{Covid-19} Keeping sane by moving your body

We’ve been in lockdown (not allowed to leave the property) for a month. I am doing daily journalling for the first time ever in my life and I’ve noticed that the days I’m getting to move my body through a walk or actual exercise classes are the days I’m calmer, happier and a better human being.

Why is it important to move?

  • you sleep better
  • oxygen gets to your brain for clearer thinking
  • you feel better, and are a less anxious and overall happier human being

I wasn’t using the word “moving” as a euphemism for exercise; moving to me on most days means to:

  • get outside
  • notice the beauty
  • listen to the sounds
  • smell different smells
  • engage all your senses

(excellent mindfulness activities for an ESTJ, who needs to stay present and move slower through life)

I have found 4 things that help me get the most out of virtual exercise (my Zoom Zumba class)

  1. Dress as you would for a normal class at the gym – tie your hair up when necessary, wear a sports bra and sports shoes
  2. Tell yourself, I only have these 30 or 60 minutes, so I have to make it count, and then dance your heart out
  3. Keep the video on – it will keep you accountable and moving
  4. Set up your environment for success – have a big bottle of water ready, clear the space of chairs, etc. and close a curtain if necessary to block out sunlight
My Zoom Zumba set-up – phone, water bottle, untidy desk πŸ™‚

I know all these things because I’ve done the exact opposite – forgotten the sports bra, had to run downstairs for more water, and had to take a couple of minutes to move the camera so I wasn’t squinting into the sunlight.

Interestingly, the Zoom Zumba is the only class I feel inclined to participate in. I have zero interest in doing virtual ballet – I want to have the class vibe for that. I may change my mind soon, but for now, let’s Zumba πŸ˜‰

Are you moving enough? I’m probably not, but these days cleaning also counts and I’m doing plenty of that!

Do you participate in any virtual exercise classes?

PS Today Dion and I celebrate 25 years of marriage and I started off my day with Zumba πŸ™‚

{2019 review} What went well in 2019?

I never used to like reflecting on anything really but it’s a part of my life I’ve really started to enjoy, not only having it done, but also the introspection part of it.

I particularly like monthly reflections, my birthday review and this, my annual review. I share that so that if you’re the same, you can take comfort from my initial discomfort and know that it’s a good thing to look back (however fleetingly!) and see how far you’ve come.

So, what went well this year?

Work rhythms

I’ve been in an excellent work rhythm for years now and I know how to manage the stressful parts of my job together with my personality. I do still have those moments because I’m human, but these days it takes me a day or two to get back to my preferred way of being rather than weeks like it used to.

A large part of this being on top of things is having my work from home day every week. There was a week recently where I had meetings the entire week and wasn’t able to work from home, and I could see how my deep work piled up.

My word of the year

I’ll talk properly about it in a post dedicated to the word, but I will say that BOLD has been an excellent and very timely word for me.

Book clubs and reading

I’ve always been a voracious reader and aside from a short reading slump this year (which I recognised because the same thing happened to me last year – could it be the time of year???), I’ve had a great reading year. Some months I abandoned all my rules and my sleep was interrupted as a result, but I read some great books, which I will also share in a separate post.

As for the book club, gosh, how I love my book club. We are in such a good place three years in. Dion suggested that it was because we are mainly obligers but actually we are the perfect ideal mix – 1 upholder, 1 rebel, 2 questioners and 4 obligers. We have good systems that work for proposing and veto-ing books, for hosting, etc. We’re reading good, discussable books and even if I don’t enjoy the book, I enjoy the discussion so much because I learn about the others’ points of view. It’s a truly life-giving intentional friend date that works really well and is still the highlight of my month.

This year, we also celebrated the first anniversary of Kids Book Club (such a creative name ;)). We are also in a good rhythm where this one is concerned. We have a core group of 3 sets of kids and another 2 sets of mostly regulars. I have a spreadsheet (of course!) for hosting so that we don’t always rely on the same people. The kids seem to like sharing their books because most of them want to go first and another mom, who was my kids’ amazing grade R teacher, came up with an excellent idea – first photos, then food πŸ˜‰

Workshops

This year I ran 10 workshops with 75 people total: 8 Four Tendencies workshops, and 2 Five Love Languages workshops.

5 of those workshops were run at my home and 5 elsewhere: corporate offices, a hotel and someone’s home.

All were So Much Fun!

I can’t fully express how amazing it is to see people have realisations about their Tendencies and Love Languages right in front of me. It is amazing to have the privilege to be part of that and I can’t wait to welcome another 75 next year.

It would be remiss of me not to let you know that the first workshop date for next year has already been set: Saturday 8 Feb 2020. Mark your calendar, pay your deposit and come, let’s have some fun together.

One of my goals for next year is to run a Four Tendencies workshop for kids – I’m thinking April, so let me know if your want your schoolgoing child to attend. There will be student pricing available.

Friends

My scheduled friend dates are still working out well as is my friends spreadsheet. I got to see 3 Cape Town friends I’m not usually able to see on a Cape Town trip in October and it filled my love tank. I’m already on 90 friend connections for the year; could I make 100?

Workouts

I have a very regular habit going on of Zumba every Saturday, my Spanish dance class every Monday and Barre 180 on most Tuesdays. The Barre class is the one I’m most likely to miss if I need to, due to work, but still, I’ve already clocked 101 workouts, and hope to finish the year close to 120.

Sleep

My sleep has also been excellent this year. I will definitely end off higher than last year’s average of 7 hr 35 and am hoping for my best sleep year yet πŸ™‚ Only I can get excited about that because my sleep used to be much less when I first started tracking it.

What went well for *you* this year?

How strong are your foundations?

Often when it feels like things are getting a bit out of control, I find that it’s useful to stop and take stock of my foundational basics:

1. Sleep
Are you sleeping enough? I’m constantly surprised by just how many people don’t sleep well and expect to function at top productivity.Β Our bodies weren’t designed to go on and on without enough rest.Β 

If you’re feeling sluggish or like your mind isn’t 100% sharp, try increasing your sleep by just 30 minutes a night. If you’re currently sleeping 5 hours a night, get to bed 30 minutes earlier. Don’t try to remember; use your phone and set a daily reminder. Once that new sleep number is your normal, increase it by another 30 minutes, until you get to at least 7 hours every night.

More tips: here and here

2. Food

If you follow me on Instagram, I’ve shared pictures when I pack my lunch bag at night. I might have mentioned this but I seriously hate packing my lunch. And no, I have no idea why!Β 

A few weeks ago, I said to Kendra (9) that I was dreading doing my lunch. She said, “but you don’t hate packing our lunches” and I said, “no, I don’t. I love doing yours“. You know what she said?

“Then just pretend you’re packing our lunches”.

Simple but profound. I’ve been pretending ever since and it is a game changer. It feels more fun and it’s getting done quicker πŸ™‚

If you’re not yet sold on menu planning, have a read here. I love menu planning because I love knowing what I have available in the house, and when we *actually* do eat all those meals in the same week, I do the metaphorical happy dance πŸ™‚

Thinking about food and what to cook/ eat/ prepare three times a day is exhausting (and mind-numbingly boring for me) so automate the process in order to free up your mental load.

3. Energy

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

This might seem like a “nice to think about” but I think it’s essential. Often in the past when I’ve mentioned to Dion that I feel like I’m in a funk, it’s because I’m not getting as much people time that I need as an extrovert.

I’ve since found that I need 5 one-on-one friend dates besides my two book clubs every month for my tank to feel full. I spread out those friend dates, at least one every week, and that works beautifully.

My husband is an introvert and if I see his energy flagging, I’ll rescue him by taking the kids to do something so he has alone time at home, or let him go do grocery shopping by himself. Granted, there are still people at the shops but he doesn’t have to talk all the time to two very chatty nine-year-olds.

These are foundational issues that, if attended to on a consistent basis, will definitely increase your happiness levels.

Leave a comment and let me know which one of these three foundational basics you’re going to prioritise for the next 1 – 3 months.

If you’d like to work with me, I do currently have 4 time makeover coaching spots available every month. Send me an email and let’s get you started.

Do you know how much sleep you need?

On a recent episode of the Best of Both Worlds podcast, Laura mentioned something about how her sleep is always around the 7 – 7.5 hour mark, on average.

I was slacking on my bedtime a few days last week but interestingly, when I checked my Fitbit stats, I realised I’m almost always around the 7.5 hour mark. And that it’s been that way for the last 2.5 years.

Yes, it takes discipline to actually go to bed because I’m a night owl and my natural tendency is to stay awake later because my brain is most awake then.

Yet, no matter how early I go to bed, I still fall asleep at roughly the same time unless I’m not well, and I wake after about 7.5 – 8 hours. I actually only set an alarm for two days every week. The rest of the time I wake around 7.

 

The trick for me is to stop doing other things to allow for reading time so that I can be sleeping by 11:30.

So my rule is – computer off by 10:30.

After the reading post published the other week, a reader asked why I need all my rules. The thing is I’m an upholder and discipline is my freedom. This might not resonate with any other type but other upholders will definitely understand.

I found I’d be getting to bed at least 30 minutes later when I didn’t enforce my computer rule because I forgot about tidying the desk, doing my bedtime routine, etc.

Do you know how much sleep you need?Β Do you get enough sleep?Β 

Most adults don’t get enough sleep and we’re all functioning (or not) at below-par levels of productivity and simply, life enjoyment.

Sleep helps our bodies to work better, helps us with weight loss when we’re trying to lose weight, helps us have clear, functioning minds and of course, helps us rest and recharge from day to day.

Gretchen Rubin has written and spoken on the podcast about bedtimes.Β She said something interesting in that once you set a bedtime (we now know mine is 11:30), if you ignore that bedtime,Β then you’re consciously choosing to do what you were doing instead of going to bed.

This week’s coaching challenge for you:

– What is your usual wake-up time?
– Work back at least 7 hours. That is the time you have to be asleep by.
– How long do you need before falling asleep? Subtract the amount of hours.
– Also subtract time for your bedtime routine – face, teeth, reading, etc.
– For the next week, set an alarm or reminder in your phone or computer that says “go to bed”.
– Keep track of your productivity the following day as you start getting enough sleep.

My journey with sleep, or how a night owl manages her sleep

Long-time readers will know that I’m quite the sleep evangelist.

Alongside that statement I’m also a night owl and I really would rather read or do all my other stuff than sleep.

But I know sleep is important because we need sleep for our metabolism to work properly and so I set a goal to have an average of 7.5 hours sleep in January 2015. I’ve been tracking my sleep patterns on the Fitbit against that goal ever since then.

The sleeping thing for me doesn’t work as well if I’m not intentional.

I check my Fitbit app regularly and if I’m going off track, I’ll make sure to have a few good nights of early bedtimes (10 pm) even if I read for an hour because when I’m actually in bed, I do get more sleep.

Screenshot from my Fitbit for last year’s sleep

The sleep tracker is my favourite function on my Fitbit. When I mention this to others, they often tell me the same thing because it’s so enlightening. We all think we’re getting more sleep than we actually are because we’re not aware of all our restless and awake times.

Bottom line – I can never stop tracking!

Are you a night owl or a lark?

Do you track your sleep?

Do you find it easy to get all the sleep you need?

{Time Management} Are you getting enough sleep?

I have to tell you about this video of Sheryl Sandberg and Arianna Huffington talking about Ariana’s new book, Thrive.

The whole video is great if you have an hour to watch it.

(I listened while I tidied and decluttered in my study)

The thing I specifically want to talk about is one thing she’s quite passionate about – getting enough sleep. We’re actually far more productive and creative when we’re functioning from a place of rest instead of fatigue.

As many of you know, I also feel quite strongly that most of us don’t get enough sleep.

Sleep

Some of my coaching clients reading know that one of the first things we work on is sleep.

This week, I want you to track your sleep.

1. Write down how much sleep you get every night for a whole week, including weekends.

2. Then divide by 7 and see what your average is.

Is it 7 – 8 hours?

If not, try going to bed just 30 minutes earlier and see how you feel after a week of implementing.

Let me know how it goes!

Here’s a blog post I wrote earlier this year on sleep.

 

Update on the sleep app I use

About six weeks ago, I posted about a sleep app I use.

Since people don’t seem to like to comment, I got emails asking me quite a few questions and this great comment from Rachel so I decided to mush it all up into one post.

How much did my app cost?

$0,99 (Sleep Time) and the one Rachel references in her comment costs the same, which is about R11 for South Africans at current exchange rates.

How does it work?

I keep the iphone on, lay it face down under my pillow and somehow (magic?) it figures everything out by my heartbeat or something similar. I’m not attached to the process but I am results-focussed πŸ™‚ so as long as it works, I’m happy to trust the process.

Do I have a choice as to wake-up times?

Yes, I set the wake-up time as the time I HAVE TO BE UP. And then there’s another setting – basically the alarm can wake me within 20 minutes of that time (time to slowly wake-up and get my mind in gear).

I haven’t checked to see exactly how many minutes it always wakes me before my preferred wake-up time – my schedule is quite erratic based on meetings, gym, church and such.

There is a snooze function which I do use.

How do you stop the alarm?

I believe I have two options; I only figured them out tonight. Somehow I’d set it to the one where I have to hold the big button for 3 seconds to stop it. 3 seconds is long when you’re fast asleep so that wakes me well enough.

What do I find most valuable?

I love stats. LOVE THEM.

Especially stats on me πŸ™‚

So here’s how I’m currently doing.

weekly view – as you can see, I’ve been very naughty, reading very late at night πŸ™‚
and…. my sleep is all over the place

I’m going to be writing up a new training manual over the next two weeks but after that, I want to get my sleep back to some normal bedtimes again.

How have you been sleeping over the last 6 weeks?

Let me know on Facebook.

An app to check your sleep patterns

I promised you yesterday that I’d share about an app I’ve been using.

First off, this is how it came about.

I was very nervous about oversleeping and I vaguely remembered reading somewhere (no idea where) about apps that sound an alarm when you’re between sleep cycles so you don’t feel so groggy when you have to wake up.

That’s me – very groggy (and grumpy) when I have to wake so I thought it was worth a try.

I searched in the app store and found this one, Sleep Time. There is a free version but that only stores your information for the 5 latest days so after I realised that, I paid R8 and got the paid version and I’m giddy with the stats.

As at this snapshot, you can see my average bedtime is 11:36 pm, my average duration was 7 hours 16 minutes and my sleep efficiency is 91%.

My stats don’t look like that anymore…

My average bedtime is now 12.25 am and my average duration is only 6 hours 23 minutes. Efficiency still 90%.

This is great because it’s giving me the information so I can do something about it. I know I function best on at least 7 hours of sleep, so no wonder I haven’t been at my best and the after midnight sleep really needs to stop πŸ™‚

By the way, I do think I wake easier with this app but the real test will come this winter.

Do you wake easily?

Have you tried this or any other sleep app?

Are you getting enough sleep?

I realised on Sunday night as I got into bed at 12:30 am that I’ve been slacking on my bedtime.

Yes, I’m a night owl so my natural tendency is to work late because my brain is most awake then.

However, I work full-time so I don’t have the luxury of living totally in tune with my body clock.

I used to have a rule about my bedtime and, to be honest, it still exists. I’m just not following it all that well.

I like to be sleeping by 12 so I need to be in bed by 11 since I read for an hour every night – bliss!

And here’s my rule – computer off by 10:30.

I found I’d be getting to bed at least 30 minutes later when I didn’t enforce my computer rule because I forgot about tidying the desk, doing my bedtime routine, etc.

So my question to you is this – are you getting enough sleep?

Most adults don’t get enough sleep and we’re all functioning (or not) at below-par levels of productivity and simply, life enjoyment.

I need 7 hours a night. On the weekends I get an extra hour and sometimes even an afternoon nap with the babies, also known as my two-year-old twins.

Do you know how much sleep your body needs?

The other day Gretchen Rubin, the author of The Happiness Project, wrote a post asking about bedtimes.

She said something interesting in that once you set a bedtime (we now know mine is 11 or 12, depending how you look at it), if you ignore your bedtime, you’re then consciously choosing to do what you were doing instead of going to bed.

I love it!

So here’s this week’s coaching challenge:

– What is your wake-up time?
– Work back at least 7 hours. That is the time you have to be asleep by.
– How long do you need before falling asleep? Subtract that time.
– Also subtract time for your bedtime routine – face, teeth, reading, etc.
– For the next week, set an alarm or reminder in your phone or computer that says “go to bed”.
– Keep track of your productivity the following day as you start getting enough sleep and let me know how you feel by posting in the comments.
– If you need help getting control of your time, let me coach you! Email me now.Google



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