I love reading about the morning routines of successful people and pretending that I can emulate them. I’ve tried in the past to really commit to something other than getting out of bed at the last possible minute, doing as little as I can get away with to get out the door and get to work. About a year ago I started waking up early, meditating, and enjoying a healthy breakfast at home before making my way to the office. The meditating had to stop, though, after I fell back asleep the fourth time and woke up disoriented thirty minutes later. Things started going downhill after that.
The truth is that while getting off to a good start each morning is important for everyone, it’s even more vital for people with chronic pain. The relentless physical discomfort actually changes our brain chemistry and puts our bodies under constant stress, wreaking havoc on everything. You’d think that with this knowledge I’d do everything within my power to combat the side effects of this stress. But if I’m being honest, I don’t. Most of the time I’m either too apathetic about food, a bit too uncomfortable/tired to cook or run to the grocery, or I feel like I “deserve” to eat whatever I want because everything else kind of sucks.
Once I stop getting off to a solid start in the morning my whole day begins to crumble. I let other things slide, like going to the grocery store and cooking so that I can have healthy food in the house for weekday lunches. If I don’t make lunch ahead of time I end up stacking one meager excuse for a meal on top another, and by the end of the day my pain is not only at its peak but I am also running on fumes. My body is begging for sustenance, but I’m hurting too much and too tired to do anything about it.
I’ve been bouncing back and forth between a reasonable level of commitment to a healthy lifestyle (albeit my efforts are still insufficient) to getting by with the bare minimum for a few years now. It takes so much energy to fully devote oneself to a healthy life, and sometimes I feel like I’m using a bucket to empty water from a sinking ship. Still, something has to give, and I decided that this new puppy and her need to get up every morning by 6:00 would be the kick in the butt I need.
This morning I laughed as my alarm sounded. The last time I took Celie out was 5:15 and she cried most of that final 45 minutes of “slumber”. Instead of hanging out in bed checking Instagram like I usually do I made us breakfast and played with her as I watched the news (I cannot remember the last time I got my news from the TV). We went outside and played some more, I got to take my time as I got dressed (although I can’t quite let the 8-week-old puppy out of my sight so it wasn’t much of a relaxing experience), and I had time to fold some laundry I put off last night.
Sure, I felt like a zombie for the first half of the morning, but I’m thinking that’s less because I woke up at 6:00 and more because I have a puppy and have to take her out every 3 hours during the night. As she gets older and doesn’t require me to watch her every second she is awake I like to think that I will be able to incorporate more healthful practices into my morning besides eating a nutritious breakfast. Maybe I’ll be able to meditate without falling back asleep, or at least spend 30 minutes grounding while I drink my coffee and read. Hopefully, I’ll be able to take Celie on a little walk instead of letting her out in the backyard. Even if I don’t do any of that and simply put a bit more effort into what I eat and maybe even spend that extra time without my phone or computer I’ll consider it a step in the right direction.
My hopes are high, and my expectations are even higher; let’s see how this all shakes out.
And here’s a picture of my little Celie puppy. This little face almost makes all this work okay! 😉