It's 4:25 am, and I can hear the birds outside chirping. I overslept! On most mornings, I get out of the bed at 3:00 am! Yes, I know that I need to get more sleep at night and experts recommend 7-9 hours to ensure muscle recovery and to reap mental benefits such as clarity and focus. I’ve read Arianna Huffington’s book Thrive and responded with a complete shift in lifestyles by moving from the United States to Mexico. However, I have been unable to shake this habit of waking early to start work and get into my routine.
Getting more sleep at night is a personal goal of mine, but as a parent with three kids who often wake up religiously at 6 am, the 3 am start time has become critical to making the type of progress I desire in my work. Waking up at 3 am enables me to dedicate three consecutive hours to the spirit, mind, and body activities that I have found critical to helping me have a productive day.
On the mornings that I wake at 3 am, the first order of task is to make a cup of green tea. In the three – five minutes the tea takes to brew, I complete 50 push-ups and sit-ups. Then, I proceed to a green yoga mat planted on the floor in the front room of our home where I pray, stretch, and meditate. After ten minutes, I walk to my workspace where I write in my journal for 5-10 minutes. Next, I begin my writing projects for the day that can include book chapters, articles, or blog entries. Following each of these tasks, it is anywhere between 4:30 am - 4:45 am which is the start time to begin my morning workout.
This routine is how each day in Mexico begins when everything is running as planned. However, as a father and a human being who is not perfect, I have a difficult time when my body demands more rest or my children require more attention in the morning.
Today was the day that began at 4:25 am, and I heard the birds outside my bedroom window. Despite waking up later than desired, I went downstairs with the intention to begin my routine. The green tea, push-up, prayer and journal components of my routine went as planned and I thought, for a minute, it's ok that I missed the alarm clock. Shortly after that, I heard "daddy, daddy, daddy!" It was my middle son calling for me. As an asthmatic, he frequently has trouble breathing at night and needs a nebulizer to relieve wheezing and coughing.
Like any attentive father, I immediately stopped what I was doing and went to take care of his needs. He was crying when I arrived in his room, so I picked him up to take him downstairs. As I stood up with him in my arms, my youngest child gets out of the bed to tell me that he has had an accident. By now, my wife is out of the bed, looking confused, but immediately steps in to clean him and change his sheets.
My responsibilities as a father are an integral part of my life, and although it is hard at times, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Due to my son’s asthma flare up, I was unable to complete everything in my morning routine, but possibly my body was trying to tell me something. Getting a full night of rest is important, and the most important task I need to fulfill right now is being fully present to my family’s socio-emotional needs.
Routines help give daily attention to important goals. It’s also important to realize that challenges are a part of life and the best schedules can be broken and put back together at any moment. I’m going to work at getting more sleep at night and allowing my morning routines to get shuffled for the sake of taking care of my health and offering more attention to the needs of my family.
What shifts do you need to make in your routines to give more attention to your health and familial roles? Leave a response in the comments.
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