Back to Basics


The month of May kicks off a flurry of activity in our lives. We’ve got Ellie’s birthday, our anniversary, my birthday, and Mike’s birthday. In addition to all of these important milestones there’s also the end of the school year and travel to see family (and/or visitors who come to see us). Knowing that the next few months are going to be filled to the brim, I’m making an effort to focus on the “basics.” By basics I mean the things that make me feel like a whole person, but always seem to come last (if at all). Over the next four months I’ll be making an effort to prioritize the following things:

  • Sleep (May)

  • Meditation (June)

  • Movement (July)

  • Nutrition (August)

My intent isn’t to completely disregard the other three priorities each month (since they are important too!). For example, in May, I’ll focus on sleep, but I’m also going to try and be consistent with meditation and working out and eating a balanced diet. However, sleep will come first. Also, I’m not planning to forget about each of these things after the month is done, but to continue incorporating whatever habits I form into my daily routine.

I’m starting off with sleep because I think it’s the most important thing you can do for yourself and your well-being. It’s also something that can be hard to come by, especially when kids are involved. I notice a huge difference in my mood, my thoughts, my abilities… really everything, when I don’t get a full 7.5 to 8 hours. If I get less than 6 hours, I wake up feeling nauseous and just generally terrible, which is not how I want to feel on a regular basis.

What’s my sleep look like now? It’s not terrible, I’d say I average around 7 hours a night and am usually in bed around midnight. There was a time when Ellie’s bedtime was earlier and I was getting to bed around 9:30 or 10:00pm. However, now that her bedtime keeps getting pushed later (we start the process around 9:00pm) I struggle to get in bed any earlier than 11. Midnight is definitely too late for me though. I’m also tied to my computer screen right up until I go to bed (usually blogging or budgeting) and I’d like to break that habit. Thankfully, my academic job is flexible, so I can usually go without an alarm in the morning unless I have a meeting/teaching that requires me to be on the train early. And really, I have an alarm, her name is Ellie, and she’s relentless.

What am I planning to focus on during the month of May?

  • Consistently sleeping 8 hours a night. With Ellie’s schedule and my work schedule, an 11pm bedtime with a 7am wake up seems like it’ll work best for our schedules. That means I am in bed and ready to sleep by 11pm (not headed to bed at 11pm).

  • Waking up without an alarm (including my Ellie alarm!)

  • Limiting screen time before bed, working towards no screens during the 2 hours before bed, cutting myself off at 9pm. Emphasis on working towards… I’ll start out slow, working up to 2 hours, maybe in increments of 15 minutes. Considering the fact that I use screens right up until I close my eyes for the night and then look at my phone before I’m even out of bed in the morning, this might be the most difficult part of this process.

I’ll write brief updates in my weekly update posts and then a longer check-in at the beginning of June. Wish me luck!