My Road to Routine: Healthy Habits – Week 5

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March 7, 2017
healthy habits

I’m on a road: a road to developing a set of healthy habits. And as you read in week 4, this is an uphill battle to which I commit myself. I am finding, however, that I am being kinder to myself as I go along the journey – something we all can do a little more of (in my ever-so-humble opinion).

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 5 – February 27th to March 5th:

Exercise

Ruh roh. I didn’t get in my workouts this past week. Almost, but not quite, and almost is not good enough. I made decisions to do other things when I could have decided to work out. I won’t sit here and make excuses for why I did not get them all in, but I will vow to do a better job this week.

Sleep

Still improving. Finding my days where my alarm is my wakeup call; no snoozing, just getting up, getting showered, and getting on with my day. Absolutely trending upwards, still, which is great. I’m not at my target yet, but I feel better and better about my progress.

Reading

I am really enjoying Brave New World. Two few days, however, I opted for sleeping over reading. Warn out and tired, I chose to go directly to sleep instead of reading a chapter before bed. Willfulness got the better of me, this past week. But it won’t this week.

Writing

Boom, I did good here. I wrote a good amount, and in a way that I am proud of. I didn’t just write for the sake of checking a box. Also, and this is particularly exciting for me, I selected the first set of poem I am going to edit, which will serve as the foundation of my first published work! Yes you heard that right. I plan on self-publishing a volume of poems and now I embark on the ever-so-tedious journey of editing. 

Quiet Time

With effort and focus, I made the time this past week to spend on quiet time. It doesn’t just magically happen, sadly. But with my focus on week 5 to regain momentum with my quiet time, I was able to come through with the dedication and claim victory!

OVERALL

Still going strong, even with a slip of the foot. My week doesn’t look quite as good as some of the prior weeks. I am not discouraged, however, because I know that I begin a new week full of possibilities. Working out and reading, this past week, took a back seat to sleep: a tradeoff I decided to take. Even with that tradeoff, I was able to improve on my quiet time, and even on my sleep. I don’t consider this past week a failure but rather a necessary step to the rear. It helped me regain perspective on a few things, and for that I am thankful. So now it’s time to make week 6 a great week!

Healthy HabitWeek 1Week 2Week 3Week 4Week 5
Exercisesad facehappy facehappy facehappy faceneutral face
Sleepsad facesad faceneutral faceneutral faceneutral face
Readinghappy facehappy facehappy facehappy faceneutral face
Writingneutralfacehappy facehappy facehappy facehappy face
Quiet Timehappy facehappy facehappy faceneutral facehappy face
OVERALLneutral faceneutral facehappy facehappy faceneutral face

 

I open my eyes, you seal them tight.
Staple the lids down, black out the light.
Protect my sleepy eyes from sight.
I’m yours. I’m your’s, through the unending night.

The down breaks to morning delight.
Rising warmth from your smile, bright.
Darkness fades – powerless to your might.
You take your place in the highest of heights.

~A. Hanna

Week 5’s featured poem finds a pivot in the middle. It could have ended after the first stanza, but I chose to keep it moving along; I chose to pivot to something brighter. There is something romantic about the first light of dawn: the way in which it chases away the darkness. There is power and might in that abilities, but the fun in poetry learning the meaning which others find in it. Send your thoughts on what it means to you here. I would love to hear what you think.

Next week’s plan-for-success

Week 6, shifting my focus to reading. We’re taking a few days and having a little vacation of sorts. I’d like to make a good dent in Brave New World, if not finish it. I have decided on the next book already but I need to finish the one I’m on, first! This should help me keep my eye on reading. I am a little worried about exercise this week, so I will have to play it by ear. If I don’t make my goal, it won’t be for lack of effort. I’ll do what I can, with the means I have at my disposal. Let’s see how it goes! 

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 technology consultant. By night, he runs Challenge the Storm. Suffering from depression and anxiety, himself, he dedicates every day to helping 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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