Friday, January 20, 2017

Get Your Zzzs

I’m a Sleep Zealot.

If I don’t get enough sleep, I turn into a crazy person who is grumpy, snippy and irate.
I’m overly emotional to the point that I’m liable to tear up at a Hallmark commercial.
I lose my keys, my phone and my mind. I also lose all control around food so there’s no resisting the donuts at work.

One of my resolutions for 2017 is to Be Me. When it comes to sleep, that means the following:

·   On a Friday night, you’ll often find me at home in my jammies, curled up with Netflix and a glass of wine. I sometimes suffer from FOMO when I get on Facebook or Instagram and see all the fun stuff I'm missing. But when I’m tired, I aim for a relaxing evening and an early bedtime.

·   During the week, I turn off the TV at 9 p.m. and get into bed with a good book. NO technology and lights out at 10-ish.

·   On Saturdays and Sundays, I don’t set an alarm. I still get up relatively early, but I don’t jump out of bed and get moving. Every other morning of the week I'm up before the sun, dressed and out the door early so on the weekend, I’m inclined to relax.

·   Occasionally, when I’m really, really exhausted, I’ll go to sleep at 9 p.m.  And it feels great.

Sleep, glorious sleep!

Turns out, there’s science to back up my obsession with sleep.

Sleep deprivation is bad for your health.

Fatigue is blamed for car crashes and workplace accidents. Sleep deprivation puts you at risk for serious health problems like heart attack, high blood pressure and depression. Sleep loss impacts the way your brain functions, making it harder to concentrate, solve problems and make decisions. Lack of sleep is also related to an increase in hunger and appetite.

Now I understand why, when I’m tired, I reach for the M&Ms.

In our 24/7 culture, it’s a badge of honor to talk about how tired we are or how well we function on just a few hours of sleep. Yet, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, you also aren’t in a position to judge how well you’re getting along. You may be impaired and not realize it.

In her book, The Sleep Revolution, Arianna Huffington details the physical, emotional and financial costs of sleep loss. She writes:

Scientists are resoundingly confirming what our ancestors knew    instinctively: that our sleep is not empty time. Sleep is a time of intense neurological activity - a rich time of renewal, memory consolidation, brain and neurochemical cleansing, and cognitive maintenance. Properly appraised, our sleeping time is as valuable a commodity as the time we are awake. In fact, getting the right amount of sleep enhances the quality of every minute we spend
with our eyes open.

My magic sleep number is 7.5 hours. After a night like that, I can take on the world.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

And the Word of the Year Is....

Last week in my Fly Fitness yoga class, Kendra challenged us to choose a word for the year. Just as you might set your “intention” for your yoga practice, this word sets an intention for 2017.

Of course, the first word that popped into my head was “chocolate” followed quickly by “wine”. Yeeeaaahhh. I'm pretty sure that's not what Kendra meant about choosing an intention.

I chose and discarded other words during that class.

“Joy” is too broad.
“Challenge” sounds exhausting.
Aargh? (Technically, not a word but it did pop into my head as I tried to master crow pose.)

By the time we finally reached shivasana, I had it.


Last week, I blogged about resolutions because I love making them and I’m a committed goal-setter. Choosing a word of the year  distills that list to one theme and helps me focus my actions.

The word “nourish” seems to fit with all my resolutions.

“Nourish” refers to making healthy, delicious food that fuels my body. 
Healthy comfort food warms my heart. And my belly.

Yoga and meditation are two activities I want to do more of because they nourish my brain, body and spirit. 

Paddle boarding will, hopefully, nurture my fun and adventurous side. (Or it could be a disaster. We’ll see.)

I’m hoping my word of the year will also help me decide what to accept or reject. 

Before I take on a project or say yes to an obligation, I’m going to ask myself how it nourishes my life. And if I can’t find a good answer, I can say no.


It’s my word for 2017. 
Followed closely by chocolate and wine. (Don't judge me.)

What word would you choose?

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

2017, I'm Comin' for Ya!

Yes, I make New Year’s resolutions.

I love to set goals and make lists and check things off. And the beginning of the year is a great time for a reset.

Goodbye Holidays.

I take the Christmas tree down, vacuum up the pine needles and stow the bins of decorations in the basement for another year. And when the house is peaceful and serene again, I take out my brand new planner and colored felt-tip pens and go to town.

Hello Planner.
Yoga Goals! Weight loss Goals! Financial Goals! 
Entertain more!
Be more mindful!
Try a digital detox!

True, I fell short on many of the goals I set for myself last year at this time.

But I give myself credit for accomplishing a few, especially in the area of wellness.

  • I started going to bed earlier and getting up earlier. The extra sleep helps me feel better and I'm more productive.
  • Yoga is gradually becoming a consistent part of my routine.
  • I started a meditation practice. It's a work in progress, but I think I see benefits in stress reduction and mindfulness. 

I didn’t achieve the weight loss goal I set for myself in 2016 and I’m okay with that. I continue to exercise 5-6 times a week in a variety of ways, including Jazzercise Fusion, Flip Fusion and Strength classes. (Love those formats!) At Fly Fitness, the facility near my office downtown, I take barre, HIIT, spinning and yoga. It’s a good mix.


What’s the plan for 2017?

Instead of broad, sweeping resolutions, I’m going to be very specific. 

And no more weight loss goals. I’m concentrating on strength and flexibility, with an emphasis on improving my diet. I also will continue to work on reducing stress and improving mindfulness.

  • Build my yoga practice. It’s hard to fit in another class but I’m going to incorporate a sun salutation combination in the morning and a relaxation/flexibility routine in the evening.

  • Take the meal prep class at the Wellness Kitchen on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln East campus. Find easy ways to plan and prep meals on the weekends.

  • Eat fish for dinner at least twice a month.

  • Take the January Personal Touch class at Jazzercise.

  • Find a meditation retreat or class.

  • Join an accountability group.

  • Try a Reiki Mushroom extract.

  • Start taking fish oil and red yeast rice supplements. I’m not a big supplement fan but both of these have been shown to be good cholesterol fighters. My HDL, or “good” cholesterol is high and my LDL or “bad” cholesterol is low but my total number has been creeping up over the last two years. I’d like to bring it down.

  • Go paddleboarding.

  • Make seasonal goals to keep me on track.

Do you make resolutions or goals for the new year?