It is 530AM when my alarm rings. It is just 30 minutes earlier than normal, but I feel distinctly bleary eyed. Even the cat seems a little thrown off by me getting up at this time. I make tea in my to-go cup and freshen up. I throw on 2 layers of clothing, a fleece jacket and a windbreaker, top it off with a hat, scarf and gloves and out the door I go. I am going on an adventure. I am headed out to find the Vikings.
The Vikings are a group of (mostly) men that take a dip in the sea at 6 AM as their morning ritual. As you might have gathered from the first paragraph – it is cold here in The Hague this time of year. My weather app stated it was 1C but feeling like -5C.
Ah yes, the Vikings. I think of burly men that are pounding themselves on the chest whilst saying ‘har har har’, with long wild hair and basically looking like Aqua Man. Let’s be honest, venturing out on a cold and deserted beach in the middle of winter isn’t something that’s normally high on my list but my curiosity for this group (and the potential of a bare-chested Aqua Man) made me set my alarm
I walk over to the beach, almost slip due to icy sidewalks and find myself walking on a deserted beach boulevard. A municipality worker is emptying waste bins, and I ask him if he knows where to find this group of ‘Vikings’. He says that he hears screams from one particular side of the pier most mornings. Hmmm – screams. My vision of Aqua Man begins to slowly dissolve. Whilst I am muttering to myself that this is a very silly idea, I spot a group of men and one woman making their way down to the stairs leading to the beach.
I am greeted with enthusiasm and whilst we make our way to the sea, I hear their story. Like the ‘IceMan’ Wim Hof, they believe this morning dip is the best way to start your day. First of all, it makes them get up early in the morning (some of them live a 30 mins drive away) and thus they need to go to bed early too. Performance coaches have long tried to impress upon people that going to bed between 930 and 10 PM and getting up at 6 AM gives the optimum sports performance. Secondly, when they get home, they feel that they have done something healthy whilst they still have their whole day ahead of them. That is what Robin Sharma with his 5AM club says too. Thirdly, they love this little community. Especially in corona times we lack social contacts, and this is a short, snappy and safe way to get some joint experiences in.
They get into their swimsuits and start to egg each other on. There is some hollering and hooting – then they make their way into the North Sea. Whilst they dip, I sip my tea and watch the ocean. When they come out, they add that the moment they walk off the beach is the best moment of the day. They are fully awake and ready for their day. I turn away when they re-dress and we walk up to the boulevard to have a coffee. I brought cookies. They ask me if I might join them tomorrow or next week. I have to say I am tempted – but like probably most of you I find it hard to make this commitment. Even though it is just a ten minute walk the whole thing takes at least 45 minutes and I am not sure I am willing to invest that.
It’s a juggle it’s a struggle – this is why I want to offer you 5 quirky ways to start your mornings. Who knows, this might just become your thing?
- Physical – take a dip in the sea or take a cold shower for 3 minutes.
- Mental – join @workingsilence on Instagram and join her 60 mins morning ritual
- Physical – do the 5 Tibetans – 15 mins stretch, strengthen yoga ritual.
- Mental – start your day with intent (download our checklist).
- Physical – download The Breathing App and spend 5 minutes aligning your breath.
If you want to learn more about how to master your energy, register for our Work On Your Terms program or our specialized Energy Management Lab (no stress, it isn’t an obligation to buy!) so that we can let you know when that is live!