What is a time of joy for many women was my darkest hour.
Read more from Hannah on our sister site, xoVain!
I hate to admit it, but I have been so incredibly lazy this year.
Sure, I accomplished a lot -- graduating college was a big deal for me -- but most of my free time felt completely wasted. There were entire days I spent in bed, not because I was depressed but because I simply felt like there was no reason at all to get up.
After finishing school in April, I embarked on a life of working from home full-time and rarely left the house aside from rehearsals for a play I was in during the early Summer, or fittings and photo shoots for my monthly magazine job. And while my laziness wasn't the result of depression, eventually it started to cause it.
My lack of productivity made me feel like a failure, which in turn just made me want to sleep even more. Basically, it was a really crappy endless cycle of nothingness.
I know it's a bit woo-woo-y to assume that the beginning of a new year is going to shake up a life overnight, but I do love the sense of refreshment that a calendar change brings. I want to implement behavioural changes in the coming months that will kick my ass into shape (mentally, physically, spiritually, the whole thing) and get me back on track.
I wasn't always a mega lazybones, you know. I've just developed this crummy habit, and I'm ready to cut it out. I've got my own personal plans on how to go about it, but I'd like to hear from you guys, too. I want to know what changes (big or small) you've made in the past to benefit your day-to-day lives. Anything to help me boost my productivity and feel better about how I use my time.
To get the conversation started, here are some of the things I'll be doing for myself.
This isn't about losing weight or getting a bikini body, because I'm happy with my personal appearance and don't care either way to change it. What I want is to have more energy, and I know that laying in bed has done nothing for that.
When I was working a regular job, I would pop into the gym when my shifts ended. I would exercise for a few hours and work off the stress of being a retail employee. By the time I got home and ate dinner I was exhausted, but not in that crappy, sluggish way I've become used to. It was a happy exhaustion where I felt like I'd worked, and I would gleefully allow my head to flop on my pillow and catch a decent amount of sleep.
While I don't have the money to join a gym, I want to start bringing physical activity back into my life. I know that lethargy breeds lethargy, so I figure activity will breed, duh, activity. If I start my mornings with a run, I'll be more likely to keep that momentum going throughout the day. For this part of my plan, I'll need new running shoes (any recommendations?) and my as-yet-unused Nike Fuel band.
I also want to make sure I keep taking mood- and energy-boosting supplements, like vitamin D, which plenty of SAD-addled folks like me in the Northern Hemisphere are direly devoid of this time of year.
Keep Decent Hours
In 2013, it wasn't unusual for me to fall asleep on my couch at 6 AM and wake up in my bed at 5 PM. Yep, 11 hours of sleep, sometimes more. I'm not proud.
Part of the wonky habits was not having a regular job, the other part was living in a basement apartment that receives very little sunlight. When I visit my parents' house, my bright, morning-light filled room will usually push me out of bed well before dinnertime, but back at my apartment it's hard to know what hour it is.
That's why I'm enlisting the help of the Philips Wake-up Light. It's an alarm clock inspired by nature that gradually fills your room with faux-sunlight starting 30 minutes before your set alarm time. By the time your wake-up time hits, the light is at its brightest and the clock begins to beep.
I feel like this thing will especially be a game changer for me, someone who relies on their phone as an alarm. In doing so, I usually have my phone in my bed with me, stimulating my brain with its bright lights and easy access to Candy Crush. Tons of doctors agree this is a huge NO-NO, and so I'll start keeping my phone out of arm's reach when bedtime comes around.
Put It In Writing
With my craptastic laziness has come a suffering in my work. Deadlines are rarely met and my output is nowhere where I'd like it to be. In 2014, I want to continue to contribute here, at xoVain, Rookie, FLARE, and on my own blog, not just as much as before but even more. Hey, I even want to branch out even more. Who knows? I just really want to work, and work well.
Part of my problem has been that I never really write anything down. I'll go through spurts of journaling, and I've even been known to purchase the odd agenda, but I've never really stuck to it. I'm ready for that to change, and so I've picked up a Moleskine Weekly Diary (in sexy, professional black) and I plan to use that baby to train my brain.
Article ideas and deadlines, reading lists, dates to remember -- whatever -- they're all getting written down, highlighted, underlined, and surrounded by bright, attention-catching stickers (I especially like shopping for these on Etsy). I want to write lists and check things off. I want to fill that damn diary with tons of well-intentioned ink and have it mean something, people!
OK, so there's a small portion of my plans. Am I on the right track? What else can I do? Do you need motivation too? Should we start a club and kick each others' asses? I will personally come to your house and yell at you if you'll do the same. That's what friends are for!
Happy New Year everyone, and thanks in advance!