Depending on how you interpret statistics, it seems that 80% of people check their phones within fifteen minutes of waking up. I imagine them rummaging around under the duvet, growing more frantic if their fingers don’t connect immediately with their precious device. An irrational fear of missing out on something that had happened over night, seems to override common sense. I know this feeling, because I was one of those people.
I’m looking out through my study window down to the river, pondering on those halcyon days before the internet sunk its claws into us. I’d be gently woken by the radio, tuned quietly to a local station while the Teasmade whirred into action. Fifteen minutes of uninterrupted time, before getting ready for work, always put me in the right frame of mind for the day. Nobody would have dreamt of phoning so early, unless in an emergency. An unspoken etiquette wrapped a framework around such intrusive behaviour.
Today’s waking up times are shattered by compulsive tweeting and messaging. Just because everyone else seems to be plugged in, doesn’t mean we have to be. Surely whatever feels so urgent can wait. Count to ten, breathe slowly and let that urge to respond in a flurry of righteous indignation dissipate.
I asked some sensible, grounded people I’ve met since I started my writing life, to share their post-waking up moments. Many are common sense but that doesn’t mean they’re common practice.
- Smile. A new day brings new possibilities and opportunities. John Fish, book reviewer, @TheLastWord1962 I love the idea of smiling the minute you wake up. It releases those feel good chemicals of serotonin and endorphins, lowering blood pressure and heart rate and… it costs nothing.
- Read a motivational quote and reflect on its meaning.
- Make tea into a pleasurable ritual – warm the pot, spoon in the tea leaves, wait for it to brew, pour into a favourite mug/cup. It encourages patience.
- Drink a glass of water. A great tip to start the day from Anne Coates, author of the Hannah Weybridge series. www.annecoatesauthor.com So simple, but how many of us do that on a regular basis? It fires up the metabolism and helps the body flush out toxins.
- Don’t worry about what the day will bring. Reflect on the words of the Stoic philosopher, Seneca. Tomorrow will take care of itself, so take care of today, otherwise tomorrow will take ill-care of you today — thus losing today. If you lose today every-day, you are lost every-day.
- I walk around the garden with my second cup of tea. This makes it sound like I live in a National Trust property. I don’t. It’s a short walk but it’s calming, depending upon overnight slug carnage. Tom Hocknell, Author of The Life Assistance Agency. https://amzn.to/2LrwMWC
- I lie on the floor and breathe slowly and deeply for five minutes whilst listening to soft piano music. Angelena Boden, Author. Life coach.
- I take the dogs into my field of the back of the house, lean on the gatepost and have a fag. Then it’s black coffee time! Charles Evans, Artist, Author, TV presenter, Main demonstrator for Daley-Rowney, UK http://charlesevansart.com/
- I nearly always go outside first thing, wander around, sniff the air and look at the sky. Dr. Andrew K Black, retiring consultant psychiatrist, author.
- I write down my dreams, if applicable. If not I breathe and listen to the birds. Nikki, IT Tech and psychic. Nikki @Daimon Mediation
Tea, (and biscuits), books, walking, wandering, observing, watching the morning news, nature and dogs all featured in the research results. Maybe you do some or all of these things, or you have your own morning routines that don’t involve technology, but if not, you might want to consider the benefits of replacing that small blue screen with nature’s enormous, colourful canvas. If only for fifteen minutes.
Photograph courtesy of Charles Evans, Northumberland.
Thank you to everyone who took part.