​Can spending 10 minutes outside, first thing in the morning, set me up for the day ahead?

Challenge 2 - I will spend the first 10 minutes of every day outside.

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Can spending 10 minutes outside, first thing in the morning, set me up for the day ahead?

Morning 1: I had just read Jacqui’s post ‘Experiment 2 - 10 minutes outside each morning’, and was amazed, and a little envious, by the insights she had unearthed and the clarity in which she was able to express them. Despite the fact that it was now mid-morning, I put on my shoes anyway and ran out the door eager to begin my first 10 minutes of this challenge in the hope that I too would have a similar ‘eureka’ moment.

Unfortunately, it was not to be. For the entire walk, my head was busy making up fantasies of the amazing insights into myself I would uncover and how these would enable me to turn my life around! Totally failing in the objective of being present in the here and now and attuned to the environment around me.

Morning 2: It’s Sunday and so attempting to kill two birds with one stone I used the 10 minutes outside challenge as the platform to start off, what hopefully will become, a regular weekend run. To better connect with what would be going on within and around me, I turned my music off and for the first time in a long while, ran free.

As a non-runner (I prefer sports where I don’t have to carry my own body weight, except cycling, I hate cycling), running without music is hard. I need the distraction to take me away from feeling the tiredness in my legs, from hearing my own hyperventilating breath and from the voice in my head telling me to stop. Working on connecting, I smiled manically at everyone I came across, appreciated the fact that I was running through woods and parks and eventually came to enjoy the fact that, for a few moments at a time, it was just me and my thoughts.

Morning 3: Monday, the holiday is over and with it the lazy mornings. With everyone back in their normal routine the only way I can hope to make this work is to wake up early and grab my 10 minutes while they are all still asleep.

With a cup of hot water and lemon in hand, I peer out the window into the darkness, hear the wind and rapidly come to the conclusion that I’ll be staying indoors for this one. Making myself comfortable on my youngest play-mat, I try some deep breathing exercises and stretches while I work to clear my mind and become more ‘present’. To be honest though, there is not much to clear as I am still half asleep and my brain has not woken up yet. I finish the 10 minutes, go back upstairs and crawl back into bed wondering about the point of this challenge.

Morning 4: The last morning of the challenge. Waking up early again, this time I do go outside. I look up and I can see the planes in the distance beginning their descent into Gatwick and I admire the colours that herald the start of a new day. I can hear the small river flowing alongside our house and the birds beginning their day. All very promising. However, my mind is fixated on whether my neighbours can see me or not. With my winter jacket on and hood up, standing just outside the closed patio doors in the near darkness, I doubt I present a comforting figure and wonder if they will call the police. With my 10 minutes up I hurry back inside.

Final thoughts: When asked by my husband how it was going, I said I didn’t think this challenge was doing much for me. However, sitting here typing up my experience, I realise, retrospectively, that the constant hum of anxiety that usually hits me the moment I wake up has oddly not been present or at least not as constant these last four days. I’m not sure if it is because I have something new to focus on as soon as I wake up or if it is because I now have those few minutes to actively collect and prepare myself, consciously or subconsciously, for the day ahead. Whatever the reason, I think I may give this one more shot tomorrow.



I currently live in London but having been born in Canada, lived in Nigeria until my early teens and schooled in Scotland, if you ask me where I am from, I will struggle for a quick answer. I am an excellent self-saboteur and use humour and a practiced laissez-faire attitude as a shield to having to address difficult situations properly. The ‘Great Wake Up’ is me, finally trying to step clear of my overdeveloped protective mechanisms, and to start to interact as closely and honestly to life around me and enjoy myself whilst doing so.


Go to the profile of Jacqui
almost 6 years ago
It is so nice to know our blogging commhnity can inspire a little. As you realised I found this tricky too! I find being in the present moment a real challenge! Like you it was good to physically understand that about myself. Still working on it and going outside as often as possible. As for calming my thoughts, I'm trying a yoga class tomorrow which might help!
Go to the profile of Ellen Rowlands
almost 6 years ago
I'm rally enjoying following everyone's experiences so far. :)
Go to the profile of Ellen Rowlands
almost 6 years ago
I'm really enjoying following everyone's experiences so far. :)
Go to the profile of Chris Baréz-Brown
almost 6 years ago
That calmness you described is why I love doing this. Its like a reset button at the start of the day. Glad you stuck with it.