I once wore my PJs to Uni.
It’s OK. I did throw a huge coat over the top of them and probably some wet weather over trousers as well, since it was snowing. But it does demonstrate the thing I’m having trouble getting my head around this early morning.
I’ve not always been a morning person.
I’m the kind of person who enjoys night shift. I love writing at 2am when the world is so quiet I can actually hear my own thoughts. I find inspiration in the night world that I sneak peek when I’m travelling through the night, on trains, planes or buses. At Uni I was definitely the Queen of the 3am confessional. It’s amazing how willing people are to share their deepest darkest secrets at that time of the day.
I am the personification of night owl. Without the feathers and the wisdom.
Imagine how horrified I was to read recent research that suggested that morning people are not only healthier, fitter and slimmer (must be all the bran flakes!) but more productive as well!
As a lifelong night-owl am I doomed to the reject pile?
I’d heard the mutterings about sleeping well and getting up early being related to maintaining a healthy body weight, but dismissed them as diet nazi propaganda, quite possibly distributed by PRs for the bran flakes companies. Not only were the diet nazis determined to ruin my life by outlawing wine but they were intent on outlawing sleep, as well!
As for exercising first thing in the morning – Nike said ‘just do it’, NOT ‘just get up out of bed and do it’.
I was also horrified to read the research because I feel I’ve done my time in the early morning pergatory when the kids were little. Surely it’s my time now! Son used to wake extremely early – no matter what time I put him to bed – and when daylight saving didn’t happen in Brisbane he would be up and chatty at 330. AM!
For 9 years or so I would get up early irrespective of what time I’d managed to get to bed, or how many hours’ sleep I’d managed to grab. I’d be the one dozing off as I fed my daughters. Or the Mummy sitting glassy-eyed on the couch in the sexy splendour of the towelling dressing gown whilst Miss Fliss tried to encourage me to join in with her 5am tea party. “I made lollies for breakfast Mummy. Mummy. Look!”
Then for another six years or so I was the one who got up to hustle the kids out of bed and into school uniform and onto the bus, at sparrows’ fart. I was the one who would remember the book bags and the lunch boxes and the money for the bus, and the pipe cleaners for the art project, and the £20 fund-raising chocolate money.
So you would think that now that all three kids are teens and able to get up and get ready for school on their own, combined with my working from home status, that I would be finally allowed to stay awake until God dozes and sleep in late.
Apparently not so. I have been woefully wrong.
The good news is that apparently you can change your behaviour, and fake it like a morning person until you make it. You can change the habit of a lifetime, with will-power and steely determination. The kind that requires you to sleep in your running gear so you won’t miss your early morning run.
So, recently I have been trying. Despite the men in the house both sleeping in till 9am (at least. Sigh!) I have been getting out of bed at 6am ( OK more 630/700 am) to sit downstairs cradling a cup of coffee – the early morning choke to my slothful engine – and attempting to be mindful.
I walk directly past the dinner dishes still on the bench from the night before (don’t get me started) and plonk myself on the couch where I ignore the enticing stand-by allure of the TV and its Breakfast Show inanity. I close my eyes and make silent come-on calls to ‘mindfulness’.
How do I feel? What colour am I? What shape am I? Am I a tree in blossom or a tree without leaves?
(Hell, it’s 6am, I’m a tired bloody tree!)
I take a sip of my morning coffee and mindfully try to taste the bejesus out of it, but my mind gets distracted by word pictures.
Is it nutty and caramel-y or chocolate-y? Is there such a word as chocolate-y? God above your English is bad, and you say you have a degree in English Literature…
I then berate myself for ten minutes, after which time I start to doze off.
And that’s when I realise something important about Mindfulness – you can only be mindful when you’re awake!
I’ve realised something about early mornings too. They say that you should reserve activities you really love for your early morning routine. This morning as I sat on the couch attempting to meditate and be mindful I realised something – the activity I most want to do..the activity I don’t want interrupted by emails and phone calls and the day’s business..the activity that matters to me, keeps me whole and sane and able to rise again another day is this:
Do you believe the research that morning people are more productive, effective, and downright more attractive? Is it possible to turn yourself into a morning person?
Answers in the comments below, but do it quietly please – I’m working on my sleep!