My Road to Routine: Healthy Habits – Week 3

Written by  in category 
February 20, 2017
alarm clock, healthy habits, routine

I’m on a road: a road to developing a set of healthy habits. And as you read in week 2, this is an uphill battle to which I commit myself. 

Routine behaviors – healthy habits – are a great way to establish a set of regular practices that carry benefits to your mental and physical health. The goal is to make these a natural part of your schedule – as natural as brushing your teeth in the morning. At that point, these natural activities – your healthy habits – can provide a regular stream of feel-good hormones (endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin) that keep your mood up, and your mind engaged on positive emotions. Sounds pretty useful.

Weekly progress

Three weeks down. Are you following along? Let’s keep it going!

If you ever want a full report-out of your results, let me know and I’ll compile for you.

Week 3 – February 13th to February 19th:

  1. Exercise: Two weeks in a row! Was not as sore as my first week back, which is good. Now I can slowly ramp up the intensity and get back into the groove of things.
  2. Sleep: BETTER, but still not quite there. I got better quality sleep than the prior to two weeks and was able to fall asleep much easier and much more consistently. I found it challenging to wake up in the morning (VERY challenging), and found myself drowsy throughout the days. Overall, definitely improvement. We’ll call this week “yellow”. 🙂 
  3. Reading: Boom. The staple in my routine is sinking in. Almost done with For Whom the Bell Tolls. I intend to be done by next week’s status update.
  4. Writing: Boom times 2! I didn’t write as many as the prior week, but I was able to finish up a number of pending poems. Here is this week’s poem of the week. (below the table). Always open to feedback.
  5. “Quiet time”: I am finding that quiet time can happen at any moment you choose. It does not matter where you are, or what you are doing. All that matters is that you take that moment, and decided to make it yours. You could do this with each and every moment if you choose, in fact. So yes, another successful week finding quiet time each day.

Overall: Moving in the right direction! I consider all of week 3 a success. I was fortunate enough to hear some words of wisdom from a generous reader. She told me that I should cut myself some slack. That the progress I have been able to make is wonderful, and that my week should be a success, even though I may have fallen a bit short in one area. This week I was working on “routine”. I found my way to the coffee shop most mornings during the week and found that to be a fantastic way to put a routine in place. In fact, I am at a coffee shop right now writing up this article!

Healthy HabitWeek 1Week 2Week 3
Exercisesad facehappy facehappy face
Sleepsad facesad faceneutral face
Readinghappy facehappy facehappy face
Writingneutralfacehappy facehappy face
Quiet Timehappy facehappy facehappy face
OVERALLneutral faceneutral facehappy face

 

The bees and the trees
dance in the breeze – 
singing inspired harmonies.

When out of the blue,
in this peaceful milieu,
trots in an oblivious caribou.

The bees and their buddies
say he looks funny
as they brew the sweetest honey.

But the caribou is sly;
he knows it’s just a short climb
to find the hive and into the honey he will dive.

While the tree branches snap,
bark peels back,
dripping the purest sap,

The climb brings him close
to the sweetest honey’s host,
so he readies his freshly warmed toast.

On the way down he gets stuck
in the sticky sap – YUCK!
So he sips his fresh-brewed roast,
nibbles on his honey and toast,
while he awaits the sticky grip to give up.
(I hope he has a lot of toast!)

~A. Hanna

This poem is a bit of a mystery to me, even though I wrote it (sometimes it happens like that). Perhaps it is a children’s poem or story. Perhaps it means something which I have yet to identify. Either way, it must mean something. If you have thoughts, or would like to offer up your interpretation, send them here. I would love to hear what you think.

Next week’s plan-for-success

In Week 4, my focus is the ever-elusive sleep. By now, I regularly go to bed at (roughly) the same time each night but I find that waking up is still difficult. I know it just takes willpower to get out of bed and I have the strength to do it. I now need the resolve. My body tries to wake me up around 6:15 am each day, but I decide to just roll back over and sleep a little more. Time to put the excuses to bed (pun intended). Let’s see what happens!

My five healthy habits: recap

Here is a recap of my five healthy habits: on my journey to destroy depression and anxiety, the five healthy habits I decided to focus on are exercise, sleep, reading, writing, and “quiet time”. Nothing novel here, but some things many find excuses not to do. Well, no more excuses. Time to make health a priority.

  1. Exercise: actively work out at least three (3) days a week in the gym. I signed up for a gym membership, and am determined to get my three days in every week.
  2. Sleep: go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. For me: 8 hours (11 pm to 7 am). I’ve not been on to get enough sleep. Time to change that.
  3. Reading: each day, read from a book with actual pages. Archaic. Doesn’t have to be a lot of reading. I’ve found the best time to read is right before bed. I’ll spend 20 minutes reading, then hit the lights. 
  4. Writing: this is something I do for me: with paper and pen. This may not be an activity you opt in to, but nonetheless, it is one the health habits I have chosen to add to my routine.
  5. “Quiet time”: simply being in the moment. Electronics off, books closed, distractions eliminated. I may light a candle, listen to the mini-waterfall we have in our “zen room”, or listen to soothing music. 15 minutes of quiet time to remind me to slow down, enjoy the now. 

I may not succeed in all five areas each week. What I will do, however, is determine how to continue progressing. If I didn’t meet my goal in one area, my plan will include ways to make sure I succeed the upcoming week. If I was successful in an area, my plan will be to maintain the practices which lead to that success. Each week I will put in my 100%. Even if I slip up one day, it does not mean my entire week is shot. Every tomorrow is a new day to succeed. Every moment is an opportunity to flip your perspective, reset, and recommit.

Join me

If you’re already following along, be sure to log your progress:

If you ever want a full report-out of your results, let me know and I’ll compile for you.

This journey on which I have embarked is not intended to be a mere diary of my own progress. I encourage you to take this opportunity to join me on this journey. If you are beginning your own routine to form healthy habits, write a comment below, or send me an email at alex@challengethestorm.org. Together, we’ll do this.

Alex Hanna

Alex Hanna

By day, Alex works as a technologist. By night, he runs Challenge the Storm. Suffering from depression and anxiety, himself, he dedicates every day to help one single person. Something as small as putting a smile on someone else's face may have a bigger impact than you think.

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