Week 2 of the 'The Great Wake Up!'
It's week two of the 'The Great Wake Up!' experiment and for the last few days I have been spending the first ten minutes of each day outdoors. Every morning I have been taking my cup of tea and simply sitting outside in the garden. That's it. Compared to last week this seemed like a piece of cake, particularly as I had a week off from work. Also working in my favour was the weather, which has been a lot milder than it usually is at this time of year. Whilst I love being outdoors when it is warm and sunny, as soon as the winter arrives you will usually find me indoors sitting as close to the heater as I can get.
Whilst the experiment was an incredibly simple one, I discovered some real benefits. I also realised that it wasn't always as easy as it looked. Sitting outside and doing nothing can be quite difficult for someone like me, who finds it hard to switch off. But overall here is what I found:
I felt more relaxed - there was something about this experiment that helped me slow down. I don't usually get a lot done first thing in the morning when I'm not working, but my mind is constantly thinking about what I need to get done that day. Taking ten minutes out helped me put the pause button on some of that internal dialogue and to just sit back and observe the world around me.
I became more aware - I noticed a lot more, things I had not been aware of previously. I became more attuned to the different sounds of the birds, I felt the wind against my face, I watched the movement of the trees, I heard the voices of my neighbours. All this helped me develop a more mindful connection with my surroundings.
It helped me prepare for the day - I'm not a morning person and it usually takes me some time to get going. So this experiment forced me to shake up my usual routine of generally doing nothing when I wake up. It provided me with some morning structure which is usually lacking on those days when I am not working. And having this structure meant that I was able to start doing what I needed to do a lot quicker than if I had just been lounging about with no particular purpose.
I gained a better perspective - whilst sitting outside and doing nothing, I became aware of the vastness around me. Watching the clouds pass by, the height of the trees, and the birds swooping and gliding overhead, made me realise how big the world around me is. It helped me understand my own significance in the grand scheme of things. It helped me gain a better perspective on some of those 'problems' that my mind always seems to make appear bigger than they actually are.
It appealed to the introvert in me - as an introvert, activities such as this are right up my street. Spending time on my own in this way can leave me feeling energised and recharged and this was certainly the case for me. In the future (perhaps when the days get longer and warmer!) I'd like to try this experiment after a busy day at work and see if it has a similar impact.