Wednesday, September 2, 2015

My Happiness Project: September

Have you read this book?

If so, you probably understand why I want to start my own Happiness Project! This book is incredibly inspiring and the premise is simple: focus on one area of your life each month that you would like to make improvements in and continue that pattern for a full year.

I also feel like now is a great time for me to begin this project because from what I've heard, transitioning to motherhood is challenging (and wonderful!) for various reasons. One of those reasons could be that as moms we set aside our own needs and desires because there's an adorable tiny person who needs our constant love and attention! If this gets too extreme, we become depleted and long for the growth and achievement we seemed to have so readily before motherhood. A happiness project is a simple way to check in with ourselves, set goals and celebrate growth!

While considering many areas I could focus on for the month of September, I ultimately decided on my body. Nine months of pregnancy and recovering from delivery can make you feel like your body has sort of been hijacked, so for September I am choosing to "Restore My Body". This restoration will not involve before and after photos or really a focus on the exterior of my body at all, but will instead revolve around these three sub categories:

- Improve my posture
- Practice yoga daily
- Give myself a bedtime

Improve my posture
I've found that how I sit or stand has a major effect on how I think and ultimately how I act. When I sit with good posture, I feel energized which allows me to think more clearly, work efficiently and feel inspired. It's really amazing how it's all connected! Gretchen Rubin, the author of The Happiness Project, has a saying that we should "act the way we want to feel," and good posture demonstrates that principle.

It's safe to say my decent posture has slowly deteriorated over the past few years. Growing up I did a lot of three things: singing, dancing and playing the piano. All require a certain form of posture, and maintaining it in pretty much every area of my life wasn't even something I had to think about it. When I went to college, however, I got lazy with my sitting posture. I spent more time than ever hunched over a computer studying at the library and before I knew it the little muscles that let me sit decently without thinking were nowhere to be found! I tried to do better, but it was always a major effort. Cue graduation and a full time job where I spent most of my time on a computer editing video footage for two years, and I would come home every single day with an aching neck and upper back. Add pregnancy to that mix... yikes!

Needless to say, it's time for me to buckle down on my posture. This month I'm going to sit up a little straighter and be more aware of my posture at all times.

Practice yoga daily
The first time I went to a yoga class I was about 14 years old. I thought it was the weirdest, most boring thing in the world and told myself I didn't need it. Somehow, I found myself in "yogalates" (yoga + pilates) a few months later and absolutely fell in love with it! From then on I did a mix of yogalates and yoga through high school and college. While I do find it difficult sometimes to want to slow my mind down enough to enjoy a full yoga class, I always leave feeling so glad that I went.

In Utah, Jason and I had a yoga membership, and when we moved to Arizona we wanted to save money so we bought this app for $3.99 and I love it just as much! I love that I can do a quick 15 minute session before bed, or 30 minutes in the morning before I shower during Wells' nap, rather than always having to drive to a studio and do an entire hour or 90-minute class. I highly recommend it!

I'm hoping that practicing yoga daily will help me feel more energized (and relaxed, funny how that happens!) while strengthening and stretching my muscles -- which should improve my posture as well.

Give myself a bedtime
After a month of going to bed at midnight (or later), waking up every 2-4 hours and sleeping at weird times during the day (pre-dinner nap anyone?), it's time to get my body on a more regular schedule! Wells pretty much does the same thing every evening so I have no excuse not to hop on a schedule right along with him. My goal is to be in bed with the lights out at 10:30. Jason and I both have kindles and enjoy reading a bit before bed, so that means we should be in bed reading at 10:00, so we can be asleep by 10:30.

One of the biggest (and silliest) hurdles for me to actually get to bed on time is getting ready for bed! Why is it that something so small can stop us from getting the rest we desperately need? Even when I'm exhausted, I will delay going to bed just because I don't want to floss. It makes no sense. Because of this I'm setting a goal to get ready for bed by 9:00 so I can have that last hour of the day to clean up, make sure Wells is settled and spend time with Jason.

Alright then, it's go time. My Happiness Project begins today! Actually it began yesterday, but I'm just writing about it today. I think that means I need a month dedicated to procrastination...

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