Practice: Waking Up
The sound of my alarm clock in the morning used to be like nails on a chalkboard. And no, it wasn’t the tune or the melody I was selecting; it was just the sound of waking me up, in it's entirety. It’s as if this alarm had a latent power over my entire being in the morning. It told me when to get up, how little time I had to get ready, and that I needed get my being out of the door ASAP. I found myself each morning shuffling around my apartment, aimlessly throwing things into my bag (unfortunately, not my lunch!) as I abruptly shut the door behind me, wet hair creating a damp circle on the shoulders of my shirt and all. I don’t think that I am alone here… perhaps with the wet hair in a New England winter portion, but not with the morning rush. We all know this feeling, some of us more than others, and whether we want to face the facts or not, this morning routine is no healthy way to start your day. In fact it sounds like survival mode more than enjoying life!
After my whole adult life of living like this, I started realizing that my routine was unhealthy for me after much too much caffeine consumption coupled with cranky morning encounters. I knew that something had to change. I wasn’t able to blame it on the, “Oh, I’m just not a morning person” anymore. I was sick of feeling like I needed to catch more zzzz’s before I even pulled the covers off my oh-so-comfortable resting body. So a change was in store and I was determined to make this alarm clock my friend (or at least an acquaintance). Ok, so how does one do this overnight, literally? Well, it’s not easy, but I promise that these three tips have helped me succeed and conquer my morning funk, ultimately starting my day off on a brighter note and debunking the alarm clock stigma.
1. Know how much sleep your body needs in order to feel like the best version of yourself. Sleep is a huge, HUGE factor in your mood and just your well being. There are so many scientific correlations between health and sleep. You don’t need to do any reading on that to know that you feel better when you sleep solidly and for the right amount of time your body needs. Also, know that this takes time to figure out. You also may be waking up a lot in the night with can alter the quality of sleep, leaving you restless in the morning after you sleep the quantity of time desired.
2. Give yourself more time to ease your way out of bed in the morning. For as long as I can remember I wanted to maximize my zzzz time, neglecting that morning time at home is vital to set the intention and focus for my day ahead. Giving myself time in the morning to meditate and read makes me feel at ease with myself. This leaves me more refreshed and less reactive when I come into contact with another human being when I leave my home.
3. Set an intention and an affirmation. An intention is a huge part of your day. What do you want to do differently today than you did yesterday? Or what do you want to do the same that you really enjoyed in the past few days? This is really easy and doesn’t have to be too “goal oriented”. One of my intentions each day is to try something I’ve never done before. In fact, I sit here typing with yellow nail polish. I got a manicure and realized that I have never wore yellow polish before! It can be silly and light, but it still makes you feel alive and zealous. The next is to recite an affirmation in your head. It is so important to affirm yourself as we live in a society that needs affirmation from others and listens to our ego too much (that voice that tells you that you aren’t good enough or you look silly etc.) My go-to affirmation is, “I am love”. I recite this three times while I simultaneously follow my breath.
Try these three steps. Whether it be for two days out of your week, and then working up to more until it eventually is just routine. I promise you, that alarm clock sounding will actually make you smile with gratitude for this beautiful life; for this beautiful day that is just waiting for you.