Monday, July 4, 2016

Re-thinking time and priorities



A couple weeks ago, I had a really awesome phone call with my mom. I was telling her how I was feeling a bit down and "off" and she asked me what I was doing to take care of myself and stay happy. At first I responded by saying that I was exercising regularly and loving my gym, but as I mulled things over, I couldn't come up with anything else to say.





Over the past two months, I bought a new home, moved into a new home, sold my home in Seattle, moved all of my belongings to CO, moved (work) offices, went to a wedding in upstate NY, and wrapped up a very busy fiscal year for my organization. My mom shared with me that any one of those "life events" would be good cause to feel a bit worn out, and that I may be running on empty.

My mom then asked me whether or not I am choosing activities that are truly life giving and nourishing my soul. I laughed and said: "curling up to a good show with a great glass of wine may be relaxing, but it's not necessarily energizing." I told my mom that I would take some time to reflect on my health, time, and priorities, and how I might want to approach things in the months ahead.

This week was my work's annual summer closure, and it was the perfect time to relax and think about my priorities. I went hiking, running, shopping, and read a great book. I laughed with loved ones, ate great food, and drank (a bit too much) great wine. While my battery didn't necessary get fully recharged, I did have plenty of time to journal and think about a few areas of my life that I'd like to really embrace and prioritize. To name a few...

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1. SLEEP
I've been saying this for years, but I don't get enough sleep. I also have never developed a consistent evening routine. There are some people that are so disciplined with turning in early and getting a solid 8 hours every night. I have always been jealous of those people - especially the ones who have no trouble falling asleep early and pass out just minutes after hitting the hay (jerks).

While I don't think I will ever be one of those people, I do think that developing a healthy, consistent sleeping routine will really help me. In order to do this, I thought about a few ways I can motivate myself to turn in early and improve the quality of my sleep. This week I got inspired to start reading again and treated myself to a few books I'm really excited about (Presence, The Conscious Cleanse, and Seeking Serenity to name a few). Having a small library in my room of beautiful new books to read is definitely something that I think will motivate me.  This week I also treated myself to some nice beauty products that I can look forward to using as I unwind (including my first Jo Malone purchase!). I fully believe that yummy smells can help build positive associations with happy routines and events. Lastly, I am going to try eating dinner earlier in the evening and cutting back on alcohol to help improve my quality of sleep!

2. RE-THINKING WEEK NIGHTS
As I alluded to earlier, my week night routine has been collapsing on the couch with wine, watching, TV, checking Facebook, staying up too late, and feeling tired and stressed in the morning. [Note: this usually means I don't end up going to my morning workout and then feel tempted to skip it in the evening.] This month I'd like to try prioritizing more healthy and happy activities on week nights that don't leave me feeling drained in the morning. Some ideas: reading on my roof deck, taking my dog for a walk, using the steam room or pool at the gym, spending time with friends, going to an evening yoga class, or browsing a cute gift shop.

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3. STARTING MY DAY INTENTIONALLY
How often does your day start by turning off your morning phone alarm, checking text messages, and checking Facebook (or whatever apps you check)? This is usually my routine, although I don't like to admit it. I would like to try starting my day without my phone, and instead turning to meditation, prayer, or getting my workout gear on right off the bat. The larger point is honoring my mornings as sacred time for myself and my health (before going into work mode).

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4. CHURCH SEARCH
Since moving to Denver, I have not put an effort into finding a church community. My faith and spirituality is something important to me, but I haven't really made it a priority. I know that my life is always happier and more meaningful when I am a part of a community of faith. Now that I've moved to my new home, I am looking forward to trying out some nearby churches and getting to know new people.

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5. MINDFUL NUTRITION
I am a firm believer that we are a product of what we put into our bodies, and nutrition can impact so many parts of our functioning - our sleep, our energy, our weight, our motivation to exercise, and even our emotional health. This year I have been listening to my body more than normal, and seeing how it reacts to various foods and products. A friend of mine had told me about the Whole 30 concept, and removing inflammatory type agents from your body (ex: dairy, alcohol, sugar, gluten). I know that when I limit my intake of these products that I feel a million times better.  I am excited to dive a bit deeper into nutritional planning and even explore allergy testing to see if certain foods are impacting me more than others. The goal for me is not dieting, but empowering myself with knowledge about my body, and the ability to make choices about what I put into my body so that I feel happier and healthier overall.


What are areas of your life that you'd like to prioritize this Summer?

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