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Volume 09, Issue 09: You Are Worth Being Kind To

I remember the reaction I once received two or so years ago from telling a friend that I go to bed at a certain time at night in order to wake up at a certain time in the morning. She dismissed me and said she wakes up very early but also stays up late every other night. To her, it was silly of me to care about how much sleep I get, that what counts is getting up early. This friend is among a couple of other people who think it's silly for adults to have a sleep schedule.

Do you run a ton of errands all at once on your free day such that when you are done you are extremely exhausted? Are you woken up by a jolting alarm? I recently watched a movie where this old man would be woken up by a jolting alarm every morning. The sound of the alarm jolted him to a sitting position looking extremely shocked with eyes and mouth wide open. I am still laughing as I recall the scene, especially the shocked look on his face. This reminded me of myself not so long ago when I used an alarm app called alarmy, with annoying loud ringtones to wake up.

One time a friend of mine had my phone with her overnight. The annoying alarm woke her up very early in the morning and she struggled to get it to go off for about an hour. She was so mad at me I still laugh when I remember the incident. I still use the app but only as a backup, and with very low refreshing music.

The way alarm clocks work traditionally is that we decide what time we want to wake up the next morning, set the alarm and go to sleep. In a good number of cases, the alarm sounds when we are still asleep, in the middle of a sleep cycle. When this happens, we wake up groggy, sometimes feeling as if we have been run over by a truck. We force ourselves out of bed to turn off the alarm before using all the resolve we have left to stay awake and do what we need to do.

An alarm clock is a good tool but shouldn't be what we rely upon to wake us up indefinitely,  unless we set it to sound around the same time our bodies naturally wake up. I use sleep cycles to guide what time I should wake up or when I should go to bed to wake up at a certain time. In case this is new to you, find out how this bedtime calculator works at sleepyti.me

Each of us has different rest needs. Generally, a good night's sleep consists of 5-6 complete sleep cycles. One complete sleep cycle lasts 90 minutes. It's kind to find out how much sleep your body needs each night and allow yourself to wake up naturally at the end the sleep cycle you have determined to go by. This way you don't necessarily need an alarm clock to wake you up because your body will be awake at the end of the cycle. You can now use a gentle sounding alarm as a backup, to sound right after your body has woken up.

Unless you border on laziness whereby you would lazy around in bed even after the completion of your set sleep cycles, in which case you would fall back asleep, this system would work well for you. You will get the number of hours of sleep you choose to have and wake up feeling refreshed and in good shape to tackle your day. Our bodies respond and adjust better when we go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning every other day of the week. This is not for you if you are the kind of person who keeps hitting the snooze button on your alarm.

Waking up unharrassed is just one simple dose of kindness to oneself that will warm your heart. Another simple dose of treating yourself with kindness is avoiding overloading yourself with tasks, trying to fit in so much into one day. Be kind to yourself by dividing up errands into manageable portions, batching them up and spreading them out across multiple days or weekends. Even errands that are fun like clothes shopping can be a drain if we combine them with several other errands in one day. When I do my weekly meal prep on Friday afternoons, I make sure to not take on too much. I plan ahead and spread out extras across two Fridays.

Do you take on more load than you should? Have you made yourself everything to everybody? Are you doing things for your kids that they are old enough to do for themselves? Do you find yourself saying yes to every invitation even when you know you would rather say no to some in order to have a weekend to yourself? Do you work through lunch hour when you are entitled to a break? Do you deny yourself reasonable treats on your budget, treats to reward yourself for working hard and saving smart? Do you celebrate other people's birthdays but not your own?

There are many ways to practice being kind to yourself. One of the ways I treat myself with kindness is by retiring to my room at a certain time every evening to get ready for bed. Whenever my son sees the notification pop up on my phone, he shouts, "mum, it's time for you to head back to your room." Having a bedtime may not be relevant for you, but think of the ways you overload, deny or mistreat yourself and come up with ideas to make some changes. You are worth being kind to. Carry yourself in a way that communicates kindness to yourself. Develop habits that will ensure that you treat yourself with kindness every day.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

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