delight
When was the last time you had chance to write a completely spontaneous note for your partner or child?
Could this extra few moments of the day be the time that you’re able to do the thoughtful gestures which you would love to do more – if only you had the time?
Our experts suggest things like lunchbox notes for spouses or kids, or even taking the time to pen a handwritten note to your Mum, because you’ve not seen her for three weeks and only ever manage a rushed text or call between all your other chores.
6 Silent Focus
And finally. Meditation.
Whether you’re fully immersed in the world of meditation and mantras or not, you may find that just giving yourself 20 extra minutes a day, in complete solitude, could be exactly what your soul needs.
Pick a quite spot while everyone else is still in bed, and sit peacefully in a still position, focusing on your breathing and your posture.
Relax. You’re worth it.