Sticking With A Morning Routine

I’ve been hesitant to write this one. This month, I set a goal to blog every day as a way to focus on my mental health. I’m honored so many of you have read these ramblings and I love the community that’s been created in the comment section. I don’t want anyone to feel pain or anxiety, but there’s a weird comfort in knowing others wrestle with the same things. 

I hoped this self-inflicted assignment would force me to take a hard look in the mirror about things I can actually control. I may not have control over the way my brain is wired, but I have the power to go to bed earlier. 

Let’s start by saying: I was never a morning person. Motherhood forced this on me, for sure. In my 20s, I worked evening shifts as a new reporter. After the 11pm news, all the reporters from the competing stations would meet at a bar. (It’s how I met Penn!) We’d stay out as long as they would stay open then I’d wake up at noon.  I loved those long nights and waking up when others were having lunch. 

Then ::cue the ominous music:: we had kids. 


It turns out, kids don’t sleep in. Hell, kids don’t sleep.  One of the biggest triggers for my bout with postpartum depression was the pure lack of sleep. I learned quickly to rest whenever I could. After months (and months) of sleepless nights, eventually we got the kids on a schedule that involved a 7pm bedtime. It was glorious. Others would be tempted to stay up at night just to have alone time. Me?  I happily pulled the covers over my head by 8pm. 

Now, while others have FOMO, the Fear Of Missing Out, I have FOMS: The Fear Of Missing Sleep.

I covet sleep. I have become the person who will not attend a dinner if the reservation is after 8pm. Now that we are the parents of a tween and teen with active social lives, we’re doing pickups from the Friday night football game or after a movie with friends at 10:30PM? What in the fresh hell is this? I’m told that soon they will stay out even later. I have concerns, not for their safety but for my own sleep quality.

Becoming An Early Bird 

In the beginning of this post I said I was reluctant to write about this. I know that my mental health depends on enough sleep, but to fit in all the mental maintenance items I’ve added to my toolkit, I have to wake up earlier. 

It’s become abundantly clear that my day goes better if I meditate, journal, and exercise before starting my mom and work duties. But to do that, it requires the alarm clock to sound at 5:30am. I know this wakeup time is not as early as a school teacher, a nurse, or many people. But for this recovering night owl, it was a struggle. My 24-year-old self is dying inside. 

Here’s an honest review of how it’s been going:

  1. I’ve not hit the mark every day. On nights that have required me to stay awake past 10pm (the horror) I skip the alarm. 
  2. It was ROUGH for the first week. I would wake up, then fall back asleep meditating. I would write about three sentences in my journal and move on. 
  3. By week two I started not to dread the alarm clock. My body needed to get to bed earlier so the kids started tucking me in around 9pm. 
  4. I’m now well into week three and it’s shocking, but I’m waking up before my alarm. The past three days I’ve been awake at 5:25. What is happening to me? 
  5. The early morning workouts have been spotty. Since the pandemic, I’ve adopted home workouts. It’s hard for me to feel like I’m getting a quality workout at 6am knowing I have to be showered and ready by 7-ish to get kids out the door. I think ::gasp:: I need to set my alarm for 5 to give myself time to be alert enough for a workout. 

The results?

It’s so annoying, but it’s really improving my daily life. 

I’m getting a chance to focus on myself before the demands of work and family. My mental health requires me to be a little high maintenance but I think I’m worth it. 

So riddle me this: The people who get amazing workouts early in the morning, how early are you waking up? Right now I’m muscling out a 30 minute Peloton ride or some strength exercises, but I don’t feel like I’m even awake enough to have an impact. 

Also, how much coffee are you drinking?

Be well friends,