This Nearly 2,000-Year-Old Piece of Advice May Help You Wake Up & Get Out of Bed in the Morning

If you're a morning person — congratulations. Seriously, we're legitimately happy for you. The ability to sleep well, feel rested, and then be ready to get going nice and early is a real gift, and you're lucky to be wired that way.

For the rest of us, mornings can be rough. Especially in the wintertime, when it's dark, and cold, and tens of thousands of years of natural selection are encouraging you to stay hibernating so you can protect your genes from freezing off. 

But, of course,  in the post-industrial age, when we no longer have to physically work to procure our food on a daily basis, and we have things like furnaces and alarm clocks and jobs with commutes, you've still gotta get up, no matter how hard it may be.

Last week, I stumbled across this article at Brain Pickings. It explores a selection from the Meditations of the Roman Emperor and Stoic Marcus Aurelius, where the philosopher muses on the fact that it can be hard to get out of bed in the morning. He begins, 

At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: “I have to go to work — as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for — the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?

I admit, sometimes…at 6:00am in January, I kinda do feel like staying under the blankets is what I was created for. But he continues, arguing that even animals know how to sleep, but human beings are created with a “nature” of working with others, helping the world, and keeping it in order. And if you don't live out that nature, then “you don’t love yourself enough. Or you’d love your nature too, and what it demands of you.”

It's a pretty interesting read, and one that, I admit, has occurred to me every morning since I first glanced at it. It hasn't made waking up in the cold any easier, but it has helped me get out of bed and get moving. Whatever it takes.

Read the full piece at Brain Pickings: Marcus Aurelius on How to Motivate Yourself to Get Out of Bed in the Morning and Go to Work