Monday, 27 March 2017

How To Be A Morning Person - A Personal Experiment

Image Source: Thought Catalog

I am not a morning person. I wake up at about 7.45 am on a weekday and on weekends, well, let’s just say I don’t get to exchange morning greetings. Here’s why I am not a morning person. ‘Cos I usually wake up to a racing heart. Like I've already missed my morning bus. (Not that I have a bus to catch.) In my ideal world, the first fifteen minutes of the day would involve a sun salutation and morning kisses and a dramatic “It’s a new dawn” kind of curtain-sweep. This is what I tell myself every night when I resolve to reform my morning routine. In my actual world, I am swiping snooze about three times on my alarm and then addressing more alarming emergencies of my mind.

On a weekday, I wake up groggy with my left eye. That eye scrolls through social media while the right eye is deciding how to overpower the other with the ruse for a few more winks. A cursory look in the mirror. As expected, washed out.

And then my mind starts running.
“You know one of these days you should buy a night cream that elevates your morning look from toilet to passably regular. What are those funny kinks in your hair? Anyway, gotta get Saanvi to school. Yea, yea, she’s just in pre-school but school’s important. Must pack her a healthy snack. No, not another cheese sandwich. First, I need a strong brew of tea. But there’s no time for tea. And whatever happened to oil-pulling? Can I oil-pull at night? [Googles that.] Focus. You’re running late. Why hasn't the house-help showed up yet? Of course she’s not coming. What does she care? Only if you were more organized….Can I go back to sleep? Where are the bloody socks? One day, I'm going to have a meltdown cos of the damn socks! Sleep-deprived mum loses shit over a pair of socks. It’s possible. Why does she have to wear them anyway? Look at your cracked feet! You should wear socks at bed-time. Ooh you could get those cute kitty ones. Unlike her, YOU DO need socks. [Googles cat-print socks] Woman! You can do this later. We’re late. But why are you breathing so heavily? Is this a heart attack? [Types “Signs that you’re having…] Fuck no! You don’t have time for a heart attack!
And my mind goes on…

Some day, if I ever make it to the papers, they’re going to ask me for some wise morning routine advice. Sista, let me tell you now. I don’t have any. I still can’t tell when I should oil-pull or do stretches or take my vitamins. From the moment my day starts, all I deal with is fire-fighting level emergencies. Tiny details and chores that if missed, threaten to pull my day under.

And I realize that all I'm doing is getting through a normal day of a stay-at-home mum with some bits and scraps of writing jobs here and there. It’s not like I am managing multiple charities or feeding a million people, or saving dolphins or umm…fire-fighting. I talk fast. I eat faster. I don’t stop and chat thereby offending my neighbours. I am on the move even when I am at rest cos my mind’s either racing to the worst possible “What-ifs” or happy day-time fantasies that are entirely illusionary and have nothing to do with the present.

So you see the inside of my head is a confused battle-zone that doesn't quite know which side it’s on. As a close friend of mine once told me, “I'm my own worst enemy.”

When it gets too much, I escape to this fantasy involving a month long stay-cation. One fine day, I’ll hit the mountains alone in an idyllic cottage with just the right amount of people in the neighbourhood (I cannot handle being secluded) with enough money to survive, three changes of clothing, books and multiple bottles of shampoo and conditioner. There will be no wi-fi, no day commitments, no errands to run for others… I’ll write if I want. I’ll eat when I want. I’ll listen to music and go for long walks. I may even climb trees. I’ll clear my day of its mundaneness and reclaim whatever it is that is essential to being happy and in the moment.

But here’s the downer. I have no fuckin’ clue what makes me happy. I can pray for it all I want but I cannot define it.

I do know what makes me unhappy though. I guess it’s more or less the same things with everybody else.
  • I don’t like being told what to do or how to feel. I like making my own mistakes and drawing up my own judgements and revoking them if needed.
  • I don’t like nitty fault-pickings. Not just with me but with anybody.
  • I don’t like worrying about everyday things like what to eat or drink or what to wear or how to impress someone.
  • I don’t like feeling like I'm the only one going through the shit I go through. Cos I know for a fact that there are people who have it much worse.
  • I don’t want to race to the top. I’d like the freedom to take my own time to get there. If at all.
So with that bit of wisdom unravelled, I thought I’d make some amends to my existing lifestyle. At best, it’s a personal experiment bordering on being a social one.

Skip the morning alarm (and snooze):
From tomorrow, which is a holiday here, and a perfect day to wake up to make-believe coffee from the hills of South America and smell the fuckin’ roses, I'm going to start my morning without being assisted by an alarm clock. Yea. You don’t need a godforsaken blaring alarm to remind you that you have a day ahead of you. Your body is enough for that. How does that make things better? Well, for one there’ll be no snoozing the alarm so you’re up the moment you open your eyes. Of course, I can’t go back to sleep, no matter what. I don’t know how this will pan out but we’ll see.

Find A Sleep Schedule
Which obviously means that at some point during the week, I’ll also figure that I need a somewhat consistently boring sleep schedule. I'm kind of a night owl cos my me-time begins after my daughter is safely lodged in her slumber land. So I won’t be forcing myself to go to bed early. But I won’t be stifling yawns to watch late night TV. Instead, I’ll read a slow-moving classic at bed-time cos I don’t want a gripping one to ambush my sleep-centre.

Stop With The Micro-Managing
My nerves may be jumpier than usual. So we need something for the nerves. The good ol’ letting the controls run loose. For the first few days, I’ll have no fixed human/super-human goals or food menu to achieve or errands to run. I’ll conquer the day as it comes. That can’t be good for the nerves you’d say? But I think there is a natural way to finding your rhythm and the first step to doing that is assuming you don’t have one. It can’t be from following the habits of most productive people cos well, everybody’s mind and body work differently. Sure, maybe I’ll figure that some things are not working or worlds are falling apart or I need more caffeine than usual.

Control Caffeine Intake
Which brings me to the fourth part. There’ll be controlled caffeine consumption. What! I might as well give up on this whole bizarre Namaslay mumbo-jumbo, right? See with this death sentence right here, I don’t quite know if I'm going to make it through the week. But all I'm basing this on is some tenets of good living. I cannot, as a matter of habit, give up tea/coffee altogether. But I can get it down to two cups a day. The first cup of the day can be any time I choose but the second one will have to be before 6 pm. I could however flirt with other hot, sugarless pseudo-tea imposters in between meals like say cinnamon tea or lemon-grass tea or spearmint tea. (When I say tea, I mean hot water here.) I am more of a hot-beverage person so this may actually bail me out.

Eat And Hydrate
What will we be eating for the day? Anything at all we feel like along with the recommended eight-ten glasses of water. We’re more or less on the track of healthy eating already. We try to eat a balance of everything, including fruits. I don’t eat fried food. I don’t eat processed foods much. Serious. I don’t even like mayo or ketchup. I make my own dips and salad dressings and pasta sauces. Sometimes, I cheat with Maggi noodles but that is once in a blue moon when I don’t feel like cooking. I'm down to two small squares of chocolate in a day from wolfing down an entire bar. So I am leaving the pantry open for the sake of my sanity and with the blind faith that I don’t have an eating disorder... For the first few days, we won’t follow a set meal-schedule. I have a feeling we will arrive at the most optimal one in time.

Amp Up Exercises
Now, I'm assuming with all that, I should be able to gain back lost time to binge-watch the shows I've missed on Netflix or go on spontaneous dates with the hubby. Wishful thinking that. So what are we doing with the extra time? I'm going to try and amp up my exercise routine. Right now it’s about twenty minutes of yoga. So to that, there will be an added routine of moderate cardio and skipping. I’ll go slow and see if it makes me super-human any time soon — I’d settle for a smiler version of me. And I hope that the extra endorphins translate to more quality human interactions.

No Gossip, no slander:
But socializing comes with its own cautionary levels of slandering and mean gossip and ill-founded comparing and spiralling into negatives. I have noticed that most of my conversations of late have revolved around that. As a result, my poetry is grim. So I'm introducing a curb. Whatever is going on in the head rarely translates into reality. Your worst fears have not yet happened. Your empty head is just killing time by drawing irrational conclusions. Unfortunately, I have no control over what happens in my head, only my words. So for this week, there will be no gossip or slander. No “He did what?” or “What was she wearing?” Unless it’s really gnawing at me from the inside and occupying all of my mind. I'm going to try and channel my free mind-space into creating something or discussing ideas or writing more poetry. I'm also going to try and explore the much-fussed about “good in everyone”.

I'm drinking my second cup of tea as I write this down. In between laying the table for breakfast and getting off the phone with an old friend. My mind is surprisingly still cos I have this seemingly genius plan to reset my mornings and my lifestyle. Everything seems perfect.

And yet, there’s a new dawn to dread, when it all really begins.

Stay with me to know how I made it through this week. And if at all, at the end of the road, I'm going to find a morning person :).

If you enjoyed reading this, please slam some motivational hearts back at me :).


  1. It'll help to get Sumit on the same morning routine!

    1. No gossip/slander! Doubt he can survive through that πŸ˜€. But yea. It definitely will help.