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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at York U chapter.

There’s a saying that we’re all given the same 24 hours. As my life got progressively busier, I found myself feeling less that way — hours slipped by me and I rarely found time for myself anymore. At first, I blamed it on having to juggle all of my commitments. As a student, time is money. It was a luxury to have a schedule that allowed me to have time for myself, one that would prevent a burnout. But then, I came across a book called “The 5 AM Club” by Robin Sharma. It changed how I looked at my schedule, and my life overall. 

I didn’t follow the book word for word, but it did encourage me to adhere to my New Year’s Resolution to wake up at 5 am every day. Come March, this resolution is still going strong. I know what you’re thinking — a 5 am routine sounds ridiculous. Brutal, even. It was hard initially, but after all, Rome wasn’t built in a day. There are ways you can change your sleep schedule, like waking up 30 minutes earlier than you normally do each day and compounding it until you reach your desired wake up time. 

So, how did a 5 am routine impact me? 

  1. It helped me connect to my higher self

One of the reasons for  burnout is a lack of time for yourself. Setting aside time for your own needs is crucial to maintain your sanity. It’s especially important when considering the different stressors that keep appearing throughout your day, plus university life  isn’t easy either. When I started waking up at 5 am, I finally had a blissfully uninterrupted hour to myself, before I got started with my day. The silence of the early morning helped me meditate peacefully and with more clarity. My previous routine did not allow me to connect with my higher self the way that a 5 am routine did. Before, I used to jump straight out of bed, and check my phone while I got ready for work. I hadn’t realized how anxiety inducing my routine had been until I had an hour to myself every morning. 

Connecting with my higher self helped me become far more self-aware. In doing so, I found myself becoming more resilient to the challenges of the day ahead. I was less reactive to unpredictable occurrences. Not constantly living in a heightened state brought more clarity to my thinking, which helped me get better grades.

2. It helped me work towards my personal goals

 One of my goals was to read more books and workout more frequently this year. I wasn’t able to incorporate these practices into my routine last year as effectively, because I was constantly struggling to find free time into my schedule. After I started waking up at 5 am, I was able to put aside time for my reading. Robin Sharma’s recommendation was to  split your morning into 20/20/20. This means spending 20 minutes for each  activity you want to do. For me,  hose activities were yoga, reading and journaling. This will gradually compound into more reading and exercise than last year.

3. It helped me to sleep better

This is a little ironic, given that I wake up super early now. But a 5 am routine will only be sustainable if you are not depriving yourself of sleep. Because I was determined to keep waking up at 5 am, I slept earlier than I usually did. Going to sleep earlier meant that I had to incorporate practices that I didn’t have before, like cutting down screen time half an hour earlier before bed. I had to make some sacrifices, but in hindsight, those things didn’t matter that much in the first place. I had to reflect on what I prioritized the most and what choices I could make to reflect that. I stopped saying “yes” to everything for the fear of missing out (FOMO) and said “no” to the things that didn’t align with my values, guilt-free.

My overall takeaway from having a 5 am routine is that all my small practices compounded into a better quality of life for me. It was no easy feat, but what’s important is finding a routine that works for you.

Final year student studying Psychology, Medical Anthropology and Statistics. I am passionate about health and wellness. Writing is my catharsis. I love spending time with my cat while curling up with a good book. I love to study financial markets for fun. I play video games, occasionally.