Tag Archives: morning

pretending

Stop pretending it is important when it isn’t

Pretending something is important to you just because it seems to be important to others is a highly misleading way of life. There are things considered to be important and substantial. Considered by whom? By the society, mamas and papas, teachers and preachers, friends and their mothers, brothers and sisters, authors and their granddads and many more.

Fresh moms, like I used to be once (I can still be refreshed), tend to fall into the trap of pretending something is important, because they were told it is important. For example,: you should always have breakfast, you should not go to sleep after midnight, kids should be sleeping by 8 p.m. and wake up accordingly, oatmeal is good, being angry is bad,  green tea is good smile when you say hello and so on and so forth. This list looks like a swollen jaw: it’s big, ugly and you don’t want to look at it. Well, I don’t know about you but I know that I don’t want to look at it. Because I no longer want to pretend that something is important when in fact it is not.

There are things that are valuable to me. My list, however, is elegant and shiny like a diamond ring. It’s not even a list, just a few things that turn in my head like a merry-go-round. Something like this: keep the balcony door closed when kids are unattended. Change socks. Eat fresh. Drink clean water. Breath.

Don’t lie to yourself about what is important

pretending

I remember when my first child was two I always put her to sleep around 22.00. It  was the convenient time for our family – we could enjoy the evening together, I didn’t have to be “half-asleep” after putting her to sleep at 20.00 just to find out at 20.30 that I’m already too sleepy for anything. I could dive with her at 22.00 for a full night’s sleep. She made her sleeping hours because a 2-year old doesn’t have to get up to work, and kindergartens are flexible with arrival time. I got my sleeping hours. Everyone was happy, until I discovered that I’m doing it all wrong and children must go to sleep at 20.00 otherwise… (you put the scary things that happen otherwise). Nobody could explain me why kids have to go to sleep early, it was stated more like an axiom.

The main disadvantage of being a young mom

Since I was a young mom and took advice to heart, I honestly did my best to ruin my schedule to shift the bedtime two hours earlier. It even worked once, and I was almost proud by my educational and parental achievements. Only it did not work for long and soon we were back to the old convenient regime. When the number of kids grew, however, the bedtime hour became, unlike before, something that matters. And it has naturally shifted to a mutually acceptable hour like 21.00 (plus bedtime stories and night conversations, but let’s not count that now for the sake of this brilliant example). Things have settled naturally when the time was right. 

This example had taught me a lesson, something I have been carrying with me all through the years. It’s so obvious, self-explanatory and yet – so many fall into the trap of trying to be “normal”. I myself was shocked when I discovered that a relative of mine (child, at that time) used to go to sleep at 1-2 a.m. during summer vacation. But then I caught myself being in this “shocked” state and said: hey, weren’t you the one, at the time, claiming to have learned the lesson that “to each his own”? After these words, my “shock” has killed itself at once.

When is it pretending and when is it real?

pretending

This is the question I’ve been asking myself – how do I know it is really important? How do I know I am pretending something is important? The answer is, again, so simple it’s a shame to write and I will do it nonetheless: it’s the mom’s intuition that tells her what really matters. It’s the reaction of the child to certain events and changes. It’s the overall  family atmosphere that changes for the good or for the bad.

Pretending it is important to wake up veeery early

For example: my children do not wake up easily in the morning on school days (let’s talk about it?) And the next big questions is: how important is it to wake them at 6.00 a.m. so they have “proper” morning with breakfast and all the other things that honest people do in the morning? If put another 30 minutes of sleep on one scale and breakfast and other organizational stuff on the other – what will weigh more?

Most parents I know do wake their kids early enough (at least about 40 minutes before going out of the house). Or at least this is the official version of most parents I know (I don’t really visit their houses at 6 a.m. to check things out). Therefore, my big doubt was – am I doing anything wrong when I dress my kids right in bed, help them brush their teeth on the way out and give them snacks instead of breakfast to devour while waiting for the bus?

Had it been 7 years earlier, I would have followed the common advice and would torture my kids with the commonly acceptable practices of morning routines. Since I am more aware of things now, I do what’s best for them. By the way, there is no need brag about it on every corner (bragging and sharing personal information will only lead  others  to misjudge, misunderstand, misinterpret and all the other “mis…”).  Since – to each his own.

What are the benefits of not pretending?

The benefits are immerse. The best part of living life in a comfy mode is, that benefits flow on you immediately. You don’t have to wait until the end of the year for dividends. Life turned out to be miraculously easy and almost fun when I started tailoring  and customizing every little bit of life according to my preferences. It works like magic and yet, it is nothing but a tedious conscious routine. Pretending that something is important to me while it isn’t is a huge vacuum hole that sucks life energy into nowhere.

However, only living by my own rules is not enough: I need to know, deep inside me, that what I’m doing is really good and has the best possible influence. Otherwise, it’s easy to go astray and shift back to the “acceptable” mode, blend with the crowd, start losing energy and individuality and, eventually, suffer from “cruelties” of life.

As a bottom line: each moment is a door to wisdom and truth. Pretending means taking a step back. Being true to oneself at least on milestones is a leap forward. It is vital to remind to oneself why I am doing it and whether this thing or another  (small things like waking up and big things like choosing a country to live in) derived from a conscious choice. Consciousness and affection, once again, yes.

morning without coffee

Effective ways to wake up in the morning without coffee

Morning without coffee. Does it seem reasonable or does it sound like a nightmare? In one of my previous posts I pointed out  my position regarding coffee. Today it is even more simple – I say no to any drugs, medications or products that let me borrow some energy for a short time (with interest to pay back later). Interest, in this case, means the feeling of tiredness that soon follows the caffeine injection. In this post I share my insight on how to wake up in the morning and feel good about myself and everything around, without coffee. Coffee lovers, coffee addicts – this one is not for you.

Over some time I have perfected a few simple but very constructive tips that work great for me  (only considering that I have had at least 6 hours of sleep the night before… otherwise nothing really works much). Happy morning without coffee is quite possible; as time goes by and you establish some healthy routines, you may even find out that energy flows in a magical way into the very center of what used to be a ball of perpetual pain – the morning headache.

Tip #1: Lemon Water

Or how they position it in caffes – “home made lemonade”.

Get two glasses of warm lemon water right when you get up on your feet. If warm sounds disgusting, read it as “cool”.

How to make lemon water?

There are two ways: either squeeze or put a small piece of a lemon (not more than a quarter) into a 200 ml. glass of clean water.

Tip #2: Head, shoulders, knees and toes

You can’t run away from exercises.  Morning without coffee means activity. Any kind of stretching, literally, for three minutes. I do not follow any special guidelines, my intuition leads me to the right movements. One day it is hands up in the air, the other day, it may be feet on my ears and so on. You get the point. Consistency is king.

Here are some tips on different kinds of stretching:

  • Joints: make circles with your wrists and feet. Turn your neck in slow circles to both directions (don’t forget to breath when your head is backwards). It is best to make at least 3 circles to both directions. One body area that we never pay attention to is our wrists. As a typing mom, I think it is crucial to stretch our wrists and hand fingers.
  • Neck and Shoulders: Another good and effective stretching is rising up your shoulders as the “I don’t know gesture”. This simple exercise has proven to be extremely effective for me since I can do it -guess where – in front of my computer.
  • Waist – hands on hips or hula-hoop. Music. Make movements to any direction. I think, music makes the key role here, so choose something, that makes you want to dance and spin around.

Right now, while sitting in front of my monitor and typing all that I have simultaneously completed nearly all stretching exercises I have recommended here (except waist), almost without breaking the flow of typing.

Tip #3: Breath

Do three large breaths in and out. Amazing, how we forget to breathe deeply at least once a day, and even more amazing how three simple breaths inject morning energy into our sleepy bodies. So, stand in front of a big window, watch the cars, the dogs, the birds, flying saucers or whatever you can see from your observing point, and do one, two, three large breaths in and out. You can raise your hands every time you breathe in and bring them down every time you breathe out.

Tip #4 (the hardest): Morning without coffee means  morning without smart devices

Don’t touch any smart device (your head doesn’t count) before you really wake up. Morning without coffee also means morning without instant access to smart devices. Don’t check your emails in bed (alas!), don’t even check the weather before you have done the water and the air injection. I have a rule of thumb – my phone wakes up at least 15 minutes later than I do, and so far, my phone had no objections regarding that.

Tip #5: Compromise… if not coffee then something else.

Last, but not least. I said morning without coffee, but what if the body requires something sweeter than a carrot, something that reminds liquid (not a cucumber juice), and something that resembles coffee by smell and color? What if it’s just too hard, on some days, to say total no to coffee?

Cacao

Cacao is associated with children, but it stopped being that way for me once I re-discovered how great it tastes.  Better use organic and/or  bio cacao powder, but I, personally, find the instant one delicious (against all my “rules”, oh well). I’m not going to mention any particular brand here since I haven’t decided myself yet. Go with what tastes best, it’s just one cup once in a while. Not a big deal.

Lately, I have discovered my own personal way of making morning without coffee even better – I melt chocolate (the chocolate bars they sell for baking) in a small amount of water. Sometimes I add some cacao powder to make it taste a bit bitter, and sometimes it’s only the chocolate. Sugar is not needed at all.

Green tea

Another drink you can consume is green tea. I prefer making tea in a small fancy pot (2 cups). If you drinking it from a regular cup use a very small amount of tea, and if you are using tea from a bag, I suggest not holding the bag in hot water over two minutes. The tea flavor becomes too strong. Of course, it’s very personal and you should experiment until you find your best flavor-time ratio.

Dog-rose tea

A powerful source of energy, tastes good both as hot and cold. Tastes delicious, can be drank without sugar or cookies or anything, because of its unique flavor. Better buy dried rose hips (sold in pharmacies or tea shops) and brew with nearly-boiling water. Another option is to cover the berries with cool, clean water on the evening before you go to sleep, and the drink will be ready in the morning (you can add some honey, it will taste even better).

Have I forgotten any tips? I might have, or I might be not aware, that some other ways exist. Let me know in comments what works for you (other than coffee) to get yourself to your feet in the morning.

Coffee – an energy shot or meditation? Why morning coffee is bad for you.

Don’t get me wrong. I love coffee, and I used to be a coffee addict some time ago. I didn’t stop with it completely but I have substantially reduced the amount of coffee (and all the accompanied sweets) that I used to consume after understanding why it is actually bad for me.

So here are a few points that made me realize that using coffee for refreshment is one big illusion.

First, morning coffee became a routine, a habit, something I do just because I am used to it, even when I don’t really need to be refreshed (on weekends, on holidays, on days when I don’t need to get up early). There is nothing worse than doing something unhealthy just because you are used to it.

Second, coffee usually comes with friends. I don’t mean humans. Coffee’s best friends are: sugar, cookies, muffins, truffles, brownies, candies, ice-cream … you name it. I drink coffee without sugar (proud of myself) but compensate it with sweets (oh, shame on me). Eventually, by doing some easy math, I concluded that coffee makes me gain weight. Too bad.

Third, one cup of home-made cappuccino or latte doesn’t have the slightest effect on my thinking and acting abilities, therefore, I actually need two-three cups to feel something moving in my nerve system brain. Two-three cups of coffee is not that much, you say, but add the sweets, and you get a pretty little lady with some pretty extra weight.

But what really made me change my mind regarding coffee is, that I found that its effect is much more short-term compared to breathing exercises, a bit of stretching, two glasses of cool water. The more naturally you use your energy resources and take them out of your sleepy self, the better and the longer these resources serve you.

What some people say on that –

  • But I love coffee!

So? I loved coffee more than anything in the morning. And I managed to quit. Once you understand that caffeine simply borrows your energy (and whatever is borrowed you have to give back at some point) you may change your mind and replace it, at least, with tea.

  • I can’t open my eyes and start doing anything without coffee!

Sorry, I don’t buy it. Yes, your first week or two will seem empty and endless without the usual cup of brown liquid, but it’s all a matter of habit and understanding why you are doing what you are doing.

  • I just can’t live without coffee.

Ok, make a deal with yourself – one cup of coffee twice a week, in the middle of the day (use tea in the morning instead). You will gradually get used to the idea that coffee is no longer your morning partner.

As a mother, I totally relate to the morning fatigue, crazy sleeping hours, lack of relaxation and the strong desire to compensate myself with something sweet and refreshing at the same time.

But there is no magic – the energy you derive from yourself by using caffeine is taken “in advance”, it is borrowed by you from your own body. And the price I used to pay was double fatigue later on.

Now I use coffee only in extreme situations when I know I need to be super alert. Another occasion to have a small cup of coffee is when you want to meditate over it, enjoy every sip, use coffee not as a quick shot, but as a rare pleasurable delicacy.