Happy Easter weekend!! I'm kicking off this, hopefully relaxing, weekend with a post from my Balance Series on feeling your best. One of the main reasons I feel I am able to stay motivated, accomplish my goals, and pursue my dreams is by taking the time to feel my best. Below are my top 7 tips on feeling your best. :) Enjoy and have a delightful Friday!
1. Sleep ---> During college, my normal bedtime was 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning. My classes would be at 9:45 or 11:00 the next day and I would run on 4-6 hours of sleep for four years. I always felt slow, tired, and not very motivated. But I forced myself to push through. I wasn't my best. After graduation, the weight of the amount of work and responsibilities was lifted off my shoulders and I felt fantastic! Initially, Jon and I tried to sleep like college students during our first few months of marriage, but quickly realized in order to have enough energy for our 9-5 jobs, each other, our families, our passions, and our home...we needed to be disciplined and sleep! We've recently implemented a "bed time" during the week. Once 10:00pm roles around, it's our time to wind down, watch a show together in bed, cuddle, and dose off to sleep. We've been able to have 7-9 hours of sleep each night and it's made a world of difference in our daily//weekly productivity and motivation. Our bodies have become trained to get tired sooner, we sleep better and we are beginning to naturally wake up better. Although Jon is still way better about that then me! ;)
Challenge: How much sleep do you need to feel great?? Set a bedtime and wake-up time for yourself and try it out for one month.
2. Get Ready ---> Luckily with my job, I'm able to work a couple days from home each week. There are times when I feel much more motivated on the days I go into work versus the days I stay home. One of the main reasons for this I've found is that on the days I go into work I get up, shower, put on something I like, do my hair and my make-up. This usually takes me about 45 minutes each morning and I leave our apartment feeling awake and ready for my day. Flipping over to the days when I work from home...I don't always take the time to get ready. I'll roll out of bed, brush my teeth, put some moisturizer on, find some of Jon's pj's, and happily wear them around the house all day. Am I comfy? Yes! Am I too sleepy and dreary throughout the day? YES. Taking the time to get ready each morning is so important. Spend some time on yourself and get ready to face your day. It's important to love on yourself and what better way to do that than kick off the morning with some self love?
Challenge: Get ready everyday for one week. Don't have a lot of time in the morning? Lay out your clothes, make-up, and accessories the night before to save time on deciding in the morning.
3. You Time ---> We all need some time away from the "to-do's" of life. Some people re-charge when they are completely alone and others re-charge when they're with people, oftentimes close friends and//or family. I tend to lean more towards being with people, but I definitely have times when I just need to be alone. "You Time" can look like spending alone time or spending time with others. It's about finding those moments where you feel refreshed and can get away from the routine. Jon and I do this a couple different ways throughout the week. Every Wednesday, Jon and I have date night. This is our special time each week to be together, see my post about it here. :) On Sundays we have "family day"...this is our Sabbath. We go to church in the morning, visit my parents for lunch, visit his parents for dinner, and wrap up the end of the week together. We love being able to get out of our apartment, be together and spend time with our families. Having a set bedtime like tip #1 is another way we have "You Time". We get a chance to get away, wind down, and be together each night before we fall asleep. Ways I like to have alone "You Time" is spending time writing out ideas in my journal, walking around Target, and watching a show alone. :)
Challenge: Write out a list of things that make you feel re-charged. How can you include them in your weekly schedule?? Make it a goal to have 1-3 "you time's" each week. Even if it's just taking 15 minutes to paint your nails! Do something to re-charge.
4. Grow ---> It's important not to stagnate in life. I truly believe that challenging yourself to grow, or accomplish new things, is an important part of life and an extremely important component in feeling your best. Take time to get to know and develop yourself. I really loved studying development tools like Strengths Finder and The Enneagram. These tools have helped me develop a better understanding of the way I naturally see the word and the strengths I lean toward. What do you want to do with your life? What are your passions? Hobbies? Interests? What makes you feel alive? Understanding yourself is a great way to better see the ways you can grow yourself and the type of goals you should set for yourself. One way I challenge myself to grow on a creative level is by creating a goal list every year, working on my marriage continually, and looking at ways I need to improve personally and setting simple action items for myself. Accomplishing new things and seeing improvement in myself is thrilling and extremely motivating.
Challenge: Challenge yourself to grow in a new way. Write out your goal, follow up by writing out action items that will help you accomplish your new goal and make time to check up on your progress. When you feel that you've accomplished your goal or made great strides, treat yourself!
5. Health ---> This is a major area that I need to work on personally. I've never been great about eating well and exercising. This year has really been a huge perspective shift for me in realizing that I'm getting older...Jon and I will someday soon want to start a family and I so desire to be full of health and energy for my husband, pregnant body,...and children. I want to keep up with them and feel great. I want my children to have thousands of memories of their father and mother playing with them. I've been working on developing a better dinner menu and trying to get out of my old college eating habits. Jon and I have been working to replace unhealthy snacks with healthy alternatives and I'm DETERMINED to start taking advantage of the beautiful and FREE gym we have at work. No excuses!
Challenge: How do you need to improve in your health? Eating? Set a goal to cook something healthy once a week. Try substituting favorite snacks or drinks for a healthier alternative. What about exercise? Just do something! Ten minutes of exercise when you wake up, go on a run, have a free gym? Use it! Does the thought of exercising make you feel bored and uninterested? Buy a fun dancing video and act crazy in your home, try taking a fun class with a friend. It might help to find a friend that can hold you accountable and help you find great recipes//workout with you.
6. Feel ---> Ok let's be real. Sometimes we just need to cry, laugh, freak out, dance, be a droopy mess, vent...feelings are not bad. Letting them get out of control or holding them in until you burst is. There have been times when I hurt my finger, and just busted out crying. I just needed to cry and I went ahead and let it all out. Jon would hold me, pat my back...and afterward I would feel amazing. I wasn't necessarily sad about anything, I just needed to cry. I did. And it felt great. Or the times when my friends and I were in a car, we would get overcome by excitement and just scream. Let it out! Warning: if you are needing an emotion venting moment and you're not alone, make sure you are in trusted company. Being with loving family or friends who can laugh or cry with you is better than strangers. ;) Allowing yourself to feel is very freeing and feels much better than storing all that icky (or not so icky) up!
Challenge: Next time to have a strong emotion. Let it out! If it's joy, dance around the room, scream, laugh, get funky. If you need to cry, let yourself cry...don't even worry about making an ugly crying face. ;)
7. Stop ---> And finally, learn to stop. Our culture is constantly telling us to go, go, go. Wake up early, work 40-60 hours per week, entertain friends, be constantly connected, keep up with the latest news, movies, books and shows, spend time with your family, keep up with the chores, make yummy meals, run errands, do the budget, go to events....just stop. Sometimes we need to sit in a quite place, not speak and just reflect, pray, meditate, or rest. Growing up, I used to hear about a mommy who had tons of kids. Everyday for 5-10 minutes she would sit in the kitchen, throw her apron over her head and be quiet. Her kids knew when she did this to let her be and be quiet themselves. I've always loved that picture and I think it's so important to be still. Sometimes, I like to just sit quietly, close my eyes, pray, and reflect on what I'm thankful for.
Challenge: Today, take 5-10 minutes to stop and be quiet.
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I hope these tips have been helpful to inspire you to feeling your best!! I know I personally need to take some of these challenges to heart. I very much desire to live a full life, but I need to remember to work towards being my best and feeling my best. :) What do you do weekly to feel your best??