I woke up this morning at 5:20 am. It is Sunday. I didn't particularly plan on waking up at that time and I didn't have an alarm set. I rolled over and went back to sleep; after all, church didn't start until 9am! Over the last six months, I have changed my morning routine in order to participate in several running races over the summer and fall. A number of the races are in different states and require an investment of time and money, and I didn't really want to show up to unprepared. So, five mornings a week, I wake up at 5:20 am and try to do something that will move me towards my goal.
One of my problems is that, even though I want to run the races I have on the calandar, I like to sleep! One of the by-products of getting up early is that I almost always crash by 9pm. I don't have to look at a clock, I just know it's time for bed - if I want to get up at 5:20am to move towards my goal of running some races, I have to go to bed or I won't get up!
Another problem I've had with both getting up and going to bed early is that I have been hungrier than usual. That poses a dilemma: what do I eat!
Case in point: last Friday night, Dr. Sue and I were going to watch a movie on TV and she decided to make popcorn. Now, popcorn can be a fairly healthy choice, but you know what goes good with popcorn? Soda pop (don't be shocked: even your health care professionals don't eat right all the time!)! As I pulled the soda off the shelf and headed to the front of the store to check out, I realized that popcorn and soda go great with......... M&M's! They just happened to be on sale at CVS! I stood there for quite awhile - trying to decide between M&M's and Reese's Pieces - when it occurred to me - Popcorn: OK, Pop: OK for a Friday night, but if I add M&M's to the mix, it is going to be a lot harder to get up Saturday morning at 5:20 am and run for several hours! I left the M&M's for another day (believe me, there will be another day).
The last thing that I've noticed since I started getting up early is that, overall, I have been a little more relaxed. The staff might not notice it, but I know my wife does! I am, by nature, an anxious person, and when I get up early, go to bed early, eat right and exercise, I feel more relaxed and I know that transfers to being more present in the moment when I am working, studying, praying, everything.
What is my point in this week's post? Should everyone get up early so they can run some goofy race in Wisconsin? No way, I am not even sure I want to do that! The lesson I hope you take away is small routines can have really big ripple effects in your health and well-being. I didn't start out going to bed early, I didn't start out trying to eat better and I didn't start out aiming at becoming a little less anxious in life. No, I started out trying to get up a little earlier than I normally do, so I could reach a running goal, and it has had ramifications in a number of different areas in my life.
You don't have to start out trying to change everything about your life and health! Sometimes, you just need to pick one small thing,, be consistent and see what happens!
Yours in Health,
Doug Williams, D.C. Care Chiropractic Lafayette, Indiana