As our world slowly reopens, our old, pre-pandemic habits could resurface and collide with the new habits we cultivated over the past year and a half.
In my free guide, 10 Practices to Move From Confusion to Clarity, I ask people to consider the new habits they brought into their lives since the pandemic hit.
It may all seem like a blur. I mean, the reality is that on a global level we’re still not out of this pandemic madness yet even if you have completely managed to shift out of it all mentally!
How do we integrate something into the web of daily life so it is not seen as an “action item” anymore? How can we maintain the new, healthy habits cultivated recently?
There are so many things I can talk about in a blog post on this topic, such as how to continue to eat healthy, homemade food instead of eating out or how to maintain focus on exercising even though you are back to a car commute that eliminates the time once allotted for exercise.
But, I thought I’d just share with you some of the ways I have been using very simple technology to transform my (old) habit of staying up way to late each night into a healthier way of being that contributes positively to my life!
No, I’m not going to encourage you to buy an expensive gadget that will measure your breath and send the information to a lab on the Space Shuttle and beam it back to you with a wellness plan that promises to make all parts of your life better.
This technology is so simple and the benefits are great. Just use your phone alarm and a spreadsheet and VOILA! You can go to bed at a specific time so that you not only get a decent night’s sleep, but you will also be a kind and patient person the next day because of your restful sleep!
I have a habit of staying up too late for my own good. I am an expert on procrastination at my own bedtime. It seems that I can always find something to sort, clean, or watch. Plus, there’s always the endless social media scroll.
I am my own worst enemy when it comes to self-care in this domain of life!
But something I’ve done over the past few months has been a gamechanger.
I strive to get 7 hours of sleep. For some reason – thanks to hormones and being woken up early each morning for so many years (thanks, kids!), I am able to function fairly well on 6.5 hours of sleep. So much so, that I just allot myself that much time as I am going to bed.
But often I don’t give myself “wiggle room” if I have something on my mind and can’t get my brain to slow down (despite meditating most days).
When this happens, my brain kicks in and I start to worry that I won’t get enough sleep and I will be tired the next day! The vicious falling asleep circle!
So, I have found that if allot myself at the very least 7 hours to be in a horizontal position on my bed, I can usually get a little more sleep in and be even more refreshed.
Here’s where the SIMPLE technology comes in.
As soon as my kids go to sleep (or, the time I hope they go to sleep – around 9 pm), a soothing, non-jarring alarm rings on my phone to let me know that it’s time to close down the house and my mind for the day and shift into the dream state.
You know what I’m talking about when I say close things down for the night, right? The 238 things that need to be handled the night before a new day starts to make the routine for every family member go smoothly in the morning. Handling this stuff prior to sunrise helps create a nice family flow and decreases little bickering matches between siblings or parents.
For example, when I plan well in the evening on a Monday night so many things about my Tuesday just runs better.
After the kid’s go to sleep, I give myself 30 minutes to complete as much as possible. Then, I move into bedtime prep mode (reading, meditating or even spending time with my husband, depending on what he’s up to).
Keeping track of my bedtime and sleep time helps me to stay accountable to ME. I have a spreadsheet that I use to note my progress. Each morning, after I get 6.5 hours of solid sleep, I add that info to my spreadsheet. If I happen to get more sleep, I add and celebrate that, too!
Adding the alarm reminder, giving myself a specific amount of time to complete the necessary nightly tasks and tracking my progress have been helpful to more restful nights and smoother days.
In the past, I could easily waste time until midnight, then beat myself up over the lost sleep I would not get that night. My kids don’t care if I stay up late – they want my attention in the morning – so it’s all about an intentional bedtime for me.
Nightly repetition makes the next sunrise even sweeter. Consistency is key and has helped to make this transition easier each day when I feel resistant to this new routine. This habit is like a muscle that is getting stronger each day, and the benefits are helpful to me and everyone around me!
What are the new, healthy habits you’ve brought into the world that help your days feel more calm, peaceful and in the flow?
(P.S. I highly encourage you to get more than 6.5 hours of sleep each night if you can!)