Category Archives: 24 Hour Day

Exercise 1 Hour

Slide10You know the drill.

Alternate every other day, 20-30 minutes strengthening with 1 hour aerobic.

The more recent marketing focus is one hour a day and everyday.

I know I didn’t have the reserves to make this hour happen until I made some changes. Aside from this excuse of a crammed packed 24 hour day, my diet was constantly feeding a chemical reaction to create inflammation, induce migraines, disrupt my sleep, hindered nutrient absorption to make my bones weak, made my liver work overtime … and probably made my adrenal glands work overtime too.

On top of that this grain is a necessary staple for a healthy diet and not long ago we were supposed to get 12 servings a day.  I still need to go to the doctor and make it official, but until then I’m tracking my changes, if it’s not an allergy or a disease.

I’m not saying that you need to jump on any diet bandwagon before you start exercising.  (in this case gluten)  But what I am saying is to stop and figure it out.  Take a look at your excuses and start investigating them like symptoms.

I did.  My result is that I, at 45, ran 1.25 miles, for the first time since they forced me to in Jr. High.

I tell ya.  Running because I wanted to run and because I made the time to learn how to endure the distance and the idea that I could go much, much, much farther …  is so affirming.  It affirms that I was right as a child that I couldn’t do it like the others could.  It affirms that it’s possible for me to do.  It affirms that I am included in that group it’s possible for.  Not because I was a harass about it and I needed the pressure, but because I took the pressure off and took a good hard look at my excuses and figured it out.

I took the pressure off and now I want to double it.  I want to run 2.5 miles.  I know people run marathons, but seriously … is it in my future?

bwahaha.

Errands 1 Hour

Slide09I think this one is self-explanatory.  You get the idea.  I only allocated an hour a night.  In all fairness some of these are 2-3 hours one night and nothing on the other.  Now, if you have 3, three-hour events, or 4 two-hour events, then you’ve already gone over the one-hour a day allotment.

*I know I can spend a full hour at the grocery store.  Then there is shopping for clothes, toiletries.  –Even though some department stores are adding grocery to their stock, I don’t think this saves me time as I spend additional time in those stores.  It is convenient that I don’t have to make another stop and therefore saves on travel time.

*Appointments like doctor, dentist, massage, chiropractor, mani-pedi.  For some reason my hair appointment takes three hours.

*Volunteering — just an hour a week, usually accomplished in a 2-4 hour lump once a month.

*School and community events.

*Social Activities, well in busy households these errands are the social activities.

*DIY projects and some Home Maintenance. Catching overflow that you would actually classify as an errand and not a hobby, homework, or cleaning.   AND I think we’ve overshot an hour a day.  So lets move on to the next segment.

Homework 1Hour

Slide07 An hour or more for homework.  Does anyone remember teachers announcing that if there wasn’t any homework, to make some up by re-reading the chapter, or to run through the times table, or just open your book and study. Now grown up, it didn’t go away. If you have children of your own, you still have to make this time to stay on them to get it done AND be available for homework help.  Then of course you’ll run into something you barely remember and will have to research it before you can teach it. OR, if you bring work home with you, your still carving this time out for homework …and wouldn’t matter if you have children or not. Even still, this isn’t about the typical homework we are all familiar with.  Recently the collective is laying it on thick with making time for reading, puzzles, brain teasers maintain brain health. How long does it take you to do a crossword puzzle?  20 minutes?  How long does it take you to do a crossword by a different author? Then also, how tempting is the word Jumble and Sudoku right next to the crossword? Does it take you an hour to do all the puzzles in the daily paper?  When I started doing crossword puzzles, it’d take me all day.  (I’d put it down and go back to it.)  It didn’t take long before I could finish some puzzles inside an hour. If all this doesn’t matter to you in the grand scheme of things, it’s one more thing to think about when the collective brings it up and nags about another thing to do and that “nagging feeling” is what we are talking about here.  So for this exercise it’s an hour no matter what you’ve got going on. (if you caught it, I got turned around, so, yes, pink/travel time is missing here and mint/homework suddenly appeared in the last installment.  As of this posting we are at 17 out of 24. I view homework as more important than travel time, but travel time is one of those that happen because it is going to happen such as sleep, or eat, or getting ready, and as for cleaning … eventually you’ll get thirsty and have to clean a glass, or wash a shirt for something to wear.  Homework although more important is something that you have to remember and make the time to do it.  Hence the unintentional flip-flop. In the end when it is all stacked up, one way or another it doesn’t matter.  Follow this blog to find out why.  As of this posting we are at 17 out 24 hours.)

Travel Time 1 Hour

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I explained this to my daughter once. Even though I thought I did my fair share of driving everyone to accommodate their plans, she was mad that I didn’t do it more often for her and her friends.  As we left the driveway, I pointed to the clock on the dash and said we will time it. It took 10 minutes.  Then I explained that it is going to take 10 minutes to get back home.  That is a total of 20 minutes.  Then, when I go pick her up, I have to take another 20 minutes to do it all over again.  A total of 40 minutes. Then add time for each kid to pick up or drop off along the way.

A total of 40 minutes!

Actually I enjoyed having “car-time” with my kids and I love driving.  What I didn’t like was how much time it actually took just to make a short jaunt.

…Plus all the stopping and starting, to get home to start something then stop and pick everyone up.

…And… that it seemed to happen when I wanted to eat.  (we usually cook once then fend for ourselves for two days.)

For travel time, that is just dropping kids off at the skate park, movies, or at a friend’s house.  So what else is there:

  • to work and back
  • to school and back
  • multiple schools …with different start times?
  • errands
  • do you work out at home or at a gym?

If all this traveling takes more than an hour for you, we probably already have it covered with something I overshot with eating or cleaning or something.  By the way this is just the travel time to do errands, not the errand itself.  That is coming up later.

If you have ever got home and marveled at how long it took just to make a few stops; this is why.  It all adds up.

A 24 Hour Day? Cleaning 2 Hours

Slide06

Okay!  Two hours a day on cleaning tasks.  This one I can back up with Science!

Yepper!  Like seriously.  Two hours.

Actually several reports on Chore Wars between the sexes already exist, so I’m not going to repeat any of that.  This post is about the war against time and if there is enough time to meet our personal standard of clean.

It would be nice if we could agree on a standard. What used to announce health and vitality, is now used to judge the extremes of a person’s mental health.  These extremes classify people as neat freaks who live in fear of dirt and germs, or people pleasers who care too much about what people think, to judging them as hoarders, or immature and incapable of taking care of themselves.  Then there are those who can go nuts trying to find the perfection in imperfection by striking a balance between neat freak and slob.

All that effort can be useless as standards in cleanliness can be subjective.  One person’s clean is another person’s dingy.  There is A LOT of ground between the health department’s standards, and the collective proclaiming there is no shame in having dishes in the sink and dust bunnies under the bed.

Cleaning is one of the most challenging demands for the fact that it never ends.  The minute laundry is done, someone takes their socks off.  Plus.  No matter how much you’ve done, you can always go deeper to clean out the cupboards and get behind the TV.  Then, when you think you’re done, it’s time to repeat what you did yesterday, last week, last month.  …Or, what about last season?  If cleaning is so perpetual, when does a person sit back and actually take satisfaction?  Where’s the win?

Seriously.  With all the competition in the world, when does a person win at cleaning?

The proof that we seek this knowledge is all around us.  Tips and tricks are everywhere you look.  Some come with suggestions to buy that tool and create this organizational tasking aid.  But still, does anyone talk about … or teach how to incorporate cleaning into the day without a fight to get it done? Especially, without the money investment.  Especially, when time is limited.  Especially, when there are other things to do…  and those things are a lot more fun.

Learning how to clean is filled with conflicting messages.  For example.  If we snagged breakfast and left dishes in the sink before work, (because we were breaking free from the chains of the home to go after what the men have,) only to return with dishes still in the sink, we find this unfair, because we went to work.  (This is what we we’re taught? Right?)  So then we look to the men to get it done, BUT, they just got home from work too.

When we come home from work only to continue working in the home, a conflict clicks inside us and throws a BIG clue that something is not working. Wasn’t something said about freedom?  Yeah!  Where’s that freedom?

Then we go about it, as if, cleaning is the evil necessity that keeps women in the dark ages.  Any admission of deriving enjoyment out of cleaning is just crazy talk.  (Although I am hearing quiet admissions of soft, cuddly, warm laundry that smells good.)

Still, no matter what the exterior pressures are, at the end of the day, there’s your own personal pressure of sitting in your mess and feeling like you can’t ever get it together. (No matter how clean your house is.)  AND, once you find your comfort zone there is nothing like unexpected visitors to force that inner conflict to the surface.

All of this leaves out the very important message that to clean is to take care of yourself …and your stuff. Its not about catering to the husband or taking care of the kids.  It is about taking care of yourself.

Let me rephrase that.  We spend most of our teens just itching for our independence. To get our own place, to get our own things, to set up our own routine.  The sneaky little default underlying those wishes of “having and owning” is that we’re also wishing to clean it.  (go ahead, pause and think on that.  It’s simbiotic.)

So, how does one teach to incorporate cleaning into the day anyway? After all there are so many variables for everyone, small house/big house, single/married, working/home, child/children. Even my joyous claims of scientific proof are deluded by specifics.  Usually, they include chores like cooking and mowing while I allocated those to their own categories such as Eating and Home maintenance.  So how does that still add up to two hours a day.  Eventually I quit quibbling and got out the stopwatch.

This is what I got out of my little timing experiment.  If I were to start a load of laundry correctly, the way I think I should but never do, it takes me 7-10 minutes to check every pocket, zip every zipper and look for stains.  Ironically, (or duh, go-figure) when those same articles are dried, it takes me 7-10 minutes to fold and put away.  (My duh moment came when I realized that if I am handling twenty articles of clothing going in, I’m handling those same articles coming out and it doesn’t really matter what I’m doing with it.)  For one load of laundry, I’m only putting in 20 minutes of effort.

Humph, and I had the idea that laundry took all day.

Don’t take my word for it.  We’ll have differences, such as, I don’t have to run up a flight of steps to put laundry away.  I know some of you do, so get a clock or grab your phone and go time yourself.

But to finish my point, my daily chores are 1-2 loads of laundry at 20 min each, unload the dishwasher at 7 min, tidy up the main floor 2x a day at 5 min, then to tidy the bathroom, clocks us in at over an hour. (Tidying the bathroom normally happens when I’m in there; I don’t go in just to tidy it up so it usually gets it’s own time.) Remember, all this doesn’t include loading a dishwasher or a wiping down kitchen counter tops because that gets done with meals.

Now we run into variables, do you vacuum daily or twice a week?  Mop more than once a week?  Clean out the fridge monthly or twice a year?  Do you have a difference between cleaning and clearing out the fridge?  How often do you dust? Then to be honest, I quit timing myself to clean the shower because the length of time goes against the initiative to do it. But now that I have everything else managed, it’s easier to clean the shower every 10 days.  …Roughly. (Again, I have differences to where cleaning my shower, although hospitable, involves cleaning a basement wall and floor.)  I haven’t even mentioned windows and mirrors.  Watering plants?  No wonder it’s easy to forget and plants die.

To summarize if I were to do the daily chores, along with one weekly, monthly or seasonal chore, I’m clocking in about 2 hours a day.  Give or take about 20 minutes.

Not living up to expectations wrecks a good vibe, so I reorganized everything, my stuff, my thoughts, my actions, and rose up to meet my expectations before I lowered them.  Truthfully, some expectations were lowered without feeling the expense of doing so.  Some concerns just disappeared off the radar without training myself to put up with lesser quality of work.  It’s not perfect by any means and I don’t apologize for dishes in the sink or the fact that it is time to dust. Besides in order to dust it needs to get dusty.  I gained consistency and I get more done than I ever used to.  At the end of the day, the goal is to feel good about managing MY home.  It has changed my self-assesment of half-assed and not quite right. I figure this is where I truly cleaned without worrying about people’s expectations, because I had actually met my own and not other people’s.

Some of the nuances I noticed:

  • The pressure is off and I enjoy the mundane.  I found my comfort zone. Doing chores while upset is virtually non-exsistant as I don’t need get angry for the rush of energy anymore.  It did take some effort to change my attitude as I started out chanting enjoy the mundane, it quickly turned into muttering while I flung stuff around.  Eventually, I figured if I can’t force myself to be happy, (which I related to lying) then don’t be angry.  It worked, I am now content with the mundane.
  • I’m late only some of the time now.  I have better judgement of time.  For all the stuff I used to think will only take a minute, I now know it actually takes 3-5 and will make me late.
  • Better perspective. Laundry takes less than 10 minutes to fold and put away, and not all day and I don’t drag loads in front of the TV to fold and sort.  I quit saying (and believing) there is no time because there is time.
  • I stopped reeling in the should’ve and could’ve.  Since there is no finish line, it’s either I did or will do.  This serves as confidence in the face of people being judggie, or when I think people are being judgmental and they aren’t. (no apologies)

I used to think that I had to do it now or it won’t get done and I found out that doesn’t prove true.  Now, I find a better time to get it done right.  The result is that I found contentment and cleaning has a zen/yoga/meditation quality to it.  Cleaning is part of my day and not in the way of it.  I don’t wait to feel motivated anymore.   Most times I get it done and there is confidence in that.  Now, while sitting in my mess at the end of the day I don’t stress as much about it.  I am capable.

24 Hour Day: Getting Ready 2 hours

Slide05 I know I have spent two hours on just getting myself ready for the day.  To shower, shave, and do the 3-step beauty routine.  Get out of the shower, dry off, and lotion up.  Then comb, add product, blow dry, and style my hair.  Then on to a complete make-up routine, which, by the way, grows with the addition of serums and primers.  Nails? Mostly get done outside of this two-hour block of time. If they get done at all because I can’t wear nail polish at work. The routine continues on with choosing what to wear, along with jewelry, and accessories.

Okay, okay… I don’t get into choosing a handbag, but I do love a good WoW factor for a shoe.  … wait, maybe it’s a seamless transition to the shoe.  …BUT!  With a good pop of color.   (See what I mean.)

Needless to say I also have a short routine … and a shorter one.

Have you tried “going all out” in your beauty routine to see how long it takes? I write this because I imagine you have.  If not for vanity then at least to test some limits.  To create some boundaries of enough is enough.  How do I choose what to do and what not to do?

Okay, this does not plague me all day long, but there is a struggle between vanity and short-changing myself. I may brag about my 10-20 minute A.M. beauty routine, but throughout the day something less assure creeps up on me.  Especially when catching glimpses of my reflection here and there, “Would my hair hold it’s shape if I had just spent a little more time this morning?  Am I throwing out signals that I neglect myself?”

This segment was another one that was hard to pin down while keeping everyone in mind.  I know not every one has kids.  I’m not sure how many people get their spouses ready, as their might be some.  I do expect that both spouses and kids are constantly interrupting as they need to find something, get an opinion, or need a shoe tied. Yet, my husband gets ready faster than I do, and then scrapes my windshield. I’m guessing that anyone trying to set a comfortable pace for getting ready are going to find things, like scraping a windshield, to use the time up.

I’m getting carried away here and need to remember that for this specific time segment a half hour is allocated for bedtime.  Yep bedtime — brush teeth, wash face, put jammies on.  For those of you who allow three hours before work, don’t forget we allocated an hour for breakfast in the last segment.

We all know this evening routine is a struggle.  That’s why those wet facial towelettes were invented! If there is anyone who still thinks two hours is a ridiculous amount time for primping, let’s go to the gym and get ready for a third time after our sweaty work-out. Seriously, my exercise routine didn’t become more routine until I got a handle on this getting ready stuff. Why? Because when you think of doing an hour workout, you think of 60 minutes.  It gets discouraging when that hour becomes an hour and twenty minutes before you get a chance to be involved with your next demand.

In the end, my seeking to find a comfortable time frame became even more uncomfortable.  When, I allowed too much time, it was really hard to not pack more stuff in.  The effect quickened the pace and increased the feeling of, “not enough time.”  I kept at it and worked through it, but it was tough going because the running total is at 13 out of 24 hours.  We have used more than half a day, and we really haven’t even walked out the door yet.  We’ve talked about it, but with a bed time routine, sleep, three meals, and getting ready for the day, it’s possible that we are still home.

24 Hour Day: Eating 3 hours (4th in a series)

Slide04

Check it out!  Both eating and sleeping create fuel for our bodies and we spend ELEVEN hours on it! That’s one hour shy of half a day!

Now hold on … don’t get competitive with me and start thinking you can accomplish all that faster than me.  I can be quick about it too, so bear with me here.   The point is, if we did the mundane-everyday, the way we wanted, without short-changing ourselves, what would our day look like?

To start I focused on one meal; supper.  My first calculations were 30-40 minutes cooking … If that is true, then the same amount of time had better be spent enjoying the meal, then and additional 20-30 minutes cleaning up.  Allowing for fluctuation, I figured roughly 40+30+20=1.5 hours.

I knew I was on to something because I hit a nerve.  My friends let me know I did.  Let me tell ya, my curiosity brought on some huffy conversations.

They exclaimed that it would take up their whole night.  If they’re off work by 5:00; home, settled in, and start supper right before 6:00, it’s nearly 7:30 when it’s all done.

I understood, in their minds, this meant they’re still working …still up and moving around.  At least until they sit down to eat.

Then if the children’s bedtime is 8:30-9:00?   That doesn’t leave much downtime before getting ready for bed.  Where did their evening go?

Their point was, supper blows their whole evening.  Hence my curiosity and quasi-research.

Now mind you, I was talking about the ideal supper, figuring that every night we’d want to hit that ideal as close as possible.  Along with a few cheat nights squeezed in-between.  When we say the word supper, a vision appears.  A table is involved, people are seated, there’s a table setting, and a more elaborate meal, which involves more time, more expense, and creates more dishes.  Realistically, we know this goal will only be reached a few times, but we would be doing pretty good in the process.

Except, I’m not talking about goals. I’m talking about time.  How much time does it take to eat three meals a day.  And remember this is not a race. We can all whip out some ramen noodles, eat, put the dish in the sink and be done in fifteen minutes.  But, that too is part of my point.  How do you get a realistic time, when, cooking, eating and cleaning up, take anywhere from fifteen minutes to an hour and half?

Eventually, I went with an hour for each meal for a total of three hours a day.  You can do all sorts of stuff with that. You could have a forty minute breakfast and lunch and spend an hour and ten minutes on supper.  You could eat breakfast and do the dishes for later.  If work only gives you a half hour for lunch, you can make it up on other meals.  Hey, on the weekends you can spend two hours on just cooking.

Anyway, trying to mishmash ideals with realism is a pain in the butt.  So three hours a day to cook, eat, and clean up at an enjoyable pace.  (Can you tell I’m fighting the urge to change it again?) In the end of the 24 Hour Day you will see why it is useless to quibble over a few minutes.  Please bear with me.

Just like sleep, the focus with eating is about making us brilliant, beautiful and productive.  In other words; healthy.

Currently there is a push towards eating healthy, but think about it, eating is healthy.  If we don’t eat, we die.

Cooking healthy seems so hard …  cooking from scratch sounds like a lot of effort.

I wanted the prestige of, “No one can beat mom’s sweet potato pie … beef stew … pumpkin bread.” But one day it dawned on me that cooking from scratch is one of the easiest, healthiest, and fastest ways to cook.  Get this …

… there is nothing faster nor healthier than broiling some pork chops or chicken with some salt and pepper, steam some broccoli, and then serving a salad for supper.   No kidding.  Nearly faster than the microwave.

Okay, I put the pork chops on the broiling pan and turn the oven to a lower temp than broil, so maybe it isn’t that fast.  But, it is fast enough.

As a feminist this is what gets my goat.  In the 80’s there was this real push for men to do part of the housework.  It was all about 50/50 and a two-way street, and if you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours.  Well, not only did the men step up and take on cooking duties, they proved they were better at cooking.  (At least in this household, my husband gets all the ooh’s and aahs’.) The men went ahead and made it fun.

when men enjoy cooking

What happens when men enjoy cooking  www.flickr.com

They moved the chore outdoors and built these beautiful and elaborate outdoor kitchens.  I mean come on will ya!  How DID they have the time to do that!

Okay, my goat is got, I’m moving on.

The point is, we need to eat.  If we need to eat, we need to learn how to cook.  If not for our families than at least to take care of ourselves.

Some really positive things come out of eating two or three meals a day.

  • If you know when your next meal is coming there is less cheating on your diet and less compulsive eating and smaller portions.
  • Healthier choices are made when thinking through a meal plan.  Planning ahead = good choices.
  • Fewer mood swings. Body functions such as blood sugar levels stabilize.  Plus feeling of contentment from a constant full feeling.
  • Of course eating regular meals makes us brilliant, beautiful, productive with a steady infusion of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and oils.
  • Quality time with the family is a bonus.

In the past, I would often exclaim that I forgot to eat.  One of my biggest challenges was recognizing that I didn’t forget to eat, but “I forgot to allow time to cook.”

We don’t forget to eat.  Eventually we start scrounging for something.  Once I put allowing the time to cook to practice, it was much easier to “positively procrastinate” with some items on the Things To Do list.  It was then, I learned that cooking and eating wasn’t a chore or demand to take care of others.  It was a means to take care of myself.  Taking care of others is a bonus.  Sharing myself through a meal is a joy.  Not a demand, or something that gets in the way of living life.  Nor!  A guilt trip for something that I didn’t get done today.

I should enjoy taking care of myself just as I do any other time with selecting a style and a beauty routine.  Cooking is not only for those who have the talent.  It is a necessity for the fuel of life.  This outlook won’t take away from those who do, in fact it will probably lend more support.

There was an impact from the men who have fun with cooking, what would happen if the women had fun with it?  I’m sure there are a lot of women out there who do and I’m not sure if we truly celebrate it.  We need to let go of the fear that a women’s time in the kitchen is going to hurt the cause.  In reality, anyone’s time in the kitchen is a celebration of life.

A 24 Hour Day : SLEEP 8 Hours (3rd in a series)

Slide03

I start with sleep.  Not because it lops off our biggest chunk of the day, but because if you go long enough sleep is uncontrollable.  Sleep will literally overtake your body without you knowing it.  Ironic, as sometimes your body doesn’t go to sleep when you want it to.

We know we’re supposed to get seven to nine hours of sleep and we are repeatedly told that sleep:

  • promotes weight loss
  • restores and repairs our bodies
  • creates more energy
  • is a stress reducer
  • promotes optimal hand eye coordination
  • promotes higher cognitive thinking

What it comes down to is that sleep makes us wake up brilliant, beautiful and productive.

I don’t know about you, but when approached with this topic, I used to get protective of my waking hours.  I would get defensive at the mere mention of “supposed to” or “required” when it comes to talking about sleep. Besides, I wanted to believe that I’m a better built human, who does more on less with that extra hour or two gained from sleeping less. Plus, look at the image.  A third of our day?  Isn’t that a lot to ask?  I feel like I’m running out of time just talking about it.

Now that I get a full nights sleep, of course it is easy for me to say that I can tell the difference.  I certainly like myself a lot better than I did when trying to survive on four to seven hours a night.

I remember the first time I conquered a night of tossing and turning.  I was in bed after a long day and mentally preparing for the next day of running non-stop.  Of course one doesn’t want to be caught off guard by being unprepared, so, I was trying to remember what I needed to remember.  You know, reviewing mistakes so I don’t repeat them, trying to make the schedule fit, and plan for the fallout that always comes from a tightly packed day.  … The usual stuff.

Then suddenly, I’m mad I’m not asleep yet.  Immediately, I’m stressing because I know that people who slog around from not enough sleep aren’t prepared.  Panic caught me when I realized, I am screwing it up before I even get started.  I moaned and bit my lip hoping I didn’t disturb my husband.  I needed him asleep, so I could get some sleep.  “Why, oh why, is reviewing my day and seeking some comfort and satisfaction in the plan, so I can drift off into blissful and competent sleep, not working!”

Isn’t that what we want?  To go to bed at night, bold, competent, content.  Isn’t that what ending your day as a success is all about?

All this stressful crap means something’s not right and needs fixing.  Right?

In the crux of my anxiety, I caught my breath and paused until I could feel my skin tingle and I had to remind myself to breathe.  In regret, I’m wishing and praying for some peace and quiet in my overtasked day because, MAYBE, if I had a moment’s peace I wouldn’t get myself into these stressful situations.

Then it occurred to me that it IS quiet.  Memories of what was and the way it should be, is that evenings are peaceful.  Night is quiet.  Most humans settle down for bed.  Even the animals settle in and restore themselves for the next day.  I caught the wonderment that, IT IS peaceful in the middle of the night.  Well then a train whistle went off and later an ambulance drove by to remind me that people are busy with both work and causing trouble in the middle of the night.  But still for the most part, this is the quiet moment that I’m always wishing and praying for, and I’m wasting it on stress.

Not anymore!  Here it is and I’m going to enjoy it.

Whenever a stressful thought crept in, I put it on hold.  Nothing I could do about it, so I quit thinking it and went back to marveling over the ambiance of my room.

I felt powerful controlling my thoughts.  I thought I’d feel careless.  Irresponsible.  But I didn’t.  I was in my space and I loved it.  I enjoyed myself so much … I fell asleep.

Of course it wasn’t that simple.  These things take practice.  Actually… I thought going to bed stressful and changing my thoughts was going to be the norm from then on, but it wasn’t.  In fact, if I have an odd night stressing, I can forget my new tools.  Eventually I remember so the entire night isn’t wasted.

Also there are nights where I just don’t sleep.  Instead of being angry I just lay there and try to keep myself as peaceful as I can.  I constantly tell myself, if I’m not asleep at least my body is in a state of rest.  This is not a fix, but I am more rested for the next day than if I had thrown a fit all night.

After that first night, I came up with a series of things.

  • If it’s that important, I’ll remember it.  If I don’t have that much faith in myself, then I think, if God wants me to remember it, I’ll remember it.  Sometimes that takes a little convincing but usually it works.
  • If it’s that important, and there is something to do about it, I should get out of bed and go do it.  If not, I have to quit harping on it and go to sleep.
  • I try to keep my eyes open in the dark, and watch the shadow play on the walls or ceiling.   Yes, that is freaky for some people, but it works.  When an invasive thought enters my mind, I refocus on a new shadow.  It’s as if the longer I keep my eyes open the faster I fall asleep.
  • I will also use my hearing.  Believe it or not, silence isn’t really silent.  Between sounds I try to see if I can hear the air.  It is pretty cool when you are away from the refrigerator humming or the DVR whirring.  Sound disappears into the night so I’m always seeking out a new one.  When I go to bed I’m usually asking, can you actually hear silence?

When you are laying there, in your own bed, in the middle of the night, you can come up with anything you want.  Just ask how yourself how you can clear your mind long enough to get to sleep.  It takes some practice.

Over the course of time this practice taught me how to deal with fear.  Nothing major, just normal everyday pesky fear that induces stress.  Fear that I am going to be late.  Fear that I am going to do it wrong.  Fear that it is going come to fruition ..  or not, for that matter.  (Whatever “it” is.)

I also learned about submission.  And how submission is not failure or giving up. When it comes down to it, nothing is going to get solved right there in the middle of the night.  If it was, I would still be up and taking care of it.

The problem is the effects aren’t noticed until the sleep you deprived yourself over the years is restored.  For me this took about three months.  Hey, I pushed the limits for a very long time.  Now I can say I won’t go back to my old ways.  Now I can handle a short night sleep and be pretty close to my best, as long as I don’t make it a way of life anymore.

My first entry for outlining the daily pressure of “I should” is sleep 8 hours.  Please stay tuned for the next entry coming soon.

Update …  May 18th 2015

A daily post prompt on something I already wrote about!  yay! 🙂

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/sleep/

24 Hours In A Day: 2nd in a 13 part series

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Here is a twenty-four hour day.  It is the same twenty-four hours as my Grandmother’s, her Grandmother’s, and her great-grandmother’s.

It is the same 24 hour day that we ALL have.

I was in my twenties with two children when I took a breath in my hectic day and asked, “Shouldn’t something be different?  We have all these machines, a dishwasher, a washing machine and dryer, vacuums, all to make life easier.  Why isn’t this easier?  I don’t have five and ten kids like my grandmother and great-grandmother before me.”

I can argue, “These days women work?”

Okay.  Well, my Grandmother worked and she had it more put together than I did, with more children.

Although relevant, the history of working women is a debate for another day.  There are so many variables it’s easy to get distracted from the topic.  The purpose for this series is the state of contentment, happiness, and capability for all women of this generation.  It doesn’t matter if you work or stay home.  It doesn’t matter what race you are.  It doesn’t matter if you have children.  It doesn’t matter if you are married.  We all have the same 24 hour day and something is wrong.

It wasn’t until my thirties when I had it with all the repetitive striving to get through the day, when I had put the two thoughts together:

  • humans in the past are presented as happy and got mad.
  • In this age, we’re all searching for happiness.

If today, we are all searching for happiness what are we trying to switch from?  Anger? Disgruntled? Depressed?

I couldn’t accept that people in the past had less stress?  Or, different stress?  They had the Great Depression and their kids died on them all the time.  During an epidemic, my great-grandmother found two children in one day and that was after two others had died earlier in the week.  And I think waiting in a doctor’s office is stressful.

Like. Seriously?

I think we may have lost some tools from that generation to this. Something that made us unflappable against adversity.

What is relevant; I was always trying to put family first and no matter what I did, It felt like I had actually put my family last.  In the meantime my kids grew up and I’m not sure if I taught them how to properly wrangle this 24 hour day.

I had to figure it out.  I got out the timer and went through all the mundane daily goals I could find. I had to learn how to protect my good day.  These are things we feel pressured from both outside sources and internal wants and needs.

You are not going to agree with me on some of these points.  You are going to fight for your own specific wants. You will compete with me and think it won’t take that long and you can do it faster.  I say this, because I created the dang thing and I still fight myself on this.  Basically, at the end of this scenario, is where we would part ways and become individuals.  So if you can do it better than I can, you will have more time for that.

Also keep in mind if you are single there’s probably some room for comfort.  The more people involved in your household the more pressure you will feel.

Stick with me to the end and you’ll see what I mean.

A Twenty-Four Hour Day? 1st of a 13 part series.

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Title Page 24hr Day

I am a feminist.  Even though I may cringe at the word, there is no denying that I am a feminist.  I have been up and down the career ladder, I built my own ladder, twice.  I jumped off the ladder … um I fell … no, I jumped …

… I had a “controlled fall” off the ladder.  I worked so hard for so long, that when the recession came instead of putting 40 hours into a job hunt, as instructed by the media, I thankfully took to my bed.  I slept for three months straight and retrieved every deprived hour of sleep that I had missed out on for the past twenty years.

Whenever times got rough, I usually got off my butt and went to work some more.  This time that wasn’t the answer.  I went and got a part-time job where I only worked three-four hours a day and I slept.  Slowly and methodically I began to pick up the pieces.  I asked questions.  I timed myself.  I went looking for answers.

When I got a handle on this 24 hour day, I was able to quit smoking.  I made my exercise routine, more routine.  I became a better wife, mother, employee.

It is International Women’s Day.  Time magazine says feminism is finally growing some teeth.  The Clinton Foundation is removing women from pictures so that we can visualize that equality is not there yet.

This 24 hour day is the first of a thirteen part series.  If I could start my own women’s movement this would be my platform.  But why create factions.  I am female, and my actions reflect the current movement.  This is what I bring when I take my seat at the table.

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