For the month of April I’m blogging alphabetically about quick, easy, and practical ways to relieve stress. To see the other posts in this series, click here.
I almost feel a little guilty writing that I should get up earlier, especially after my last post. It seems that as I write these posts, I’m discovering that I need to cut out the things in my life that don’t matter, and make time for the things that do matter. I’m also discovering that I have somehow completely reversed the meaning of these two things.
The truth is, I do better when I get up earlier. I am not a morning person, so I like to keep my eyes shut for absolutely as long as I can. Sometimes this means there are already several children in bed with me begging me to get up before I crack an eyelid. The days that happens are usually much more hectic than the days when I get up before my children.
When I initially planned my A to Z topics, I figured I’d talk about how many more things I could accomplish if I would make a habit of getting up earlier. I could have my coffee, pray, exercise, start the kids’ breakfast, etc. I had all kinds of ideas about things I could do with those extra minutes before the children come thundering out of bed. I figured having all those things accomplished would make me more productive, and, somehow make me feel less stressed.
For some reason, I have come to assume that productivity was the cure for stress. Boy was I wrong. Trying to combat stress with more and more productivity is just fueling the fire. I’ve been like a rat on a wheel powering my own destructive cycle. But, despite that, I still think there is something to be gained from getting up earlier. The gain is just different from what I expected it to be. What I gain isn’t productivity, it’s peace.
When I get up earlier, I have precious quiet moments to myself. I can think my own thoughts and sip coffee while I watch the sky slowly illuminate with morning light. I can take a shower so I start the day feeling refreshed. If I chose to pray or exercise, that’s great, but not because it’s productive, because both things make me happy and bring me peace. Getting up earlier isn’t to make extra time for things on my to-do list, it’s to make extra time for me.