I know last week I already posted about something that has recenty brought more happiness to my every day life (developing myself further through music), but this week I wanted to add something else that has recently added a measure of joy and peace to my life. It sounds so simple, is so easy to dismiss, but yet is such a hard thing for so many of us in today’s day and age (myself included): going to bed early and waking up early.
I know, I know… *insert eye roll here* So lame, you’re probably thinking. I would so much rather stay up later and watch my shows and unwind and then sleep in a little to make up for that. I feel like being a “morning person” is such a rarity these days. Even those of us who are getting up early are simply sacrificing sleep to do so because we’re still staying up too late, and are therefore awake bright and early but not super happy about it, hahaha. I know some people really are morning people though and those rare people can just choose to ignore this whole post if they wish.
I am the last person I ever thought would be singing this tune. I love my sleep and have always struggled with waking up early if I don’t have somewhere specific I need to be. My mom got after me constantly as a teenager for sleeping in past noon on the weekends and during the summer. I preferred staying up late and then sleeping in. It was my routine. I was pretty much the same all through college as well. I struggled the most with my attendance in early morning classes. I would go to those often enought to not fail and otherwise would only wake up that early if I had to be at work for an early morning shift.
I have been blessed to have kids who (up until more recently) also liked to sleep in (well compared to most other toddlers at least). Elijah has always been a sleeper and now I’m guessing Sophia hasn’t been but would just kind of hang out quietly in her crib when she woke up, until Elijah was awake (usually around 8:30 or sometimes later) and they would start playing and making noise. She never cried so I have always assumed she slept in as long as Eli did. Now that she sleeps in a big girl bed though and can just get out of bed and come get me in the mornings I have come to realize that she doesn’t really sleep in. In fact, she wakes up around 7am and then immediately wakes Elijah so now he doesn’t sleep in either.
This has created a bit of a problem as Sophia immediately wants to roam around the house when she wakes up, and get into things. So I recently made the decision that I simply needed to be waking up earlier to prevent these shenanigans. I decided that if I was going to be waking up early anyway, I might as well make it extra early so I had time to myself before they wake up. That’s when I decided I wanted to start waking up at 6 am. I know, crazy right? You’re thinking “6am?!?!? Like every day???” Yup, I am that insane. This has ended up becoming a hugely positive thing for me though and here’s why:
I wake up, I eat some breakfast, I read some scriptures, and then I exercise (all of it in complete solitude, except the ends of the workouts, which is usually around when the kids are waking up and making their way downstairs), OR I wake up at 5am, eat breakfast, get dressed, and go to the temple (only on a day when Alex doesn’t work or doesn’t go in until 11:30 though)– granted, I’ve only gone the temple route once but it was so nice to start out my day that way that I’m trying to make it a once a week thing from now on.
(What my mornings/days were like before) I wake up, disgruntled and grossed out because I can smell poop/pee coming from someone’s diaper or pull-up, with both my kids in my face yelling different things at me about what they want to eat/drink. I am usually somewhat angry because I am still exhausted and don’t want to be awake yet (because I went to bed late). I sometimes find a huge mess or other chaos waiting for me and need to fix it/clean it before I can even so much as have my morning pee. Kids are knocking and yelling through the door (more about breakfast) while I finally do have my morning pee. Then the next hour or so of my morning is all about them. From the second I wake up I have to immediately expend all my energy on others and making sure they are fed, changed, clothed, clean, and happy. I’m not complaining about this, I’m just stating fact. I don’t really have much other time to myself throughout the day either. Even with naptime, only Sophie naps so it still isn’t any kind of rest or alone time for me because I still need to care for Elijah during that time. Then later on Alex gets home and he wants to spend time with me. I am not at all complaining about this either because he has every right to want some of my time too plus I love and appreciate that he wants to spend time with me. I want to spend time with him too. I love getting to spend time with him at the end of the day; it’s the best part of the day. However, it is more of my day that is spent putting my energy and attention on someone besides myself.
What waking up before my family has done for me is give me that time I need for myself. To strengthen, edify, and work on bettering myself, all before any of the people who rely on me are up and going for the day. I am able to fill my cup every morning by focusing on myself, and then I have so much more to give the rest of the day. I am more patient, I am more calm, I am more happy.
That being said, this only works because I have committed myself to going to bed earlier. Like I said before, I love my sleep and can’t function (at least not happily) if I haven’t gotten enough sleep. If I simply started waking up super early while still going to bed late I’m pretty sure I’d be extremely unhappy throughout the morning and day and end up being less patient, calm, and happy overall. So the key here is that I really need to be in bed early if I want to wake up early and have it be a good thing in my life. It has ended up being a bigger lifestyle change than you’d think, but I’ve found it to be so worth it, and that is how I find the motivation to keep doing it.
It’s like the saying goes:
Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man (woman) healthy, wealthy, and wise.
I just wish the “wealthy” part would hurry up and show itself