Be Happy. Be Bright. Be you. I think this is appropriate in the dead of winter. When the weather has you down, do it anyway. I’ve spent the last month fighting my brain to get going and do it already.
I was told once, the brain consumes the most calories out of anything we do. It’s a calorie hoarding machine (and rightfully so, our brains are mega smart, like how did such a wonderful organ evolve so magically?!).
And because it wants to have enough calories to do its thing, it automatically sends messages to us to tell us to be lazy. Conserve those calories, it says. Well brain, I love you very much, but today I’m going to chose me. And me, this me, she likes to create and move and love and be happy. And all that sitting around conserving for you, it’s not really working for me. It makes me tired and grumpy and lazy.
So after years of fighting my brain, this is what I’ve found works for me (and seriously this is just coming together for me within the last month, it’s a battle, but its SO WORTH IT).
1. Have something to work towards - North Shore Crafts is that for me, but it doesn’t have to be a business.
Any goal, any benchmark. Start a supper club. Start a crafting club. Learn something new in personal finance daily. Marie Kondo your house in 6 months, make a daily goal to do so. Something that you can do daily to make you feel accomplished at the end of the day.
2. a) Make a schedule - Oh man, how I’ve fought this. I still fight it daily. But a schedule helps, it really helps. It relieves your inner battles with your calorie hoarding brain.
If you find yourself helplessly dreading something, that’s a sign it’s too strict, too big of a goal, just not for you.
An example of this for me is working out. I know I feel better when I work out, but I fight it hard core some days. I've found if I tell myself do 10 minutes of yoga poses, I get movement in everyday.
10 minutes is small enough and music is beautiful enough that I tend to want to do it. Some days all I have in me is 10 minutes and the poses are mostly stretching.
And other days, after the first few poses, I’m on fire, doing ab moves and push ups and hand stand work (I am NO WHERE close to being able to do this, but it’s a dream of mine to learn someday).
So set a schedule, try it out, if it's not working and making you feel worse, change it up. Keep trying until you find the ideal day for you.
2. b) The schedule that I finally found to work for me. Get up early 4 days a week to work on the blog (6 am). Meditate right away and do 3 sun salutations.
Sleep in other 3 days, but meditation and movement within the first 1-2 hours of the day is key. If I don’t do this, I’m lethargic all day and want to go back to bed.
As a stay at home mom, I also make myself do the dishes everyday at lunch and supper and 4:30 pickup the entire house is vital for my sanity.
I let myself have Wednesday and Sunday all day off from work. On work days, I work 6:30-8 am, 10-10:30 am and 1-3 pm.
3. Move everyday - explained above. Even on days off, this is key for me. I can be having the worst day, but then I put earbuds in with feel good tunes, do a few yoga poses and I’m instantly in the best mood.
For years, I felt like I had to do a really hard workout to count as working out. While I think hard workouts are key in transforming a body and gaining a base muscular structure that allows for ease in movement and doing lots of things, I don’t think they are necessary to gain happiness and contentment in your day to day.
I was dreading hard workouts and not doing them at all. Now I do light movement, but I do it daily. And that’s enough for me. The key is to finding something that is enough for you and then finding a way to make it easy to do it daily. Yoga and music has done this for me.
4. Meditate daily - Something I also fought for years. Sitting still for 10 minutes a day, no thanks. No time. I have kids, too loud.
But this is so VITAL. If you do any of these at all, do this one. Your brain is a tricky, tricky thing. It's making you do things you don't even realize you're doing.
Training your brain to be mindful affects EVERYthing you do in life. EVERYTHING.
It has helped me learn to play with my kids. It has helped me learn to enjoy boredom. It has helped me be a better parent 1000 times over.
I recommend using the apps Waking Up or Calm. I used Calm first, which helped me learn the basics of meditation. I now use Waking Up and man is this guy good! He's enlightened my thinking on a whole new level.
5. Scribe daily - journaling hasn’t come easy to implement daily for me. But it is huge in changing my mental mindset.
I typically do this in the late afternoon or evening. What I write - 3 G’s and 3 A’s. 3 gratitudes and 3 amazing things that happened that day. I tend to place too much emphasis on the negative parts of my day. By writing these 3 things, I allow myself to highlight the good parts of the day.
6. Gratitude throughout the day - I wear a vibrating bracelet each day that vibrates every hour. When it vibrates, I pause to mentally note something I am grateful for in that moment. It is amazing how much this can lift my mood.
7. Reading daily - So that calorie hoarding monster, aka the brain, is sneaky in making me lazy, but if I give it some new knowledge, it perks up like a kid in a candy store. I like audiobooks and I listen to it everyday while I’m doing the dishes at lunch time.
Sooooo, after all that babbling, I’m pretty much saying, don’t let the weather get you down. Get out, get going, do something that makes you feel good so at the end of the day when you sit down and do all the winter snuggling and watching movies, it feels good. You earned this lazy and it feels good. And then tomorrow, do it all over again. Be happy. Be bright. Be you.