Despite the fact that Z3 still wakes up several times a night to nurse, I have slowly gotten back into the routine of waking up a bit earlier to get some quiet time to myself. During this time, I usually try to meditate, read a little, and journal. Recently, I started exercising again. Nothing too major. Twice a week I weight train right here at home doing the Dumbbell and Bodyweight Program from Lift Like a Girl. (I will review the program later but suffice it to say, it's a solid program and overall I like it but I did have a few criticisms). I went through a bit of frustrating trying to meditate and read a little and journal and exercise until I realized that realistically, I could only do one or, if I'm lucky, two of those things at most. It's not an ideal situation but it'll have to do given the circumstances--I simply cannot wake up any earlier than I do while Z3 is still nursing so frequently at night.
Anyway, lately I've been using my cell phone as an alarm clock. I chose a soothing tone that starts off very softly and gradually gets louder to go off at 6:30 every morning except Sunday, my sleep-in/total rest day. And now that I've been using my phone for a while, I cannot believe that I used to use my alarm clock. I have an alarm clock with large red numbers on it (similar to this). It is so bright that I have to place it face down on my nightstand before I go to bed but it's great because if I need to check the time, I can do so without putting on my glasses. But it is also really loud. I mean, it's so loud it could wake the dead. I'm baffled that I used to wake up to this thing at 4:45 AM most mornings pre-Z3. Why, oh why did I do that to myself? It's awful.
There are arguments that waking up with any kind of alarm is bad news, period. This is not how our bodies are designed and certainly, our ancestors didn't use alarm clocks. After listening to T.S. Wiley on the Underground Wellness show, I became aware of the concept of "sleep hygiene", that is, healthy methods and habits regarding sleep. These include not looking at a screen two hours before bed, minimizing artificial light in the bedroom, and waking up naturally. (Here is a great article on HuffPo by T.S. Wiley, definitely worth a read especially if you don't have time to listen to the radio show.) So while I do use an alarm, I'm happy to note that most days I get up a few minutes before the alarm actually goes off. This means that I am done sleeping which, as I learned, is so important for staying healthy. While it's not always practical or realistic to have strict sleep hygiene going on, I'm glad to at least to have a gentler alternative to my blaring alarm clock. Even better would be the Wake Up Light which I have been thinking about getting for some time.
It's become obvious to me after having Z3, that forcing things just doesn't work. I thought I'd definitely be back in shape and back to my pre-pregnancy size by now. Z3 is almost 8 months! But I guess these days, I'm much more interested in being gentler to myself and doing things more in line with the way nature intended than fighting an uphill battle. I would say switching out the loud alarm clock for a quieter, more serene one is one sure sign of that.