I Wake Up Earlier Now, and It's One of the Healthiest Ways to Start My Day

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Like many who embraced a work-from-home life this year, I'm learning to make a lot of adjustments. Admittedly, there were some changes to my new schedule I tried that simply did not work. One of them was sleeping in until five minutes before I needed to sign onto work for no other reason than simply because I could.

After several weeks of truly rolling out of bed and into the loving arms of my laptop, I decided I needed to stick to an early-riser schedule, which is more inherent to my body's internal clock anyhow. So I started gradually setting my alarm clock for earlier and earlier. And I began to fill up my mornings with more and more activities well before I even cracked open my laptop. The results left me feeling refreshed and healthier than I've felt in a long time. Here's how.

Switched Up Workouts

Because I've been waking up earlier, I've allowed myself sometimes as much as three or four hours before I need to start responding to Slack messages. This has allowed me to give all kinds of workouts a shot. From HIIT workouts that require serious recovery to tossing on UA ColdGear® Armour Leggings ($50) and running several miles before the sunrise, I've been able to play around with different fitness combos and even switch it up each day and not feel rushed while doing so.

Shift in Mental Gears

This is a big one for me. I had been used to a commute for years and years, but I never realized how crucial it was for my mental health until now. Having even 10 to 30 minutes as the in-between time to transition from a workout mindset to a work mindset has made all the difference in my productivity. Some days, I roll out the yoga mat and do a few stretches as a way to shift gears, while other days, I physically walk a few miles around the block before sitting down for my first meeting of the day. Having the distinction from workout mode to work mode has really shown me the importance of maintaining balance and routine for my own mental health.

More Time For Self-Care

Similarly, I've learned to use some of my newly reclaimed time to improve other aspects of my health. Too often I focus on a workout, call myself healthy, and then say "good enough." But rather than narrowing my focus of wellness, I've opened my mind by adding in some meditation and breathing exercises, journaling, or even taking the time to write down some daily affirmations. I even use this time to fix myself proper breakfasts rather than picking up a muffin at the coffee shop across from my office and calling it a day. All of these little things have helped me embrace an all-around healthier lifestyle.

A Full Day Means a Restful Night

Because I'm filling my mornings with self-improvement activities that benefit both my mental and physical health, I'm more fulfilled by the end of the night. I'm finding myself feeling a little less stressed and a little more willing to let go of the anxieties of the day and gear up for the next day. Although I prepare myself throughout the day for a good night of sleep, I've found it all starts with a healthy and lively morning to set the tone.