Daily rituals: getting up early to read a book

daily rituals

Sometimes a small surprise or new ritual can be all you need to liven up your daily life. In Issue 33, five people share how it happened for them. Marije van der Haar-Peters tells us how she gets up early to start the day with a book.

What’s your daily ritual?

“I have always read a lot, but about six months ago, I decided to make books an even bigger part of my life. On weekdays, I get up at 6 a.m. and an hour later on the weekend. I shower, get dressed and crawl under a blanket on the couch, with a book. Usually I read for about an hour; sometimes a little less if I need to leave early. The nice part is that it makes me more inclined to reach for my book throughout the day. When I’m on the train, I pick right back up where I left off in the story I’m reading. I used to always do a quick round on social media on my smartphone first.”

Getting up at the crack of dawn — how do you do it?

“I had to tough it out at first — also because I never thought I was a morning person, often went to bed a little too late, and started the ritual during the darkest season. It has now become a habit and I tend to wake up automatically around 6 a.m.; I never would have thought I would be able to. I had already started engaging in morning rituals before this, such as writing in my journal, doing some yoga or meditating, but this usually petered out after only a couple of weeks.

Reading is something I really want to do. It helps that my husband also gets up early to go for a run. At that time of day, there are no interruptions and no one who needs anything from me. The silence is my favorite part, the feeling that the rest of the world is still sleeping. In order to avoid having to constantly watch the clock, and then sneaking a peak at my phone, I set a timer. It’s always strange to suddenly return to the living room when the alarm goes off.”

What is it about reading that you love so much?

“You enter a completely different world, and are able to see into the minds and lives of others. You can completely forget your daily cares for a brief moment. I like to read Dutch and English literature, often based on tips from colleagues or friends. I just finished History of wolves by Emily Fridlund and Exit west by Mohsin Hamid. Incidentally, reading in the morning yields benefits the rest of the day. To-do lists and chores seem less daunting because I’ve already done something nice for myself.

  • Read about the rituals of other people in Issue 33.

Text Mariska Jansen  Photography Nicole Honeywill/Unsplash.com