I’m a student, except for right now. Now, I’m just waiting for the classes I need to start, which puts me at an awkward in-between period. Pretty much, I have no reason to get up in the morning and make myself all nice and ready for the day. Even when school was in session, my classes would always start later, so I wouldn’t get up until noon.
This was a problem for me. It was contributing to the dark period of last year. Allow me to explain. When your body is exposed to light, it releases the hormone serotonin, which keeps you awake and brightens your mood. When it’s dark, your body produces the hormone melatonin, which is the sleepy hormone. This is what causes Seasonal Affective Disorder in countries closer to the northern and southern poles. That is because these countries have winters where there will be consecutive days where people won’t see the sun. Their bodies won’t produce adequate amounts of serotonin, therefore reducing their mood.
My house has tiny windows, so very little natural light makes it inside. Also, I have very old blinds that don’t retract positioned in my bedroom window because I haven’t gotten around to changing them to curtains (It’s on my home improvement list). Often, I just wake up, get dressed, go to my car, and go straight to where I need to go, which is usually inside.
Here’s an example of how light-deprived I was. UV rays on your skin helps your body make Vitamin D, right? Well I went to the doctor, they tested my blood and everything. They called later to tell me that I was perfectly healthy, but there was one thing that was concerning. I was vitamin D deficient, and I needed to take supplements right away. I asked what they meant. Can’t I just go outside more? Drink some vitamin D fortified orange juice? No. The ‘healthy’ levels of vitamin D range from 30-100 on lab results, and they still recommend supplementing if the patient is at 30. Where was I? I was at 7.
There’s also the factor that vitamin deficiency can also lead to mood swings due to your body not being about to function properly. Although, I don’t know the exact science of it all.
I was feeling overall down, so I thought that getting up earlier could help my mood a bit. However, this was not easy at all for me. I would try to sleep earlier, but I wouldn’t be able to pass out. I tried setting my alarm off early, but I would end up staying up super late anyway and fall back into my usual habits. I would stay up all through the night and day and sleep at an appropriate time, but I would end up sleeping for twenty hours. Whenever it did end up working, I would fall back into my usual schedule within three days. It never stuck.
Eight months later, I’ve finally gotten off of my lazy butt and started a morning routine. I pack my early mornings with easy activities that I know will make me feel good. Easy is important because I’m half asleep, and I don’t want to do anything complicated. It’s also very important to feel good in the morning, in my opinion. As much as I like to say one bad thing doesn’t ruin the rest of the day for me, it does affect my mindset and perspective on the events of the day. If I don’t feel good, I’ll probably go lay back down in bed and fall asleep. (Can anyone relate?)
Here’s what I do:
I start my morning with a gentle alarm from my iPhone. They have the sleep regulator in the clock app, now, and that’s what I use. It doesn’t spring you awake with an abrupt alarm. It more like gently nudges you into consciousness, which I can appreciate.
The next step is to just get up. No whining. No groaning. No lying around watching netflix or youtube in bed. I can do all of that once I’m up and about. It’s also a lot easier to do than it seems.
Then, I sloppily make the bed (it doesn’t need to be fancy), prepare myself to where I’m decent, and I go straight to the kitchen.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, they say, and I absolutely agree. Eggs make me feel “bleh,” and cereal upsets my overly sensitive stomach. Avocado toast is the next thing that comes to mind, but cutting and pitting and slicing an avocado is just too much work in the morning. Thankfully, there’s a easy solution. Just take avocados and lime, and do all that work in advance. I prefer to mash my avocados for easy portioning and spreadability. I also use multi-grain bread for the extra fiber. It helps with my digestion, since I have sensitive bowels. I pair my breakfast with cold water and hot tea. The tea just smells great, and the ice water wakes me up.
Lastly, I settle in at my desk, which is right by an open window. The sun is just blaring directly on me at this point, which I’ve learned to love. I eat my breakfast and watch motivational youtube videos until I’m ready for the next task.
I would expect myself to sit on my butt and watch youtube and netflix all day, but that’s no the case at all. I’ll watch about five youtube videos, and I just feel like starting all the tasks I’ve designated for myself that day. The Bullet Journal has actually helped with that.
Having a morning routine had been extremely helpful for me. It keeps me from falling back asleep, and it gets my body awake right when I need it to be. So far, I haven’t fallen back into my old schedule, and I’ve been regularly waking up when I’m supposed to. Sometimes without an alarm! It sort of forces my body to be active at a certain time. This way, I can be more productive, and by the time night comes, I’m exhausted.
Here’s a youtube video that I saw recently related to this topic: