We all experienced major changes in our lives because of corona this year. Most of us had to stay at home, which meant no more traveling, social life and activities or work. What allowed me to keep my sanity during the quarantine was to create a morning routine that started with praying fajr. That routine made me feel like I was making the most out of these weird circumstances.
When my routine was waking up late, with no particular plan, dreading getting out of bed and staying on social media for ever, I would feel miserable. I always felt guilty for not praying fajr and I felt like I wasn’t accomplishing anything in life.
At the time, I lacked purpose so if this is you right now, I invite you to ask yourself what is your vision and what are your goals in life. I’ll write an article on this topic as well inchaAllah.
Since I’ve started sticking to a morning routine, I feel fresh and fulfilled, even the days I’m not working. I get to do things for my personal and spiritual growth that I didn’t even think I needed. Six months after starting this habit, it has changed my life and here’s why you should consider creating a morning routine that starts at fajr:
1. The blessings in those early hours is like no other time of the day: when everyone is sleeping, it feels like the world is yours and you can do anything you want. That time of the day has something very peaceful and relaxing about it. Which makes it the best time for worship and self-care.
2. What you do in the morning will determine your mood for the rest of the day. Imagine yourself in two scenarios: in the first one you’re waking up late, you barely have time to get ready for work or school or to drop the kids somewhere, you’re rushing, you’re pissed cause you can’t find anything you need, it’s chaos and it’s written STRESSED all over your face. In the second scenario, you wake up 30 to 90 minutes earlier than everyone, you have time to do everything you need AND more. You look good because you are relaxed and ready to start the day with a positive attitude. In which scenario do you think you’re gonna have a better day? Yep, the second one of course.
3. Waking up early will give you those extra hours you always complain you don’t have to take care of yourself, read, meditate, exercise… You will gain time you didn’t think you had!
4. It increases productivity. Because you feel good, you’re naturally creating an environment that encourages quality work. If you master the skill of organizing your morning, you’ll get better at planning the rest of the day to work more efficiently.
5. Since I started waking up at 6 am and jogging, I’ve witnessed my self confidence go up the roof. When I have doubts about my capacity to do something I tell myself “if you can wake up at 6 am, put your sneakers on a and run, what can you not do Soum’?” and that self talk works wonders to boost me. The discipline it takes to wake up early and stick to a routine will motivate you to do more than you ever thought you could do. You’ll push your limits and will increase what we call self efficacy: the belief that you can achieve goals and accomplish tasks.
6. Finally and most importantly, you’ll do something that will get you closer to your Creator, that will please Him and you’ll be following a sunnah of our beloved Prophet (pbuh). Many hadiths talk about the benefits of fajr and I encourage you to research them and read them to motivate you. But I believe Allah’s pleasure should be enough of a reason to get us out of bed at fajr.
Now that we’ve covered why it’s life changing to wake up for fajr and create a morning routine that feels good, let’s get to the practical part of this habit. How can you start implementing it in your life?
1. Choose the time you want to wake up, set the alarm and don’t snooze! I know it is going to hurt at the beginning. It’s gonna feel like the most uncomfortable thing you’ve ever done and you’re gonna want to give up but I promise you it’s worth pushing through.
If you really struggle to get up early, here are some tips:
– Sleep early, for real! Let go of your phone one hour before bedtime and grab a book. I guarantee you you’ll fall asleep fast. Recently, I was struggling to sleep early again. Then I started going to boxing classes 3 times a week and the problem was solved. I’m so drained afterwards that I don’t sleep, I fall into a coma and wake up fresh like a flower with the athan alhamdulillah.
– Put your alarm far away so you have to get up to turn it off, since you’ll be standing already, you won’t have any excuse to go back to sleep.
– Make dua before bed with the sincere intention to wake up and Allah will make it easy for you inchaAllah.
2. Start with an activity that involves movement: as I was doing research on the benefits of morning routines, this advice came up regularly. SubhanallAh, it’s recommended to start the day with an activity that includes gentle movement, like salah. If you can’t pray, it can be stretching, yoga, taking a walk…
3. Choose an activity that allows you to stay still: stillness is as important as movement in the morning. It allows you to center yourself and set your intention for the day. My salah is always followed by dhikr and dua and in the morning I add 15 minutes of manifestation meditation. This helps me remember what I want in life and what I should do to get it. I start the day with motivation and purpose.
4. Do something that makes you feel confident and beautiful: whether it’s putting make up on, wearing a kick ass outfit or styling your hair, take that time to do something that makes you feel amazing. It will affect the way you show up in the world on that day.
5. Have a mindful breakfast: whether you’re the type that only has coffee or the type that eats a three course meal for breakfast, try to make it a moment during which you’re really focused on the present. Again, let go of your phone and enjoy what you are eating. Notice how it tastes, what it looks like. And practice gratitude as you are savouring your first meal of the day. That positive attitude will bring more positivity to you towards the day.
Of course, those are only suggestions on what you can do. You’re the only one who knows best how the perfect morning routine looks like for yourself. Allow it to start small and to grow with time. Don’t set goals that will be overwhelming and will make you give up.
If you really don’t have time in the morning, a ten minutes ritual is already an amazing accomplishment as long as it’s consistent.
If reading this article has motivated you to start a morning routine, I want you to use this momentum, grab a pen and paper or type in your phone what you’d like to do tomorrow morning as your new rituals. Then set your alarm and do it, start now, don’t wait until you physically can’t wake up anymore. Now is the time to change your life.
I want to know how it goes for you so post your morning routine on your story and tag me @soultysister with the #fajrwarrior on Instagram. We’re all in this together so let’s support each other!