Posts tagged ‘sleep’

Where Do You Spend Your Time?

"Just Awake" courtesy of luigi diamanti/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Just Awake” courtesy of luigi diamanti/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Time has been on my mind a lot this past month.  It’s something that I want desperately and also something that stresses me out immeasurably.  I know I’ve come to this Earth with many, many lessons to learn.  I have a feeling I’m not even aware of at least half of them.  Today I woke up with the intention to prioritize my time.

How do I spend the majority of my time?  By my estimation, these are the top areas:

1) Sleep  2) Metaphysics  3) Work  4) Worry  5) Facebook/E-mail/Other Internet  6) Castle/Other relaxation.  7) Cleaning

1) The greatest chunk of my day is spent on sleeping (1/3 or more), and I’m still struggling to get up early.  I’m beginning to think that I should just let myself sleep and get things done later in the day.  Since I don’t have an early morning job, my mind and body see no reason to leave happy-subconscious-land.  And so I continue to berate myself — later, having to forgive myself — for not getting up on time.  So, for this week, I’m allowing myself the extra sleep.  I still need to figure out why I don’t want to leave the bed — I know there is something that needs to be addressed there — but for this week I’m not going to fight it, and I’m going to see what happens.

2) I don’t spent tons of time on Metaphysics per say, but I know I’m getting in at least an hour every day between writing down my dreams, doing my exercises, sometimes reading a book for class, and making connections to metaphysics in my daily life.  It is a solid part of me now, and I’m glad for that consistency.

3 and 4)  These two need to go together because most of my worry is about work.  So, I’m either working or worrying about work.  This is something that I’ve been struggling with for a long time.  I thought it would go away when I left teaching full-time, and then teaching part-time.  Alas, the worries still hound me.  So, I’ve finally figured out that it’s not the job.  It’s me. I think staying in the moment could be a big help here.  Also, more time management.

5) I don’t spend as much time on the Internet as I have in the past.  I’m not on it as long.  But now I’m just checking it more frequently.  And now that I’m waiting to hear about a very exciting job opportunity, I feel I have even more of an excuse to come running back to my laptop every hour. (More on that in a future post.)  This is an area where I can definitely start looking at how I spend my time. (*I checked Facebook at least once while writing this blog.)

6) Something that Brian and I like to do together is watch a show together.  Though the shows are enjoyable, they are generally 45 minutes long, and one episode can turn into 2, or sometimes 3.  That’s 1.5 or 2ish hours gone from each day that I could be spending on creative outlets. So, this is another area I would like to explore.

7) Cleaning.  Ugh.  I do like cleaning sometimes.  In fact, I become an overly-zealous cleaner when I’m avoiding #3.  However, overall it seems to take so much time and effort, and neither Brian or I are neat-freaks, so preparing for company can be quite an ordeal.  We keep things pretty picked up for the most part, but the actual de-furring, dusting, vacuuming, and scrubbing are a struggle.  Mostly we are weekend warriors (or at least, I am) who spend half the day cleaning before a big event at our place.  This gets the job done, but, again, it’s a struggle and pretty unpleasant.  My latest cleaning project has been our new fish tank (new for us, but we got it off of Craigslist, so quite a bit of cleaning and prep has been required) that I plan on finishing after this post.  (Mind is beginning to worry about it as I type this.)

8) Yes, I know there’s no number 8.  This is the number that should be up there at the top.  It’s my creativity time.  Thankfully, I’m off to a good start today.  My tutoring lessons were cancelled for today, so I took the opportunity to write this blog, and I already feel much better for having done it.  I’m still struggling with resisting play time/creative time.  You’d think it would be easy to have fun, but I think creativity has seemed like another job/chore that I’m supposed to do each day, and that’s the mentality I’ve got to change.  Clearly playing around on the Internet and Castle are a lot easier for me to fall into, so I need to make sure my play time doesn’t resemble work time so much.

That’s my current status.  I’d like to see where I am in a week.  Also, I need to blog every day again.  I’m going to add that consistency to my daily metaphysics exercises.  I’m already in that habit, so I’m just going to pretend they go together.  So, you will be hearing from me again tomorrow. 🙂

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Day 8 and 8.5 on the Road to Happiness

"Standing Girl Showing Thumb Up With Both Hands" courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Standing Girl Showing Thumb Up With Both Hands” courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

1. Health – What’s been great about this week is sleeping in.  I adore staying in bed.  I’m not staying in bed forever, either.  I’ve had something every morning that I needed to get up to.  But being able to give myself the extra hour or two has been the best part of my break.  I wonder if my relaxed state has contributed to my face.  My face is currently the clearest it has ever been, despite indulging in the Easter candy and ice cream.  If stress is ruining my skin, I want it out of my life! Food-wise I’ve been here and there.  Breakfast is always Cinch protein powder with milk substitute (sometimes mixed with fruits and veggies).  Lunch is not happening so much as throughout the day grazing, and dinner varies.  I had some fantastic vegetarian Mediterranean (say that 5 times fast!) cuisine with my teacher buddy a few days ago — hummus, baba ghanoush, pita bread, and falafel.  And as far as exercise, yesterday I doubled-up on exercise (low intensity);  I had yoga and took Bowser for a walk.  Today I walked Bowser again, and the weather was amazing.  Sure it was gray and windy, but I love the wind.  There’s something truly spiritual about it, and I always feel like Pocahantas — like the spirits really are communicating with me — as I throw my arms back and let my hair fly.  What’s also fun about wind is that it makes the trees come alive.  Instead of landmarks along the path, the trees seemed really alive to me today, solid, strong creatures who sway in the wind.  I remember reading an article on “How to Be a Treehugger”, and it suggested finding your tree and returning to it again each time you visit the same place.  I think I found one that appealed to me — but  I wonder what Bowswer would make of my treehugging.  Oh, and I saw a heron flying overhead today.  My birds are back. 🙂

2. Creative Time/ Me Time — I finally got a videoblog done.  I researched videoblogging (“vlogging”) a bit — it was fairly amusing, and I may blog about it later — and when I was satisfied I had enough to get started, I tried to set things up. I worked on the lighting and dressed so that I didn’t look like I’d been hanging around the house all day.  Then, I experimented with my iPod and Brian’s Flip Mino.  Since my research suggested that sound quality was of top priority, I opted for the Mino.  But what left me near smashing things last night was trying to actually set up the camera.  I figured I had some decent ingenuity and could find some substitute for the tripod I didn’t have — my music stand seemed to fit the bill.   The problem was that I wanted everything perfect for my video introduction into the on-line community, and that had to mean the tilted-down angle and more of my body with less of a close-up on my splotchy, makeup-free face.  (Hey, I love my face, but everyone looks funky with the wrong angles and lighting, right?) Unfortunately, my music stand is meant to lean up toward the musician — so one can see the music. . .  and I didn’t want to strap the camera to the other side and risk breaking the Flip Mino for the sake of vanity.  Last night I finally gave up and went to bed angry; I knew I wasn’t getting anywhere.  Today I decided just to get ‘er done.  I adjusted the height of the stand and set it on the table,  and at least got some background and a bit of my neck and torso (as well as my full head), and I wadded up one of Brian’s socks and rubberbanded it to the middle of my stand so that the Mino could lean forward while still nestled against the support.  Still dangerous, but it worked for now.   I am now waiting for my video to upload on the letsvlog.com site, and I’ve been waiting for the last 10 or more minutes. (How long is it supposed to take to upload my video?  This is my second attempt, and I know little about these things. . .  Round and round the waiting icon goes. . . When will it stop?  Nobody knows.  I could write a blog about frustrations with technology.  Or maybe a song. . .  I’m getting dizzy watchin’ it. . .  waiting. . .)

3. People —I suffered not being around too many people yesterday.  I got to hang with the yoga crowd for an hour, and then I was on my own.  Brian had a Shaklee event, so I barely saw him either.  At first I felt really empty last night, but then I got over it.  Got some grading done and messed around with videoblogging.  Tonight I’m going to a spring party, so I’ll have something to blog about tomorrow.

4. Being in the Moment – I think I’m doing better here.  I’ve really been more in touch with my emotions and have been more aware of my actions and reactions.  Lately I’m feeling the onset of fear and dread at returning to my regular work schedule.  It’s like I’d forgotten the stress that I feel on a regular basis, and at the end of the week now it’s all come rushing back to me.  (“Oh yeah, there it is!”)  I’m determined not to let it get to me, though.  I will own my own life.  No, I own my own life.  I also own my own time.  Today I did much better with saying “This is what I’m going to do right now, and I anticipate it taking this amount of time.”  I was able to get some realistic accomplishments done and was early to work again.  (The arriving right on the minute things is not how I want to do things.)

5. Life Purpose –  I looked into music therapy a bit yesterday.  I tried the Music Theory discs that my mom had lent me, but they were too outdated for my current operating system — the discs are from 2000.  Today my sister lent me back my old computer and one of hers to see if they might work there.  I also researched which schools have music therapy and what the program entails.  It looks like there are a few options: a 2nd bachelor’s, master’s (but I think I don’t qualify), and an equivalency — since I already have a bachelor’s.  The closest school is 2 hours away, with a few 3 or 4 hours away (including nearby states).  So, if I really go for this, this could require some big changes.

So Worth It

"Microphone" courtesy of Idea go/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Microphone” courtesy of Idea go/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’m so exhausted right now that I barely got this post in. It’s been a while since I’ve chosen to stay up super late, and it didn’t have anything to do with doing “homework” (or staying up to avoid homework). It was karaoke. New venue. New night. I’ve been on quite the emotional roller coaster lately, and I’m getting tired of the low points. The experience last night gave me a high that could carry me through at least the next three days.

Sometimes it’s worth it to lose the sleep.  It’s worth the agonizing realization in the morning that the annoying alarm in my ear is unfortunately mine and not my partner’s.  It’s worth wandering back and forth between the kitchen and the living room because I forget my purpose and destination every time I leave the room.   It’s worth the clumsy knocking into desks and students, and it’s worth the internal fight to not succumb — sitting down at my neglected teacher’s desk, throwing my head on my arms, and taking a snooze in the middle of the day.

It’s worth it because last night Teri got her groove back.  She eased in with the duet “Picture”, warmed up with “How Do I Live”, and carried it home with “Man, I Feel Like a Woman.”  There’s nothing like the rowdy support of a sweet, warm, and tipsy neighborhood-pub-crowd to put one back on top and make this lost tutor/teacher/writer feel like a pop star.  Thank you, World, for reminding me of my passion and for giving me something to lose sleep about.

And now, go away, everybody.  It’s time for bed. 🙂

I Just Wanna Feel Bad For A While

I"Black Hole" courtesy of chrisroll / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I”Black Hole” courtesy of chrisroll / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Felt absolutely awful today.  Emotionally.  I got wrapped up in where I am right now and afraid that I would never have the strength to take a risk and make a change in where I’m headed.  I think I also was suffering from not nurturing my creativity enough in the last few weeks.  I’ve missed karaoke two weeks in a row.

Do you ever get depressed and down in the dumps and not want to get out?  Just want to feel crappy?  I mean, not REALLY want to feel that way, but you  actually kinda do?  Sometimes I just want to be miserable and stay miserable for a while.  I don’t feel like waving some magic wand and making everything perfectly fine again — or at least pretending like everything’s fine again, when I know it’s just a cover up for the hollowness inside.

But I was pretty miserable, and I couldn’t take it.  So, I figured I go with my fallback plan #1: nap.  As I laid in my bed, I did feel my head clear and my body relax, but when I woke, I still felt the remnants of the nastiness from before.  It hadn’t left me.

I had a party tonight that I had promised to go to long, long ago.  So, I prepared my happy face (basically my “everything’s fine” face), and Brian and I headed out — Brian a bit wary, and me trying not to betray my true feelings.  Thankfully, my act didn’t need to last long; I had a really good time.  I hung out with some really cool people and got to do one of my most favorite things in the world: play games.  I played “Cards Against Humanity” for the first time and actually really enjoyed it. (I wasn’t sure I would because it’s not the sort of humor that I normally jive with.)  At one point I was even doing the laughing-so-hard-I’m-crying, thing.

So, thankfully, plan #2 – Distraction – came through for me today.  But that doesn’t mean this is over.  I need to keep tabs on what’s going on inside and make sure I’m taking care of myself and taking the right path.  There’s a long journey ahead, and it’s time to get a head start.

What a Difference a Day Can Make (Again!)

Presently I’m dehydrated, unfocused, oily, and dejected.

Yesterday I was clear, energetic, glowing, and positive.

What made the difference?  I ate well and exercised yesterday — today I did not.  A couple of end-of-the-trimester-and- you-earned-your-sticker-goal-yay!!-fiestas with a little bit of nibbling here and there, a neglect of my packed lunch,  6.5 hours of sleep, and the knowledge that I had grading to come home to — all of these compounded completely shut me down tonight, such that I was barely able to get this post out.  (Didn’t have my vitamins either.)  And right now I’m so out of it that I can’t even get myself to take Bowser out and go to bed.  Guess I’ve gotta try. . .

On Schedule

"Scheduling A Meeting In Diary" courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Scheduling A Meeting In Diary” courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Today I finally kept pretty close to my planned schedule for my teaching winter break (still doing some tutoring here and there): writing, ACT prep, Coursera classwork, creativity time, cleaning/schoolwork). I’ve somewhat followed it throughout break — when holiday activities didn’t interfere, but today I’m pretty satisfied with my work.  (This whole schedule thing may sound crazy, but I’ve found that I have to have some structure to my day, or I completely fall apart, getting nothing accomplished and then mercilessly berating myself — and I can be pretty harsh. :-/)

Beginning side note: I can’t believe how quickly I adapted to getting more than enough sleep. My body is right now telling me it’s time for bed, when last night I went to bed around midnight. I’m like: “Hey, it’s only 9:15!” My body is all like: “Um, yeah. Gotta make up for only getting 7 or so hours of sleep last night!”

Didn’t follow my schedule exactly, but this is what happened:

7:05 Hit Snooze Button

7:14 Hit Snooze Button

7:23 Re-set alarm for 7:55

7:55 Laid in bed for a minute, and then crawled out of bed.

8:00-8:30 Phone conference with Cindy

8:30-10:00 Finished book 13 Reasons Why (book club book)

10:00-1:30 Writing/ACT Prep: Math/Argument Class (2 weeks behind, but I’m hanging in there!)

1:30-2:30 Phone conversations & miscellaneous

2:30-4:00 Writing at library

4:20-5:00 Mall Walk

5:00-6:00 Dinner (lentils w/barbeque sauce; spinach, kale, and Gorgonzola salad) /Multiple failed attempts to reprogram the car garage door opener

6:00 Big Bang reruns & struggle with the scanner

7:00 – 8:00 Got scanning done (with A LOT of help from Brian) and successfully uploaded my September teaching picture to Facebook, LinkedIn, and Wyzant. (I’m keeping my same picture for WordPress because it makes me look all glowy and mysterious.)

8:00-10:00 Organized documents from office/ organized papers from work/worked on this blog/watched episodes of Battlestar Galactica

10:00 – Still working on blog /going to bed/beginning Gods Behaving Badly (book club book)

I Don’t Get Sick

"Woman With High Temperature" by Michal Marcol / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Woman With High Temperature” by Michal Marcol / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I don’t get sick.  I don’t.  Ok, I do.  But rarely.  And it’s only when my immune system has come under serious attack, i.e. I’m stressed because I’m behind on grading and planning,  AND report cards are due, AND my classroom management is out the window, AND I have 3 million simultaneous meetings, AND I’ve got a bazillion friend & family functions to attend, AND I’ve lost sleep, AND I’m not eating well, AND. . .

But I don’t even remember the last time I got really sick.  I think it may have been my 2nd year of teaching, 8 years ago.  It was my first year in bilingual 4th grade, I had 30 students (8 of whom were behavior challenges, and 5 of whom were newcomers), and it was March.  (March can be a rough time for teachers.  It’s not as long as May, but the weather is still bad.)  The time before that?  Junior year of high school, in the middle of my first big musical: Godspell.  Before that?  5th grade.

Sometime in middle school I decided I just wasn’t going to get sick.  I actually made that promise to a family friend, and I kept it.  I didn’t miss a single day of middle school for sickness.  (I think I had to miss one or two days for eye appointments, and that devastated me because I missed the perfect attendance award.) And as I said, that doesn’t mean I have a perfectly healthy body all the time, but I do pretty well.

I think attitude is half the battle.  Part of my attitude is not so great: I can’t afford to get sick. That could be a sign of overworking/being a workaholic.  But the other half is: I’ve got a healthy body that is too strong to get sick.

Why do a lot of us get sick?  I believe part of it’s subconscious.  Have you ever had one of these thoughts? Oh, God, everyone in my office/family is sick; I’m next! or It’s that time of year again; I’m probably going to get sick or Geez, I’m so tired, and do I feel a little funny?  Maybe I’m coming down with something!

We expect it, and it happens.

Also, sickness can be a rewarding experience.  I’m not talking about the runny nose, the sore throat, the nausea, etc.  being a great time.   I mean the extra attention, the time off of work, the break you finally give yourself.  Maybe you don’t have time or days to take off of work, but if you’re sick, you have to.  Maybe you haven’t taken time for yourself; you haven’t allowed yourself to relax and do nothing.  Now that you’re sick, you are expected to stay in bed, lie on the couch, and catch up on TV/favorite movies.  And what about the extra caring and attention?  It’s cold out, so you shouldn’t be walking the dog when you’re sick.  You’re also probably too tired to do any housecleaning or go out and run any errands.  Maybe your partner will even make meals for you/ bring you your tea/ bring you that remote 3 feet away?  You get the idea.  And even though this might all sound negative, you need these things, certainly more than you’re getting them.   The key is to take care of yourself before you get sick, not after.

And though all of this is well and good, of course taking good care of one’s body is also important.  Even though I miss sleep here and there and sometimes eat stupid things, I generally do pretty well.  Thankfully, when I miss even a little sleep, I immediately get cranky to the point that I don’t even like being around myself, so that’s pretty good motivation to stay on track.  I’ve also begun cutting back on refined grains and on meats, and I’m trying to eat more fruits, veggies, and legumes.  Pretty much the only liquid I drink is water (except for the occasional beer or similar beverage), and I’m trying to remember to take my vitamins every day: multivitamins and Nutriferon (to boost the immune system).   I also exercise at least 2-4 times a week, including yoga.  And I try to monitor my energy and stay positive as much as possible.

I don’t know which part of all of that is most important, but I like to think it all is.  Keeping your body healthy is a physical, mental, and spiritual process, and a goal worth working for.

So, remember, the next time people begin dropping like flies around you, have no fear, take care of your spirit, mind, and body and have confidence in yourself.  Try saying this to yourself: They may be sick, but I’m feeling great!

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