A lifestyle blog from a forty-something mum

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Making the Most of Your Day...

We face 25,000 mornings in our lives - so how should we go about making the most of them? This is the idea behind Free Office Finder's #EarlybirdChallenge, which suggests getting up earlier than normal and making the most of some free time. 

The benefits of getting up in the early hours of the morning are enormous. You can make a huge difference to your health and mindset simply by adjusting your sleep pattern. By giving yourself more time in the morning, it's possible to reduce stress levels and enjoy some quiet time. Waking up earlier provides the perfect opportunity to eat a proper breakfast, while exercise will energise you for the rest of the day.

Recent studies by The Daily Mail and The Telegraph showed that a whopping 61% of adults claim to have no free time at all. A third of adults claim to have less than an hour to themselves after work, and many mums have a meagre 17 minutes a day to call their own.

And so, when I was asked by Free Office Finder to have a go at the #EarlybirdChallenge I was inspired to give it a try.

With the clocks changing a few weeks ago and the nights drawing in until the winter solstice on 21st December - by the time we arrive home from work it's already dark. The good news however, is that the mornings are lighter and this presents the perfect opportunity to head outdoors - if only you can resist the temptation to stay snuggled under the duvet and not hit the snooze button repeatedly.
On Monday morning I was up and about earlier than usual and by 7 am I was heading off for a walk in the forest. At 5 km this isn't something I often find time for and, as it's dark so early at this time of year - it's never an option after work. Crawling out from under the bed clothes and heading off in search of fresh air and solitude I'm filled with initial reservations and thinking only... "Ug - it's Monday, what am I doing exactly?"

Despite my negativity, I arrive to find the car park almost empty. It's not properly light yet and there's a residual mist hanging over the trees. Starting the walk in an early morning brain-fug, the more I walk the more clear-headed I become. Normally the local forest is a peaceful place to escape to at any time, but in the early hours it's even more tranquil than usual. I snapped a few pictures along the way...

Early morning light filtering through the trees

Autumn leaves trapped on a fast-flowing stream

Autumn leaf floating downstream

Fast-flowing stream

Multi-coloured ferns

Carpet of leaves in the meadow

And a very cheeky squirrel preparing for winter

I'm at my desk before 9 am and ready to start work after refuelling with a mug of coffee. There's nothing quite like the feeling of having a time out before the start of the working day and this felt guilty, but in a good way. I have to admit that I don't like staying in bed in the morning as this can leave me feeling lethargic. Most mornings I tend to start work early, keep going and forget that it's dark at around 4:30 pm. This means that I'm frequently deprived of fresh air during daylight hours and I guess it's all too easy to hibernate during the long winter months - but spending a little time outdoors every day can only be a good thing. Winter mornings present the perfect opportunity to achieve this.

My walk is a great start to the day and I'm inspired to make the most of getting up even earlier than normal and snaffling this hour all to myself for the rest of the week. Isn't it important to have a bit of me time every day? Isn't this what keeps us sane in an otherwise crazy world?

Everyone is welcome to join in with the #EarlybirdChallenge. Get involved by waking up an hour earlier every day for a week and see the huge difference it can make to your mental and physical well-being. Free office Finder will be tweeting #EarlybirdChallenge material to keep you inspired and motivated. When you have completed your week of early rises, tweet @officefinders using the hashtag #EarlybirdChallenge and share your stories.

Here's to getting up earlier and making the most of every day.

This is a collaborative post in association with Free Office Finder.

Copyright©2014 Izzie Anderton


  1. Wow, stunning photos Izzie. I admire you for getting out of bed so early and going for your walk. I'm still running around like a headless chicken! But I do agree, that if you can find some 'me' time, at whatever time of the day, it's a great tonic. I bet everything was so peaceful and still at that time in the woods. Lovely. x

  2. I'm doing the school run at the moment so there's no option but to get out early - and I've changed my route so that we walk through a park rather than by the roadside. I do love this post - amazing pictures!

  3. I'm not fond of the time change at all. I am more of a morning person than a night person, but I prefer the light in the evenings much more than I do in the morning.

  4. Beautiful pictures. Looks like a great walk and I can how it would be very refreshing!

  5. You captured Autumn so well... with the leaves carpet and that cheeky squirrel! Ah... finally this time of the year :)

  6. What a great idea! I often lie in bed and think about getting up and doing something but usually end up staying under the duvet until the children wake up. The odd day where I get up and do some work, I feel so much better for having achieved something. I love the idea of going out for a walk though as that must make a great start to the day. Gorgeous photos


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