What I know is that if I am over-tired and run-down, without time for myself to fill my well, I easily feel overwhelmed and I end up a hot mess! A hot mess who merely survives moment-to-moment, relying on adrenaline and unhealthy food choices to keep going. I end up living in a pattern of rushing from one thing to the next, my mind barely able to keep up with all that is buzzing around inside it. Then, when I finally lay my head down and turn out the lights, my brain, that has been in over-drive all day, kicks it up another notch. Meanwhile, my beyond exhausted body, can’t move. This causes me to toss and turn all night, only getting bits and pieces of sleep. In between sleep, I lie awake, while my mind cruises through thoughts a mile a minute.
This used to be how I lived my life, a hot mess. In fact, I had lived like this for so long that I had no idea life could be any different. I’ve learned that living in this pattern makes me feel miserable. It makes me feel as though I’m not in charge of my life. Like I’m just floating through, going from one thing to the next without a destination. Nothing feels really good, everything is always just OK. It becomes nearly impossible to be positive about anything. In a nutshell, living as a hot mess sucks the life out of me.
So how do I eliminate ending up in that old pattern? The old pattern that I know is my default, survival pattern?
I rise up one hour earlier in the morning. Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? Get up earlier to feel better and not feel over-tired, run-down and overwhelmed? I know, it sounds crazy. And I also know it works!
There is no better time of day to find the quiet, uninterrupted time you require, than first thing in the morning.
Over the years while I have been on my own Live Well Journey, I have tried to find the best time of day to give myself what I call, Time for Me. Time for Me is an hour of blissful, sacred time, where my intention is to be alone and fill my well. During this time, I focus on breathing and meditating. I go for a walk and I write. This morning ritual is one that I require on a daily basis.
I learned long ago the deep truth in the statement, ‘You are only as good to others as you are to yourself.’ I now know that I can’t possibly give my best self to those I love, when my best self is buried deep underneath my hot mess self. And to be my best, I must be living with a well that is full. Not half or three quarters full, it needs to be full to the top.
I’ve tried to have Time for Me at different times of the day, and have only found success in the early morning hours. This is because there are no distractions early in the morning. It was far too easy to get distracted later in the day with the demands of life surrounding me. I learned that I was a master at putting Time for Me off for another hour to get something else done first. Only to have that hour turn into two, then three and four, and so on. Then before I knew it, the day is over and I was exhausted. I would promise myself that tomorrow would be different, and guess what? It rarely ever was.
I spent years resisting Time for Me early in the morning. I certainly wouldn’t call myself a natural early riser. In the beginning, when it felt impossible to get up one hour earlier in the morning, I made the decision to make a mental shift. Rather than groan and complain about having to, ‘Get up one hour earlier,’ I changed my thinking. I now believe I am, ‘Rising up one hour earlier, to greet another beautiful day that I have been given.’
Our thoughts and the words that we choose to speak are powerful! ‘Getting up one hour earlier,’ sounds and feels like a chore. ‘Rising up one hour earlier,’ sounds and feels so much easier and actually doable. And attaching, ‘to greet another beautiful day that I have been given,’ adds the feeling of gratitude. That coupled with using words that feel good, contribute to rising with ease, rather than labored aggravation.
With this mental shift and with my continued commitment, I have come to love the early morning hours. In fact, I would even go so far as to say, ‘It’s my favorite time of day.’
It’s the only time of day where it's possible to have an hour of uninterrupted time all to myself. And there’s no other time of day quite like it. (And just so you know, when I talk about ‘early morning hours,’ I mean before 6AM). The house is so quiet and still, you can hear a pin drop. The chatter of my children has yet to begin for the day. Even our cat remains curled up on the sofa, not yet ready to see me for cuddles.
When I head out the door for a brisk walk to get my energy moving, the only sounds I hear are those coming from nature…..The sweet melody of birds talking to each other and a woodpecker pecking in the distance. There’s no traffic or horns honking, no dogs barking or children crying. No sound of skateboards rolling along on the pavement. It’s peaceful.
What I see around me is the beauty that Mother Nature provides. The AWE-some display of colors that fill the sky as the sun begins to rise for another day. It's breathtakingly gorgeous!
The early morning hours provide a feeling of simplicity. A sense of calm before the hustle and bustle of the day begins. It feels as though the city has yet to come alive. I can walk down the busiest streets in our neighborhood, without seeing a single car on the road. And the few others who are out at the same time, either running, walking solo or walking their dogs, are friendly! It’s one of the only times of the day where someone will look at you as they walk past you, smile and say, ‘Good morning.’
It only takes a couple of hours later and we all start ignoring the people we pass by. Everyone is in a hurry, feeling harried with too much on their mind. Or everyone you pass has their head down, while looking at their phone as they walk. However, this is not the case early in the morning. Strangers actually acknowledge one another. It’s a beautiful thing!
There is something so remarkably special about this tranquil time of day. I look forward to rising up every morning to greet another day and to have that precious and necessary time to myself. My day (and my life) literally isn’t the same without it. I’m not starting my day on empty, trying to give what I don’t have. Relying on caffeine, sugar and other quick fixes, to give me the boost I need to get something done. I don’t feel the heavy weight of overwhelm on my shoulders. I’m not rushing from one thing to the next, afraid of stopping or slowing down, knowing that if I do the adrenaline boost I’m relying on will quickly fade.
When I rise up early and give myself the gift of that one hour to myself, not spent checking emails, surfing Facebook or watching TV, I actually have more energy throughout the day and I feel less tired. I experience less stress and am far more patient with my children. I laugh more and have more fun throughout the day and I’m less likely to consume unhealthy convenience foods. Why? Because I have begun my day by filling myself up first.
I know it might sound a bit crazy to you, but life without experiencing this early morning ritual, feels crazy to me. I much prefer a life that is thriving and one where I’m not living as a hot mess, while merely surviving. Time for Me first thing in the morning, every morning, ensures that I live the life I want to be living.