Wednesday, September 16, 2020

More Energy, More Accomplished

I have had some get up and go energy back this week. Yay!

My primary goal was simply to stay on top of cleaning. The dusting and floors always seem to be the first that I let go, but I did get them done this week. I always like a fresh clean slate. I did the floors one day and the dusting the next. 

I am very good at keeping up with dishes and our master bathroom. We run the dishwasher every night regardless of whether it is full or not, so this is simply a habit formed a few years ago that was a game changer. The master bathroom is never my desired cleaning chore. I noticed this week, I just intuitively felt that Friday was the best day to clean it based on things going on. If I remember right, Friday may have been my regular day...maybe I will get back to that. Turns out it really only takes 20 minutes. And usually once I have cleaning supplies out I take another 20-30 minutes to touch up clean the other two bathrooms. 

I spent a little bit of time on holiday preparations, too!

Week Two of the Holiday Grand Plan at Organized Home, was titled Calendar and Creativity. 

First I went through my Christmas planner (a three ring notebook) to pull out the calendar and notes from last year. I read my wrap up note about what we did and didn't do which included notes about things to remember for this year. There were a couple stocking stuffer ideas that were a hit, so those will be on repeat. I will not make fudge too early as it wasn't quite as good from the freezer.  I will not bake as many cookies either!

I printed this years free Christmas calendar pages from Uncluttered Simplicity, in addition to a few notes pages and a gift list page. With pages printed, I added some important dates. It's been such the year that I'm not sure what the travel plans will be, but I know at least two out of the four of us are likely to be flying somewhere. 

One tip from the Holiday Grand Plan is to declutter craft spaces, particularly if making Christmas gifts. I have sewn some items the last few years, usually on the spur of the moment. I do not currently have plans to make gifts, but I did take 15 minutes this past week to declutter my fabric. Fabric I like I saved. Fabric I no longer like and extra scraps that are too small to use were tossed. 

The motivation is back to get some things done. It feels good to have the Grand Holiday Plan by Organized Home as a guide. It isn't all that I do, but it sparks some ideas of what I can work on now to prepare our home for the holidays to come! 

What are you up to this week? Are you decluttering, decorating, planning, or cleaning? Are you preparing for the holidays yet? 

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Holiday and Home Preparations

Happy Fall Ya'll! 

Many of the children are back to school or at least in a new school routine. The weather is slightly cooler in many places. The sun rises later and sets earlier. Fall is upon us. The year is beginning to wind down and some of us have set our eyes to the holidays.

I have loosely followed various internet organizers and planners over the last several years to help me create my own plans and preparations for the fall and winter holidays, in addition to keeping a tidy home and sense of order at the same time.

I have already begun because this site, Organized Home, started the Holiday Grand Plan at the very end of August! Seems early I know, however, I have found the key to a relaxed holiday really is starting early. Spending time thinking through what expectations are, and simply making plans well in advance, rather than in a panic! 

Last week, I made time to clean up paperwork as suggested. I didn't go deep into long term files. I simply took the pile I stash near the kitchen and brought it up to date. Think the STOP method...sort, toss, organize and put away. Most of my papers were receipts and other short term documents. All of those were shredded! Now my pile is just a few notes and papers I need for the next month or so. If you are new to my blog, you might check here for posts I have done on my paper purge! 

In addition to paper, I pulled out my Christmas Planner that I have been using for several years. This week, I plan to print some calendar pages to refresh it. I will also review what I have in there from last year and reprint any new pages that I might need, usually the gift list page and a sheet that says "To Do", which reminds me of the major tasks that must get done as the season progresses. This link shows you my planner from last year and has links to free printables I found (these may no longer work or be free). 

Some of us are likely not able to think one minute about Christmas. However, even fall can get busy with the desire to do fall activities, find costumes and plan for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Most planners suggest small 15 minute sessions a few times a week to make progress. Some of that time may be researching ideas, or making a phone call for appointments. Consider that your goal for September and October focuses on those plans before you jump in for Christmas. 

Are you ready to start preparing for the end of the year? For the holidays? Or is it just too soon?

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Health Habits: Exercise

Let's talk about my exercise habit.

I have been walking for exercise for quite a few years now. It's nearly a daily habit. I walk for 30 minutes or about 1.5 miles, usually on a track very close to our home.  While I have lifted weights in a gym in the past, it is not part of my current routine. I know that long term it would be best to get back to do something in addition to walking for my physical health. 

As I set out this month to make some improvements, I decided to extend the length of my walk to 2 miles, or 40 minutes of walking in an effort to increase my walking time closer to an hour. It is quite warm and humid where I live so anything beyond 40 minutes, even in the early morning is a little too taxing on my body. As the weather cools, I think it will be easy to walk longer.

In choosing to add something else to my routine, I felt something simple was the first step. I need to develop the habit of simply doing something first. I can expand it after I make it more of a habit. At least that is how I am thinking about it right now. I wrote down squats and pushups and then remembered the nitric oxide dump (NOD) workout, which takes just four minutes. Several people demonstrate it on YouTube, but I like this one by Dr. Zach Bush. 

So far, I have opted for the NOD workout every time. I have been inconsistent on when I do the exercises. I did them once before I left the house for my walk. I did them twice after my walk. And another day I did the exercises in the moments before I got into the shower. I need to get the 'when' of this habit figured out, but ultimately just doing the exercises is the most important. 

I am in the baby step part of building my habits this month. It all counts, we have to begin somewhere. We often declutter a drawer before we take on a full closet. We need practice and experience to build our physical muscles, just as we do the decluttering muscle. This is my own reminder that I should be kind to myself as I work out what my new workout habit is. 

Do you do strength training? If you do it at home, when do you do it? 

Healthy Habits: Affirmations

Let's talk about my affirmation habit.

So much has changed in our outer world in the last few months, much of it that can have us feeling worry and fear. These thoughts and feelings can perpetuate themselves, building their own momentum. Our mental health is going to be important as we continue to move forward, as the mind believes what we tell it. I want to stay mentally well in the coming months, thus the reason I picked this as a healthy habit. 

I first learned about affirmations from my high school track coach. The mind is so powerful, that these statements can help bring about the belief in one's ability and at least counteract when our mind has doubts or negative thoughts. 

There are many, many people who write about affirmations, so I will encourage you to do your own search for the affirmation statements that might be right for you. I picked four to work on and listen to. I expect I will switch them up at some point, or add to them. 

I am focusing on my affirmations for the first ten minutes while I am on my morning walk. I found a free app called Think Up where I recorded my four affirmations in my own voice. 

I have now linked my affirmations practice with my walk. This is my favorite way to incorporate new habits by linking them to an existing one. 

Have you heard of affirmations? Do you practice them regularly? 


Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Healthy Habits: Meditation

I'm a meditator. I have been since 2008 when I started dealing with anxiety. Meditation has so many benefits, but for me it gives my mind and body a way to relax for a little while. I nearly crave it daily now.

I added meditation to my daily healthy habits challenge this month because I wanted to try a 21 day meditation experience with Deepak Chopra. It was suggested by my sister and was a welcome offer, after another 21 day meditation for weight loss experience didn't pan out. You can find the meditation I'm following here.

I have been 100% successful in completing each day of this meditation experience so far! I am enjoying it for the most part, although I'm not used to having it all explained to me for the first six minutes each day. I am committed to seeing it through. 

I have been doing this meditation after my walk. I sit outside on my back porch listening to it through the app. It takes just 15 minutes and I'm relaxed and ready to continue my day. 

Do you meditate? What other ways do you find to relax your mind and body?

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Healthy Habits: Water

I love water!

However, I want to be more consistent drinking enough. 

Enough is probably subjective depending on weather and how many fruits and vegetables we eat. I chose to drink 3 liters of water. I tend to drink out of these quart jars, which hold 32 ounces. One liter is slightly more than 32 ounces, but this container works for me. 

After I drink a full jar worth of water, I make note on my chart. It's true, I'm not consistent with how I mark it, but I'm successful every day getting my water in just knowing this is my goal for each day. 

I do have one tip to try if you don't like the flavor of plain water. Add lemon to your water! Not so much that you are drinking lemonade or overpowered by the tart taste. I usually squeeze in one half of a lemon for each of these jars. It helps me drink even more water and lemon is natural compared to other additives sold in stores.

Hydration is so important to the body as it helps many functions of the body to operate effectively and efficiently Water is a significant key to living a vibrant and healthy life. How much water do you drink everyday?

Friday, August 7, 2020

Healthy Habits Progress

I'm nearly to the end of my first week of the Healthy Habits Challenge! 

I thought you might like an update on my progress. This post is just the highlights and sneak peek at my tracking chart. In the coming days (while I'm on vacation), I will post more details on each area. 

I have met my water goal, exercise, meditation, affirmation and social media goals every day. Yes, I'm doing five healthy habits consistently! My walking goal is the easiest as I was already doing that everyday. I have just added two extra laps to my normal routine.

I'm struggling a little with my healthy eating. It's not that I am eating terribly, because I have still had salads and smoothies, and met some of my goals in that category everyday. I know that these goals will get easier in time. I'm pondering if the goals were not defined well, or if I am just disappointed that I cannot check them off easier. On two of them I can't really check them off as complete until I am done eating for the day.  

My goal for healthy eating overall is to eat clean as much as possible. This means plenty of fruits and vegetables, limited animal protein, low or no processed carbs such as pasta, bread, crackers or chips. And little to no sugar too! I may need to figure out another way to track this. I am open to ideas! 

Here's my chart. I'm making note at the bottom of each column with how many out of the nine habits I am completing each day. 

The upcoming posts are more thoughts on the specific goals I worked on and how I am making them new habits. I expect I will shift my goals while on vacation, so I will share that when I return. 

Give me an update on any health goals you are working on!