Going home/Coming home

My husband and I went to visit my family and best friend this weekend. I needed that more than I realized at the time. I don’t think I stopped smiling on Saturday. We went to the zoo with my parents, and it was great. I haven’t been to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in ages and it’s really a great zoo. It was a tad on the rainy side, though, and the animals were not as active as we’d hoped, but it was fun. We laughed a lot and joked with my parents, and I needed that happy time. I needed to be with them and my husband. We then spent the evening with my best friend and her husband. We were married at their house so it has lots of happy memories for us. Had a great meal, great drinks, and eventually my husband and my best friend passed out and I got to spend some time chatting with her husband (like we did back in the old days). After a good (if slightly broken) sleep, my husband went for a run while the three of us went on a nice long walk, we got breakfast from our favorite place, then we headed back to PA. The weekend was lovely, and I needed the time away with family and friends far more than I had realized going in. I needed the break in routine, the change of pace and scenery.

That said, going away for the weekend is always a little tough. Coming back to reality, without the usual weekend preparation time is difficult. I usually go into the next week a little frazzled and trying to play catch up. This is no different, though we did manage to do most of the grocery shopping, and some of the laundry which helps tremendously. I still feel behind the 8-ball. There were things I forgot about while I was gone that I’m now scrambling to take care of. My already tight schedule is going through the vise as I run additional errands and try to get just a little more done in the day. There’s always some kind of trade off, and I guess the point is that this time it is really worth it. Despite the pressures of not being where I want to be to start the week, I’m relaxed from the restorative time with family and friends. And ultimately, I know that the things that need to happen will. Either way, the week is starting whether I like it or not.

Ready, set, GO!

Revamping my routine

We’re all creatures of habit, but I seem to be especially so. I like structure and routine. I like planning and checking things off the list. I’m an early riser, not sure if that’s by nature from years of not having a choice as a kid, but at any rate I get up far earlier than most would deem normal or necessary. I also go to bed far earlier than most would find normal. But that’s my life and I like it. Though lately I’ve been feeling stuck in my routine and like it’s just not serving me.

I’m big into listening to podcasts on my commutes, I find them more stimulating than music and far more appealing than talk radio because I control the subject matter. One of my regular podcasts is the 5 AM Miracle podcast with Jeff Sanders. It’s all about productivity and geared toward getting the most out of your day by getting up early and hitting the ground running. He talks a lot about routines and your ‘ideal’ morning. Although frequently I’m not into the actual advice given, the spirit of the show is motivating to me. And this week in particular he was discussing 7 things to do before 7 AM. The big one for him is to exercise in the morning, and that resonated with me.

I’m an early riser, but I don’t always use my morning time well. I’m not an early morning exerciser. I’m just not. I wish I could be, but when I’ve tried I don’t get a good workout because I am literally just going through the motions. And while I can get up and go when the situation calls for it, I much prefer a more gradual wake up–I like my coffee and kitty snuggles. Still, I want to use my time well, I want to be productive and go into my day feeling accomplished. So I’ve realized morning is a good time for me to write, to get focused on the day and what I really want before I head to what pays the bills. I can do that with a cup of coffee on one side and a cat on the other.

That said, I’m also an avid exerciser. I love fitness. But even my habits in that realm have slipped. When I was single and my time was purely my own I had a regular routine that I was very diligent about. Flash forward to new marriage with a husband to work around, new day job, new home in a different area (with a substantial commute), and I’ve struggled to create a new routine–in part because I’ve tried unsuccessfully to make it happen in the morning. I take a kettlebell class twice a week after work and most of the time that seems to be an ideal time for me to work out, I have energy, I can get out frustration from the day, and I feel good when I’m done. While many will say the best time to work out is in the morning, and I hear their points, I’m a firm believer that the best time to work out is when you will do it (and the best workout is the one you will do). Doing beats not doing. So for now, post-work workouts will be the plan.

I’m working to accomplish two goals–to write more and to work out more consistently–by flipping my schedule and being intentional. I’m hoping that making my goals and plans public will also encourage consistency by keeping me accountable. Let’s see how this works, shall we?