January’s Life Lesson

2020 is my year for making big goals happen and making big dreams reality, but instead of starting off with a super-productive bang, 2020 sort of did the opposite, and it’s ended up teaching me some pretty stellar lessons about balance. The kicker here is that feeling like I got knocked back a little bit is turning out to be the thing I feel is propelling me forward. Let me explain.

January 1st rolled around, and of course I wasn’t at home to hit the ground running with my 2020 goals and habits that I wanted to achieve simply because of travel. We didn’t get home until the 3rd, then our anniversary was the 4th, and Monday wasn’t until the 6th. Call them nothing more than excuses, that’s fine, but it took me nearly a week into the new year to even consider sitting down, messing with planners, habits, checklists, and all of the ambitious type-a planner girl things that make me me. 

Then, to kick a girl while she’s feeling down, the Minnesota winter hit me… hard! While I’ve lived in Midwestern winters my entire life, there’s something about this one that is proving to be particularly difficult on my body. I’m constantly cold, and my CMT nerves appear to be impacted by this more than normal. The way I’ve been explaining it to people is like a dial on a radio. If my normal, everyday best-self of feeling energized and awesome is usually the dial turned all the way up to 10, then things like lack of sleep, a bad CMT day, or whatever can impact my dial accordingly. This winter feels like it’s taken my dial and jammed it so the absolute max I can feel is a 6 rather than a 10, which is a major impact. THEN take the additional things that might turn the dial down a bit and add those to the equation and you definitely have me functioning at what feels like half of my best-self on any given day.  It was (and still is) terrible. 

Obviously, I had to figure out the solution to this problem, because this is no way to live during a Minnesota winter. I had to take a serious look at what I was actually doing versus all of the things I wanted to do and figure out what had to give because something had to. 

The first thing I decided to do to lighten my load was give myself permission to sleep if sleep was honestly what I felt I needed. This simply meant I didn’t have to get up at 5:30 am with my husband anymore. Instead, I moved my wakeup time back to 6:30, and if necessary I allow myself to sleep until 7:30. Whatever it takes to ensure I get adequate sleep. You see, I realized I had two options here:

1) Be sleep deprived on top of this winter energy drain, struggle to basically accomplish anything and spend literally half of the day sitting because I have zero energy and end up feeling bad about wasting hours in my day. 

Or:

2) Surrender an hour to 90 minutes of my morning sleeping in to ensure maximum energy and productivity.

There’s no competition! The obvious answer is to spend an extra 60-90 minutes resting rather than spending 10+ hours riding the struggle bus, feeling drained, and only accomplishing half of what I want to accomplish in a day. The mathematic answer is clear, and the second I gave myself permission to rest, everything started to change. 

I suddenly have the energy necessary to workout, to run the home, and to run my business. I also find that I have the willpower and discipline to stick to my diet better, and let’s be honest, when I eat better I feel better. It’s all one big cycle that can go very right or very, very wrong. 

A few other changes I made in January that I already feel a huge impact from:

1) I am focused more on my protein goal than my daily Points goal. This was another way I loosened the reigns a bit by giving myself permission to stray outside of my Points for the sake of protein. My goal is 100g protein every day, and while that often sets me over my Points goal (more on this later. There’s still a specific balance I’m following), I’m finding the scale is going down anyway.  I’ve traded a lot of sugary and carb-heavy things for things that will pack more protein into my diet, and not only is the scale going down, but I feel amazing!

2) I added an extra rest day into my week. This means 5 days of working out instead of 6, which feels amazing. My rest days are now Sundays and Wednesdays, and as long as I still reach my movement goal in some way (I’m currently using an under the desk elliptical to keep my legs moving as I type), I don’t have to get to the gym. Not only that, but I’ve also given myself permission to not workout if my body truly needs an extra day of rest. I’ve used this once already to skip a Bodypump workout on a day I was feeling truly terrible (thanks hormones) and let me tell you, it was the right choice. 

The bottom line here is that I’ve learned 2 major life lessons in January, and they’re both game-changers.

1. Rest is just as important as work. People who sacrifice themselves to the end of their ropes and pride themselves on busyness and hard work with zero rest are out of their minds. I mean, if it works for them then that’s great, but for me personally, I find that I am exponentially more productive when I integrate regular periods of rest into my days and into my life. If I don’t rest I will fail, but if I do make the choice to actively rest regularly, I can thrive everywhere else in my life that requires my time, focus, and energy. Rest is essential, and it is OKAY to take the time to rest. 

2. Giving yourself permission is incredibly powerful. Notice how I said several times in this post that I gave myself permission to essentially be less than perfect. I gave myself permission to eat over my points for the sake of eating more protein. I gave myself permission to rest for the sake of being able to do my jobs well. I gave myself permission to take an extra day off of the gym. I gave myself permission to be someone other than the picture-perfect superwoman I’ve always envisioned myself as in my head, and it is as if a giant weight has been lifted off of my shoulders, which coincidentally gives me the power to be the superwoman I wanted to be all along. Being a superwoman doesn’t mean being perfect, but it means being your best self. For me, being my best self is somebody who knows when to work, when to rest, and how to excel at both.

This huge lesson the beginning of 2020 has taught me guarantees that I will thrive for the rest of the year. Now that February is here I am feeling strong, motivated, energized, and ready to kick my goal-getting into high gear. I won’t be perfect, but I guarantee there will be progress. I won’t be killing myself for the sake of the job, but I will share with you how I have learned to rest and balance my life a little bit better. This will allow me to show up as a better content creator, a better wife to my husband, and a better advocate for myself. 

Get ready, world. I’m coming in hot and ready. But first, I’m going to take a 10-minute break 🙂

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