10 Benefits of Rising Early, and How to Do It

The other night I stumbled on a great article from the website Zen Habits entitled, 10 Benefits of Rising Early, and How to Do It. Perfect timing, eh?

Leo Babauta, who runs the site, wrote on how he rises each morning at 4:30am and the many benefits of doing so. While I’m definitely not in the waking before dawn camp quite yet, the article did a great job convincing me that it’s something worth working towards. Here are my top 3 favorite benefits from his list, but you can read the full article here:

  • 1. Greet the day. I love being able to get up, and greet a wonderful new day. I suggest creating a morning ritual that includes saying thanks for your blessings. I’m inspired by the Dalai Lama, who said, ” Everyday, think as you wake up, ‘today I am fortunate to have woken up, I am alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings, I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others, I am going to benefit others as much as I can.’ “ Danne’s Note: Is that not the most beautiful way to start a morning, ever? I love this.
  • 7. Productivity. Mornings, for me at least, are the most productive time of day. I like to do some writing in the morning, when there are no distractions, before I check my email or blog stats. I get so much more done by starting on my work in the morning. Then, when evening rolls around, I have no work that I need to do, and I can spend it with family.
  • 8. Goal time. Got goals? Well, you should. And there’s no better time to review them and plan for them and do your goal tasks than first thing. You should have one goal that you want to accomplish this week. And every morning, you should decide what one thing you can do today to move yourself further towards that goal. And then, if possible, do that first thing in the morning.

With that being said, it’s 10am, I’ve already meditated, dressed, eaten breakfast, and now written a blog post—all before checking my email or any other social media sites. This month is really growing on me…

 

Reblog: I Will Always Love Marathon Monday

One year later, I remember the post I wrote about last year’s Boston Marathon bombing.
#bostonstrong

……………

Today was Patriots’ Day here in Boston. Schools and offices were closed to commemorate the first battles of the American Revolution, the Red Sox played their annual Patriots’ Day game at Fenway Park, and 27,000 runners took to the streets to run the world’s oldest and most prestigious marathon:The Boston Marathon. 

I’ve lived in Boston for 11 years, and let me just say that it is absolutely incredible to be here on Marathon Monday. There’s an indescribable energy, a contagious vibe of possibility and inspiration—and usually—a somewhat renewed sense in humanity. To see the dedication, determination, and perseverance that these runners embody never ceases to blow my mind and inflate me with a sense of (probably false) personal limitlessness.

I love Marathon Monday.

This year I woke up extra early and headed over to mile 11 in Natick to join my lululemon crew, where we set up a cheer station outfitted with a DJ, a Gatorade ice luge, signs that said things like“You trained longer than Kim Kardashian’s marriage” and lots and lots of neon clothing (Faded Zap to be exact). We came. We danced (15,000 steps worth!). We cheered. And we had one hell of a time. I felt so happy and full of life when we were leaving that I starting writing a Facebook status update that read: “I  <3 Marathon Monday”, when my phone ran out of battery.

Then, moments later, we received news of the tragedy at the finish line and all of our hearts felt infinitely heavier. How quickly this beautiful day of hope and beauty turned into one of loss and tragedy. And so is life, I suppose…

I honestly don’t have words for what happened, but what I do have are full and rich memories of the 2013 Boston Marathon before the horrific events of the day took place. I thought I’d share a few of my favorite images from today so we could all take a moment to focus on the good of the day instead of the evil—and maybe even to offer a little comic relief (could anyone else use some of that right now?)

The first of the wheelchair marathoners to go by, inspiration is an understatement…

The first of the wheelchair marathoners to go by, inspiration is an understatement…

 

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That time Kara Goucher was 2″ from me

 

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The leaders of the men’s pack

 

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Our signs were a big hit

 

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Especially these 2

 

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Erin even put on her pink suit for the occasion

Thank you to all who reached out today to make sure I was ok. Luckily, I was well out of harm’s way and am home safe.

And so much love to 2 of my all-time favorite ladies, Natascia and Marisa, who both crossed the finish line safely (and with damn good times might I add). xoxo times 10,000

Love to you all and to Boston tonight,
Danne

Last Week = Total Win

While I might have totally bombed the beginning of this challenge, I’m 100% in it to win it now. Not only was I awake by 8am every single day this week (except for today which was my legal cheat day), I was actually up and out of bed before 8am, rising between 7 and 7:15am every morning. Hah!

Before you give me too much credit though, I should mention that I was up so early because I was away in Kalamazoo for the last tier of my yoga teacher training which required me to be at the studio by 8:30am. So yeah, maybe it wasn’t an extra effort to adhere to this month’s challenge for the past 8 days, but that’s part of the reason I chose to do this particular challenge when I did. I knew having to be up so early every day for training would help get me into an early rising routine, which it absolutely did. Now staying in bed until 8 will actually feel like sleeping in—see what I did there?

So, not only am I 11 out of 13 so far this month, but I’m also officially a certified yoga teacher. Success all around!

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I’m a yoga school graduate, horray!

Creative Routines and Early Rising

Last week I saw this post circling around social media and the title intrigued me enough to click: “Creative Routines”

It presents an infographic of various pie charts detailing the daily routines of 16 historically creative people and allows you a glimpse into their lives and personal rituals. While there are many interesting parallels between the individuals profiled, there was one thing in particular that I was interested in reading about:

When did these people go to bed, and more importantly, when did they wake up in the morning and start their work?

If my calculations are correct, 15 out of 16 were up by 8am, with 13 being awake by 7am, and 10 by 6am—and out of 16 people, 13 began work by 9am.

My point exactly. Looks like there’s something to early rising after all…

Image from infowetrust.com

Image from infowetrust.com

 

 

It’s 8:17am and Look Who’s Awake

Me! I had to write a post just to prove that I did indeed drag myself out of bed this morning—very reluctantly, but successfully none the less. Ha!

But so this entry has a little more content than just me bragging about doing something that 90% of the world does on a regular basis anyways, here’s a quote that I read from Swami Rama about waking in the morning:

“So if you really want to discipline yourself and your mind and develop yourself, then the first thing you have to learn is to get out of bed the moment you wake up, and not remain in bed tossing and turning. Rise, wash, and finish your morning ablutions—and then do something useful.”

He’s right, isn’t he? Note taken Swamiji, now it’s time to get at it… 

April’s Lent: Be An Early Riser

It’s only April 2nd and I’ve already struck out twice with this challenge. This one’s gonna be a doozy…

This is almost embarrassing to admit, but because of my nonconventional work schedule…I’m in bed until at least 9am most days of the week. Now, those of you with kids will probably tell me to enjoy it while I can, but I think I’ve been enjoying it a little too much, and it’s become almost incomprehensible for me to imagine being awake before 8am, basically ever.

While it’s amazing to be able to get a full 8 hours of sleep 9 out of 10 times, I’m definitely much more productive in the morning v. the evening, so it makes more sense for me to wake up a little earlier to get stuff done right off the bat rather than luxuriating around the house all morning before finally getting myself together sometime in the early afternoon (when, let’s face it, no one is productive).

So, this month I will attempt to become an early—make that, an earlier—riser. Some of you will laugh that this is even any sort of challenge for me, but let me tell you, it most certainly is. Here’s what I’m shooting for:

  • Be out of bed by 8am every day, preferably earlier, but I’ll start with 8 to ease myself into it.
  • I can only hit snooze once, then I’m up.
  • I will allow myself one cheat day a week to sleep in.
  • No lounging around in bed in the morning while checking email and various social media sites on my phone. I’ve somehow convinced myself that it’s a good way to help me wake up, but all it really does is prolong getting my day started with a useless activity.

And like I mentioned earlier, we’re only 2 days into the month and I’m already failing miserably. Yesterday morning I consciously decided to stay in bed even though I had set a firm intention not to, and today I somehow slept through my alarm (which I blame on the totally weird dream I was having).

But, tomorrow is a new day—as always. I’ll get the hang of this, it’s just gonna take me a minute…

Journaling = Yoga

With 3 days left in my #30daysofwriting challenge, I’ve officially finished my old journal and have begun writing in my new one. While it was a little sad to pack up the old one and put it into storage (I have a big Rubbermaid bin full of many, many old journals that this one will now reside in), I made sure to fill those last few pages with as much reflection and positivity as I could fit, and I’m excited to see what will fill the pages of my new one.

Fanne's been reading and writing a lot this month as well

Fanne’s been reading and writing a lot this month as well

In addition to writing this month, I’ve been doing a lot of reading as well. I’m a virtual member of a book club that my good friend Kim started (which btw is called, “That’s What She Read”, amazing, right?), and I’ve also been working on finishing up some required reading for my yoga teacher training.

In one of my yoga books I was reading about the Niyamas, a list of 5 personal actions and attitudes that yoga encourages us to cultivate. When I got to the 4th one, svadhyaya, self-study, I realized that it fits in perfectly with my challenge this month. For me, journaling has always been a way to reflect on myself and my life. It’s a way to clear my head when monkey mind kicks in, a safe place to express my thoughts and feelings, and one of the best methods I’ve found to figure s**t out.

So, basically what I’m saying is that journaling = yoga. Looks like I was a yogi long before I even knew what that meant…

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 Addendum: Yoga school schooled me this week and if we’re really getting technical about it, journaling isn’t actually considered svadhyaya because it’s focused on the ego and not the capital S Self. Aha! I stand corrected. 

Home Sweet Home

Just because I haven’t been writing on here as frequently this month doesn’t mean that I haven’t been following through with my #30daysofwriting challenge. I’ve missed a day here and there, but have still been writing a ton—it just isn’t necessarily the kind of writing that you share (read: journal entires and book reports). I’ve been home in Boston and on the Cape for the past few days though, and in my journal I started a list highlighting my favorite moments of the trip, which I realized would be perfectly sharable for a blog post. So here goes, a list of things I’ve loved about this trip.

  • Breakfast at Deluxe Town Diner in Watertown right when we got in on Friday morning.
  • Taking a long walk around Castle Island with my good friend Amanda and spending the day catching up over mate and fresh juice from Bee’s Knees Supply Company in Fort Point.
  • Getting pizza and wine with some of my favorite friends at one of my favorite spots, Pizzeria Regina.
  • Catching a class at Underground Studios with my teacher Ben on Saturday morning.
  • Having an epic 3.5 hour brunch with some wonderful old friends at Lincoln Tavern & Restaurant in Southie.
  • Checking out the incredible Nick Cave show at the ICA.
  • Stopping by Grammy’s in Brockton and eating my mom’s famous stuffed shells with my family.
  • Going out to breakfast with Dan and my brother at one of my favorite high school spots: Betsy’s Diner in Falmouth
  • Getting a homemade ice cream sandwich at Par-Tee Freeze, my Aunt and Uncle’s ice cream shop, and visiting with one of my best childhood friends Amy, who’s adorably pregnant.
  • Checking out a funny, 300 sq ft tiny house that’s for sale in my home town at the perfect time of day (see photo below).
  • Taking a nice, long beach walk with Dan and my parents this morning and discovering a cluster of abandoned beach chairs in the dunes that we proceeded to use for a little Spring sunbathing.

And we still have a whole day left. How sweet home really is <3

Brunch with this fine looking bunch

Brunch with this fine looking bunch

My dream house

My dream house

My Dad's first selfie

My Dad’s first selfie, or “salty” as he called it

360 degrees of beauty

Ocean all around

My loot from the beach

My loot from the beach

The Great Journal Switchover of 2014

I think I mentioned a few posts ago that it was fitting to be doing a writing challenge this month because I’m about to finish the journal that I’ve been writing in for the past 2 years—and when I say 2 years, I mean exactly 2 years to the date. The first entry in my current journal is March 21, 2012. Kind of interesting, huh? Does anyone think it’s a sign or has some sort of higher significance? I’ll let you know if my journaling leads me to draw any conclusions about this.

But anyway…it always feels a little bittersweet when I do the big journal switchover. Part of me feels excited to have a clean slate and to not have to tote around old thoughts, and fears, and everything else with me, but the other part of me feels a little sad. Like by not carrying them around with me every day, that all those memories, quotes, lists, and goals that I so fervently put to paper will suddenly lose their urgency and significance. Any journalers know what I mean?

So, what I’ve taken to doing before starting the new journal is to go through the old one and find the parts that still resonate with me—the quotes that stand out 2 years later, the lingering goals that I still have every intention of achieving, the unfinished business that needs to be finished—and I transfer it to the first few pages of the new journal. That way I bring with me what will currently serve me and leave behind what will not.

And so with only 7 pages left in my 2012-2014 journal, this is what I’ve been doing over the past few weeks. Transferring the bits and pieces of the last 2 years that will be relevant to the next 2, in preparation for the blank pages that await.

Old v. New

Old v. New—and yes, I’m a Moleskine girl