I Learned How To Get Up Early And It Solved All My Problems
This post is sponsored by Med-IQ and supported by an educational grant by Teva Pharmaceuticals.
A few months ago, I started working with Med-IQ and started looking more carefully at the headaches and migraines that have plagued me since I was a kid. First, I learned that I’ve been taking way too much over-the-counter headache medicine. Taking any headache medication for more than 2 days a week, every week is too much. Cutting way back on that made me realize I need to figure out how to get less of these headaches since I couldn’t rely on mountains of ibuprofen anymore. Because nearly all my headaches are accompanied by tension in my shoulders and neck, I decided to start by looking at the stress in my life.
So I did a stress audit.
Work? It’s fine. Relationship? Better than ever (how annoying, right? I KNOW). Single parenting? Hard, rewarding, loud, delightful, very fun. Sleep? Not too bad with some short nights and some longer make-up nights, but overall pretty reasonable. I don’t watch tv, I keep the house pretty clean, I drink enough water, my laundry pile isn’t too high, I have really great friends, I talk to my mom at least once a day. Everything is fine. Except for one thing… mornings.
Mornings were the only thing that didn’t align with the general contentment I have for all other areas of my life. Why? BECAUSE MORNINGS ARE AWFUL. It turns out, I’ve been starting nearly every day of every week in a total panic. I set the alarm the night before, then snoozed it 3 (or 20) times. By the time I was out of bed, I was already late and therefore overwhelmed and everything was awful. The kid won’t get up! Why is the kitchen a mess? There’s no coffee! The dogs are barking at me for all the things! Oh great now I’m yelling at people! And they’re yelling back!
Even though I am generally the happiest person I know (again, I know, so annoying), my mornings were so stressful, they were leading off my day and a huge cause of my end of week headaches.
Pro-tip: if you’re getting headaches at the end of the week every week, something in your week is causing them. It only took me all the years to figure that one out.
To solve my morning problem, it took just two changes: I stopped snoozing my alarm and simplified my mornings.
Snoozing was creating a cycle of fighting with my alarm and fighting with myself, which then made me fight with the whole morning. Simplifying my morning was a little more complicated as it required looking ahead the night before. Preparing the night before is hard. I’ve tried and failed and failed again. Each time I made a list, got overwhelmed, and did a whole lot of nothing. Because the last thing I need at the end of the day is another overwhelming list of things to do. This time had to be different.
Instead of what do I need to do, I think, what can I do right now to make tomorrow easier? I often end up doing all the same things, but because I want to help myself, not because I have to. That slight shift changed everything. I try to make coffee ahead, I try to make lunches, I try to spend some extra time getting the kitchen ready. And sometimes I only get some of it done. And that’s fine because a little bit still helps.
With that, I eliminated the greatest source of stress in my week. I also had more time for walking the dogs, therefore increasing my morning exercise and fresh air, I have more time for making breakfast and lunch, so I’m eating better, and because I’m up so early, I’m getting better at getting regular sleep. All of this means less stress and LESS HEADACHES.
Getting up early didn’t really solve all my problems, but stress makes hard things harder. Stress even makes easy things hard. Stress disrupts our ability to take good care of ourselves and our kids and our rotten dogs. Make yourself a priority when you can. Even when your kid listens to that one Miley Cyrus song on repeat for two weeks and “can’t find” her headphones. But that might be a different kind of headache for a different day.
If you suffer from headaches like I do, remember to manage your own health despite your stress, maybe releasing some of the stress in the process. Take this survey to be entered to win a $100 Visa gift card because prizes make everything better.
This post is sponsored and I was compensated to write this blog post. It is sponsored by Med-IQ and supported by an educational grant by Teva Pharmaceuticals. All opinions and stories and horrific headaches are mine.