"Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it’s holy ground. There’s no greater investment." -- Stephen Covey
That’s right there is a proper way to wake up and if we were taught this by parents or rather doctors and “sleep professionals” this would have changed the quality of our lives. Waking up is a natural process for some of us and because it is so second nature we don’t consider there is a natural process that has been interrupted. Before bed all across the developed world people are setting alarm clocks on their bedside tables, phones, tablets or stereos to help them to “jolt” from their sleep, “hurry up” and get dressed after the 4 snooze delays and hoping up to shower and rush past the kitchen for a quick microwaved breakfast.
We have become so focused on getting there on time that everything around us is catered to rushing. We microwave our breakfast, while our one cup brewer is trickling black energy fluid into our overpriced Yeti hot/cold cup, turn on our GPS to find the route with the least accidents and traffic for work, hop on the expressway we are charged way too much for but justify the extra 10 minutes of sleep for, to arrive at the garage and pull into the lane that scans the sticker on the windshield instead of pulling out a key card buying us an additional 3 minutes of waiting in that line, to park in the limited supply of spaces for those willing to pay an extra $60.00 a month on top of the $160.00(contractors 260.00) only to arrive on the elevator with the same guy we passed who was sitting in the key card line.
Ah the luxuries of the modern life! We should not be shocked that we some of the most stressed out, overworked, depressed, and pissed off people to walk this planet. Yet we wonder why we are so grumpy at the morning meeting when the manager stumbles through the PowerPoint as if he’s being feed the information to share in an ear peace by a 4 year old just learning to read. Everyone is exhausted. Children? Let’s not talk about the fact school hours have been pushed up earlier and earlier as technology became more of a “luxury” in our classrooms. Teachers have to arrive at school now at 6:15AM sometimes to in order to start receiving students arriving at 7AM and prepared to start instruction at 7:20AM. Teachers and students are some of the most disoriented, stressed out, moody and irritated people; we wonder why there is so much chaos in our classrooms aside from the laxed structure on the structures that count.
All of these things are pointing back to quality of sleep and the way we go to bed and wake up. If you doubt for one minute that sleep can have such an impact on your life consider these few facts:
Heart Disease can be caused by sleep deprivation for extended periods
Animals actually start “bedding down” as the sun sets
Our heart rate slows down as the sun sets
The use of light on demand changed the way our bodies prepared themselves for sleep. Our Circadian Rhythm which controls when our body turns itself off to rest has been altered by the use of all the stimulation of technology in the name of convenience. Convenience has cost us greatly. There are more people who are sick because of being overworked and under rested. More illnesses are the result of poor sleep and not giving the body time to replenish or restore itself which is what sleep was designed for.
Bags under our eyes are a badge of honor and not just for the business man. Caregivers all over the world are talking about how tired they are and how much they got done on only an hour worth of sleep. There are the “pissing” contests between the Autism Caregiver and the Dementia Caregivers about who has the most to do and how effective they are able to do “it all” on very limited slumber resources. It’s insane!
One of the first things I talk to Mental Health Family Caregivers about is the quality and quantity of sleep they are getting, and looking for ways to include a nap in their day to replenish their reserves.
I came across an article about waking up on Self.com and was surprised there is an actual recipe for getting out of bed. I call it the F-G-S, that is the Flex, Ground, and Stretch. In the image below you will find the recipe for waking up the right way and thereby reducing your stress.
Remember the steps
I started using it as a ritual and the first morning noticed an improvement in how I felt the first few hours after waking up. After practicing it over and over I realized just how much I loved my mind and body as a result. We take for granted how well designed our bodies are. King David in the bible in Psalm 139:14 gave praise to God saying, “…I am wonderfully made…”. Our bodies need to be warmed up like the fine engines they are.
Our muscles need to be stretched and oxygen needs time to flow to our organs and brain. When we flush our system with adrenaline immediately upon waking up by jumping out of bed turning on a bright light and rushing into the bathroom and the rest of our homes, we shock our systems. We are stressed before we even realize we are awake. According to Sleepanddreams.com it takes the brain 30 minutes to wake up fully. With that information it would make sense to meditate at the beginning of our “waking up”, it would actually be more kind to our bodies not introducing stimulation immediately upon waking up. Meditation allows us to create positive thoughts and energies for ourselves. Our mantras or statements we create for ourselves like “I Am Loved And Appreciated” means we program and take control of our thoughts and not allow them to overtake us.
Meditation and mindfulness keeps us aware of our bodies and how they are truly feeling, they also give us the power to calm them and create a stable internal environment. All it takes is practicing and consistency. Don’t get frustrated when you first start this management of your waking up, it will feel like too much work, but once you find your benefits far outweigh the inconveniences you will stay committed because feeling good is what we all desire.
Imagine what you will now do with that information. I’m serious your life is going to change as you know it. Part of our self-care is the patience and the care we put into how we manage our restful periods with our bodies. Everything comes back to the main goal of putting lots of care and thought into how we treat our physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional selves. It’s important to be as specific and specialized with how we maintain them as we would something material of great value. Some people actually take better care of inanimate things they own then they do their own bodies. Changing how we look at our bodies and appreciating their unique makeup changes our quality of life as well.
As always I ask you to research the importance of waking up to get more information and to customize a regime for yourself and to help your family to do so. Those in the mental health community may find changing how we wake up reduces the amount of stress in our lives,
which ultimately decreases the intensity or occurrences of negative symptoms triggered by stress. Caregivers need any and all help with reserving their energies and sleep deprivation is a big concern for us caregivers, as a matter of fact sleep is one of the many things we trim during our journeys. I recommend caregivers take opportunities for sleep throughout the course of their days because so much is “banking” on our energy reserves and we need to ensure we have reserves built up. Small naps throughout your day can leave you feeling refreshed and invigorated, it’s all in how you choose to prioritize you and your care in you day.
Try changing the way you wake up and see if it has a positive effect on your day. Feel free to leave any comments or thoughts below.