A lot of people say that Friday gets too much attention but I say that there’s nothing wrong with loving your weekends. The world needs more reasons to make merry. Don’t ever feel ashamed to celebrate your Friday’s. However, it is far past my bedtime, and any reasonable person’s bedtime, as I write this post. Last time I had sleeping habits this bad I was a poor, terrified college kid who’s worst fear was losing her scholarships to engineering school. Fear is a powerful motivator in the right setting. Unfortunately, the ability to force myself to maintain consciousness at ridiculous hours in the morning has all but left me in the last two years. Sometimes you just have to go to bed so I bid you all a very good night.
These days, I spend most of my time wishing that I had places to be and people to see but sometimes you just need a totally guilt free night in. If you’re like me, you might have trouble fitting these into your ever evolving schedule but there’s something immensely satisfying about marking a weekend evening on your calendar to do nothing but enjoy your own company. Do something that is 100 percent for you. No compromises. It’s your night.
In my case, ever since I received a set of the Lord of the Rings extended editions for Christmas I’ve been itching for an opportunity to crack them open. I always ended up finding something more pressing that needed doing so rather than allow myself to be sidetracked yet again, I blocked off my Friday night for a solo, dine-in, LOTR extravaganza. I stopped by the Burgerhaus to pick up dinner for one, a masterpiece of lettuce, avocado, tomato, chipotle Monterey cheese, chipotle mayo all complete with fried jalapenos and served on a pretzel bun.
Once back home I settled in for the only thing on my To Do list; watching my all time favorite movie while devouring my new favorite burger. Best Friday ever! It was incredibly revitalizing to set aside a chunk of time to dedicate entirely to myself. The seemingly endless stream of worries, decisions, compromises and time management that haunt the day-to-day was finally silenced for a few hours on a Friday night, alone in my apartment.
When you choose to do a little emotional and mental maintenance and actually schedule it into your week, it becomes a worthwhile pursuit and you stop seeing as time that you could be doing something more productive. In a busy world it’s easy to feel like there’s always something more important you should be doing. Cut yourself a break. The chores and paperwork will still be there tomorrow. Grab a beer and your favorite takeout and cozy up for some refreshing ‘me time.’
Out with the old and in with the new. Chapter 3 of Atomic Habits begins the discussion of making and breaking daily routines, one little habit at a time. As stated in the previous chapters, this process is not about completely overhauling current systems to start from scratch. According to Clear, the best way to implement new habits is to build them into your existing schedule by simply presenting them in a more effective way.
This is done by following the four golden rules outlined in chapter 3.
- Make it Obvious.
- Make it attractive.
- Make it easy.
- Make it satisfying.
These can also be applied in reverse to break bad habits. Often people fail to abstain from negative habits, not due to a lack of motivation but because these patterns are more readily accessible. For example, most of us have become attached to our phones. Wherever we are, it’s always within reach, tucked in our back pocket or set out with the screen face up on the table in front of us, mere inches away from our fingertips at all times should any notification light up the screen. We are tuned in to every single ring and vibration it makes. How easy it is to pick it up and spend a couple hours flipping through Facebook or Youtube clips.
This is one area in which I have often lacked discipline. However, as part of my resolution to reduce time eaten by social media, I’ve been experimenting with phone placement. I try not to carry it in my pocket if I can help it and during work hours, especially when working from home, I prefer to leave it on the dresser in my bedroom instead of having it out on the dining room table which has become my home office.
It’s certainly a work in progress. My motivation to maintain positive habits seems to come in waves and this particular change has yet to actually become a habit but practice makes perfect. As one of my college professors once said, “repetition is the mother of wisdom.”
Happy Monday everyone! It’s easy on days like these to beat myself up over all the things that I should have accomplished over the weekend but didn’t. But that rarely bodes well for the rest of the week and I’d like to start fresh. Instead of lamenting all the things that went wrong this weekend, here are a few things that went right.
- Caught up with a friend over coffee – Most of my regular social groups have been on hold since the first COVID shutdowns so it was nice to meet face to face for a chat about all that’s happened in the last year.
- Got involved at church – I have officially been recruited to assist with Life Teen ministry. I’m still not sure what inspired me to say yes to this but I’m so glad I did. Every week it seems like I’m signing up for something new and coming one step closer to this community.
- Met a few new faces – The woman who befriended me and first invited me to join the Life Teen team is one of the most well connected people I’ve ever met. She’s a smiling face that everyone recognizes and loves to introduce this newcomer to all of her friends in the parish.
- Finished the weekend with a clean kitchen – There’s still some meal prep left to do but it’s so much easier to approach a new week with a tidy kitchen. That early morning coffee is made all the better for it.
- It snowed! – That’s a bit of an understatement. I came to a newfound appreciation for the term “lake effect” yesterday when I was digging a path for my car to back out of the apartment parking lot. Snow had piled up in great drifts on the right side of all the cars in the lot like it had been blizarding sideways for most of the night. Although I spent 20 minutes trying to extricate my car without a shovel and eventually ended up enlisting the help of some friendly apartment employees with a small snowplow, it all worked out in the end.
Little moments like these are necessary reminders that the world is full of good people who are happy and willing to lend a hand, whether it be to introduce you to new friends at church or to push your car to freedom on a snowy winter day.
Today after hanging up my usual call with my mom I perched on the edge of my sofa, phone still held loosely in one hand, with every intention of getting up to wash the dishes and tidy my apartment before calling it an early night. However, I didn’t get up. I stayed there, just as I was, for a solid ten minutes in total silence. I didn’t thumb through my phone for my Pandora Radio. I didn’t scroll through Facebook or Youtube. I didn’t flip open one of the books on my coffee table. I didn’t even start talking to myself as I’m prone to do when my apartment falls silent.
I simply sat, staring absently at the opposite wall, listening to the garbled female voices of my neighbors across the hall as they shared the latest juicy gossip. I have no idea what they were talking about but it sure sounded important. The noise of car doors slamming in the parking lot seeped through my closed windows. The world beyond my comfy little box was muffled and for the briefest of moments I actually considered crossing the hall to knock on my neighbors’ door and ask if they might have room for one more in their emphatic conversation.
This strange, quiet reflection led me to one resounding conclusion. I desperately need to have plans this weekend. I don’t mean the usual errands. I need to go be with people. I need to interact with the world beyond conference calls and grocery store check-out lines. Therefore, I am hereby reinstating date night and highly recommend it for anyone feeling similarly isolated. Go out and be in the world even if you have no one to go with and you’re just ordering for one. You’ll thank yourself later.
Life is far too short to spend it in a fog of fatigue. The army of the walking dead is among us already, drifting half asleep from one moment to the next. Don’t let the infection spread! Stay safe today and take a nap.
This is a friendly reminder to myself (and whoever else needs to hear it) to keep your eye on the prize, whatever that may be. In this time of working from the home office and with few extra curricular activities to occupy myself, my attention is so easily scattered. Even a minor crisis sends me reeling into panicked overdrive until the problem has passed. These days, I can’t even make up my mind about what to cook for dinner.
To anyone feeling this way, it’s okay. Stop, take a deep breath and settle yourself before parking in front of your computer to begin your work day. You can do this.
Make sure to start today off right with a steaming cup of your favorite breakfast blend. It’s Friday. Treat yourself and take stock of all the little everyday joys that are helping you smile today.
Success! I am writing this blog post before 11pm. It’s been a while since I was able to say that and it’s been driving me crazy. Despite all the goal setting, reorganizing and lifestyle changes that I’m constantly trying to work into my day to day, sleep always seems to be the one thing that I can never save quite enough time for. Not tonight! Tonight I will be sleeping well before midnight. I will not stare at my computer screen for three hours while I wait for inspiration to strike, all the while willing the cursor to move.
There are still so many things on my To Do list but this evening I can sleep easy knowing that I accomplished just one. Eight hours of sleep, here I come! Make sure to carve out time for rest and healing in your day and to celebrate all the little wins.
Have you been feeling cooped up lately? Make sure to save time this weekend and every weekend to get outside. Take a hike. Even in December, it’s never a bad idea to clear your head with a stroll through the neighborhood. Bring a hat and allow plenty of time to explore the outdoors and breath in that crisp winter air.