I just bought an expensive, fancy-pants natural light alarm clock. It was kind of an impulse purchase and I’m on a tight budget, but I have no regrets.
You see, I am not a morning person…but I want to be. Oh, do I want to be. The thought of getting up as the sun rises, enjoying a steamy cup of coffee, which I lovingly made with fresh-ground beans and steeped to perfection in my French press; sitting on the front porch listening to the world waking up; letting Devo out to play as I write my Morning Pages; returning to my room, which I have plenty of time to keep clean, to practice yoga and meditation before I shower, leisurely put on my face and dry my hair, make my smoothie with care and do the dishes so I can return home to a neat and clean space….This is the stuff of my dreams.
The problem is, I have spent my whole life avoiding mornings. I snooze for hours. I take a shower and go back to bed for a “quick nap.” I set my alarm as late as is feasible for getting to work on time, and I am rarely on time. Whenever I get the chance to sleep late, I will stay in bed all morning. For most of my life, the idea of getting up before 8 has made me cringe. And yet…
Last year, my big Birthday Resolution was to become fiscally responsible, something that I’m still working on (and will be working on forever). This year, I am focusing on balance. In the past this has meant time-management, balancing work and play, how to get everything done and still stay sane. However, I’m realizing that time-management is hardly possible in this day and age. We are constantly plugged in, absorbing information, processing and working every minute of every day. What has become important isn’t time, it’s energy. How do I balance my energy? How do I choose where my focus goes, ignoring things that are not important, and maintaining mental and physical health? How do I get through a day of work at an emotionally draining job and still have the energy, at the end of the day, to be a well-balanced, social person with interests and responsibilities (and part-time jobs) outside of my 9-5?
I believe becoming a morning person is a crucial step. Having those extra hours in the morning to exist in my own personal space, to greet the day with joy and to set my intentions (and priorities) will add some calm and beauty to my life and increase my energy. Snoozing, oversleeping and sleeping poorly are energy-suckers and can be bad for overall health.
I started this quest in December as I began The Artist’s Way, which demands that you spend 30 minutes each morning writing 3 pages. I did this for the required 90 days and then I slid back into my old habits (for several reasons including health issues and my job, but that’s a story for another time). Then I began researching tactics for arising early, sleeping better, and morning routines. I invested in an ingenious sleep app that, sadly, has lots of glitches so I won’t recommend it here. It helped me calculate the amount of time I needed to sleep and to adjust my bedtime accordingly, which was useful. I got up early for about 2 weeks, and then started bringing my phone/alarm into bed with me…bad idea. And so I have resolved to buy an alarm clock, a fancy-pants alarm that will wake me gradually so I can become the morning person I am meant to be!
I’ll be posting a lot on energy balance, my person quests and resolutions, and the practices I encounter and learn along the way–and I’ll let you know how this alarm works out. If you have any advice, tips or tactics that work for you, please feel free to share!
Follow-up: This alarm clock is dope. It has definitely made waking up less of a jarring and traumatic experience and more of a natural, pleasant part of life. The sunset feature is also very relaxing and helps me as a “go to bed” timer.