I want to become an early riser, but why, oh why, does it have to be so excruciatingly painful?! I suppose there’s irony in the fact that I’m an early riser no matter what, simply by virtue of the fact that I have two little people who wake up predictably before 7:00 every day, yet here I am wanting to push that back even further. That’s just the price of quiet alone time in my life.
When my alarm goes off at 5:30, my bed has never felt warmer or softer than it does at that very moment. My husband’s body is like a non-stop hot water bottle that emanates heat from the other side and keeps me toasty all night long. It takes every ounce of self-discipline to leave the duvet, pull on some warm clothes, and tiptoe down the creaky stairs, praying that my kids don’t wake up. Once I start the kettle and wash my face, I’m happy to be up, but it’s just getting to that point that’s really hard.
Why do I want to torture myself in this way? Because I accomplish things! My mind is relaxed, open, alert, and there’s total silence all around. Creative thoughts seem to flow more easily early in the morning, as I sip my tea, wrap my legs in a cozy blanket, and meet my deadlines for Parentables first thing, without letting them drag on into the late morning. I also like being up already when my kids get up. Since my baby has recently been weaned, there’s no awkward “keep-the-boob-away-from-him-or-he’ll-want-it” while cuddling in bed.
I really liked this article written by Katie Morton called “Thoughts on Becoming an Early Riser: Plus 4 Tips for Getting Up Early.” She writes how establishing her dream lifestyle requires sacrifice. The rest of the world has to get up when they don’t feel like it, so why wouldn’t she if it makes a big difference in how her day goes? I can relate because I’m lucky enough to do my own thing at home, but still require discipline to make it worthwhile. The fact is, if I don’t get up before the kids to write, then pretty much the only time I get is in the evening, when my brain is noticeably slower and more tired than it is in the morning. Morton offers four excellent tips for getting up early:
1) Get Rid of a Set Bedtime
Allow yourself the flexibility to go to bed when you’re ready to sleep, instead of tossing and turning pointlessly forever. That being said, going to bed at a reasonable hour (i.e. before 11, for me) makes getting up early much easier.
2) Cut Back on Caffeine
Well, I don’t entirely agree. I need my cup of coffee in the morning, but I wait till after breakfast to have it. A hot cup of tea hits the spot first thing.
3) Read before Bed
This makes sense. Studies have shown that looking at screens before bedtime inhibits one’s ability to fall asleep. There’s less of a transition from lights-on to lights-off, and you can also make a dent in your reading list!
4) Nap if you feel the urge
I do this on an almost daily basis — nap when the kids go down at 1 pm. I don’t know what I’d do without that nap. Even if it’s only 10 or 15 minutes that I sleep, I feel rejuvenated and energetic enough to face the rest of the afternoon
By writing this post and making my intentions public, there’s a degree of accountability that hopefully will help me stick to my resolution. I want to get up early at least three mornings out of five because it makes me a more creative, efficient adult. We’ll see how it goes…