Mental health and wellbeing is very close to our hearts, and while we truly aim to have an always-on approach to covering all aspects of mental health, we have chosen to shine an extra bright light on #WorldMentalHealth today, and for the rest of October.
We bring you The Big Burn Out — a content series made up of honest personal essays, expert advice and practical recommendations.
Let me preface this by firstly, making it clear that I'm most definitely a night owl by nature. In fact, my family have a running joke where my brother and I are referred to as the 'nocturnals', because if left to our own devices (read: no responsibilities) we'd most definitely be creatures of the night. Don't get me wrong, I love being a night owl. It's when my best ideas happen and my creative juices start circulating. I can get up early when I have to (of course), but if there's an option to snooze my alarm and enjoy a little more pillow time, then in the words of Drake "I only love my bed and my mumma."
However recently I found myself finding the whole wake, snooze, repeat cycle wearing me a little thin. And by wearing thin, I mean it was stressing me out. You know that feeling of dread, that kind of washes over you? Well, that was me every time my alarm went off.
Whatever the reason, there was something about my snooze-cycle that was causing the anxiety in my belly to start bubbling way too early in the morning.
After some further self-exploration, I diagnosed myself with a case of alarm-anxiety (just call me Dr. Febo). I concluded that the real reason I set my alarm early (and therefore snoozed), was because my "fantasy-self" is big on the idea of mornings. Essentially, every day I was setting myself up for an internal battle between fantasy me, who gets up early to read world news and enjoy her soy latte; and reality me, who just wants to press snooze and continue sleeping in an undignified manner. I was setting myself up for failure every single morning. No wonder I felt anxious.
So, while I had tricked myself into believing my snooze habit was a form of self-care, I was actually rewarding myself with a whole heap of extra stress hormones (hello, cortisol spike). Like Pavlov's Dog, I had rewarded myself with a little sleep-treat every time the alarm rang, conditioning myself into thinking the great snooze was a necessary, if not deserved, part of my morning routine. But I was so wrong.
That rang the end of my snooze affair forever. And to be honest, I wish I had more anecdotal tips to share on how to break the cycle, but once I knew the truth, that was enough motivation.
So, what have I been left with? Well, I can honestly say I think I might be a different person now. And although I'm still very much against talking before I've had my morning coffee, ending my obsession with the snooze button has really impacted my life in the most positive way. I'm less stressed, enjoy my mornings more, which means starting my entire day in a more positive frame of mind. And, while I'm certainly not opposed to a lie-in, if I know I need the extra sleep, I'll just set my alarm a little later. That way I'm actually enjoying the extra 20 minutes and not just anxiously lying there hitting snooze.