The other day, I caught up with some friends I haven’t seen in awhile and the inevitable question that seems to haunt our adult lives came up: “How’s work?” The responses were typical — “busy”, “sucks”, “same old” — until I heard myself saying aloud, “I like my job.” Whaaat? This was met by some laughter and disbelief, and I’ll admit, if you had asked me the same question just a few months ago, I wouldn’t have had that answer. But I realized nothing had really changed in my job, and it got me thinking: how did I get here?
The “here” I’m referring to is my current state — this state of content, and (most days) pure happiness. I am currently at a place where everything in life is just good and right, and even when it’s not, I’m able to help myself get to that place. It hasn’t been easy to get here, and I definitely still fall into a rut some days, but I think I’m here now, or at least, closer to “here” than I’ve ever been before.
I’m planning to write in more detail about the things that have changed my perspective on life, but here’s the “short” list in the meantime:
meditation | mindfulness | prayer | Blogilates | eating healthy | reading | staying organized | having a routine | Five Minute Journal | my 21 Day Early Bird Challenge | lists | Thrive by Arianna Huffington | family & friends | the Moment app | drinking water | sleep | really prioritizing | living in the present | nice weather | Happier podcast | anticipation | goals | The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo | blogs | decorating | self-care | … and much, much more.
Anyways, this is just a sign of all the fun to come!
So apparently today marks Day 21 of my first 21 Day Challenge! And I didn’t even realize it! I swear, I’ll get better at this.
Can I now call myself a full-fledged early bird? Hard to say. I do know that I am finding it a lot easier to wake up early, and I definitely enjoy the benefits of the extra hour before work each day, but I will wholeheartedly admit that I didn’t keep up with my new wake up time for the entire 21 days. I’m still young so the weekends were rough, and I am an awful sleeper, so yes, some days I favored the “one more minute” of sleep for the sake of my health (okay, fine, it was actually closer to 30 more minutes…). And did I mention that I gave up coffee for Lent? Today was my first morning cup o’ joe during this whole challenge. The struggle was so very real.
That being said, I do think my life is better because of this challenge. After the first few days, I realized how hard it was going to be and knew it wasn’t just my waking habits I needed to change: I needed an entire lifestyle change. There are still so many more improvements I can make in my life, but this was definitely a good starting point. Just in these past 21 days, I have found myself doing all of the following more consistently:
Drinking more water
Being more productive at work and home
Sticking to a routine
Having more energy
With all of these benefits, I’m hopeful this will become a new lifelong habit, and have officially broken up with my snooze button. It’s bittersweet, but I know it’ll be better for me in the long run. Early bird gets the worm, right?
It’s been awhile, but here’s a quick update on where I’ve been on this: not doing so well.
The first few days of this challenge were great — I woke up bright-eyed and energized, ready to take on the day. Then it hit me. My insomnia caught up to me and I begged for just one more hour of sleep on Friday. Then the weekend was here and a mini road trip to Detroit made it impossible to get back on track.
So currently, I’m back where I started with a ‘wake up, get ready, and rush out the door’ kinda morning. Oops. Luckily, tomorrow is a new day.
Hello new day. Time is now 7:53 am. I’m winding up my morning before the work day starts and this is my view right now: TED Talk (currently – The Power of Introverts | Susan Cain — really good and relevant to last night’s post), tea, and chia pudding with blueberries while natural sunlight is pouring in through my blinds. I wasn’t planning on posting about this challenge every day, but I’m really excited about everything I’ve accomplished this morning. Worked out, got ready, and even had time to make my March Madness bracket since i forgot to last night. It’s a beautiful way to start the day. Have a good one!!
Hello again! The time is now 6:45 am, and yes, I am up (obviously) and feeling…tired. This will get easier right? So, I forgot to mention that I’m also tracking my sleep through this process. I wear the Jawbone UP 24 every day and use it to keep track of my steps, water intake, and sleep patterns. I wish I could tell you why I chose this fitness tracker, but the truth is, this is what was offered by my company so I just went with it. I’ve had it for almost a year now and like it for the most part. There are a few things that bother me like how you need to use the app to see your results instead of it being right on the band and sometimes it doesn’t sync correctly, but it does the job.
Anyways, here are my sleep results for the past two days:
Day 1 Sleep
Day 2 Sleep
Confession: I fell asleep on the couch last night and forgot to set my Jawbone on sleep mode so Day 2 isn’t exactly accurate (you’re able to plug in the times you think you fell asleep and woke up to account for any days missed).
I love a good graph and this one’s easy to read: orange is awake time, dark blue is sound sleep, and light blue is light sleep. Pretty straightforward. I’m not exactly sure what the “ideal” sleep is, but I can tell you that even though I technically got more sleep on Day 2, I’m feeling a lot more tired than I did yesterday. So I’m just going to assume that sound sleep > light sleep. Also, I remember waking up from my neighbors’ footsteps last night (the floors upstairs are soooo creaky!!), and it doesn’t look like it caught that on my band. I’m sure it definitely has something to do with this groggy morning though.
I’ll keep sharing these every once in awhile because I think it’s interesting to see. Plus, it’s a good way for me to be more aware of how my sleep affects my mood. Definitely anticipating a bit of a struggle today.
Good morning! Current time is 7:19 am and I’ve been up for over an hour now. Oddly, I’m feeling good, despite jumping right into this instead of easing into it 15 minutes each day or something, as suggested. I guess we’ll see how tomorrow goes. Anyways, here’s my morning so far:
5:52 am: My alarm goes off and I fight the urge to throw it across the room. Instead, I avoid the snooze button, turn it off, and lay on my back with my eyes closed while focusing on my breathing. I calm down and fight pass my sleepiness, manage to do a few full body stretches, and pull out my journal for my morning entry. Then I finally get out of bed and change into workout clothes. (5:52 might seem like a strange wake up time, but is was inspired by this article. He makes some good points about starting at on off time.)
6:06 am: I did it! I’m up! The hard part is over. I walk over to my living room and start my morning workout (currently the Blogilates beginner’s calendar). It’s a struggle, but I get through it.
6:35 am: Workout is done. I’m sweaty and tired so I take a few minutes to rest and mindlessly catch up on social media.
6:40 am: Into a nice hot shower I go. It feels amazing not having to rush. I finish up my getting ready routine, which is and always will be, very simple.
7:10 am: I start making breakfast: oatmeal with blueberries. I actually sit down and eat, pull out my laptop and start writing this blog post.
I will admit, I had more of an incentive to wake up early today due to an 8:00 am meeting, but hey, gotta start somewhere. Day 1 is in the books.