Morning Person 2016 – Lesson 9

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Lesson 9: Get Some Headspace

Meditation provides a framework in which we are able to step back from habitual thinking and emotions, so that we can witness them with clarity and perspective. When we learn to do this, the mind begins to calm down, as does the body. In turn we experience more quiet and a greater sense of ease in every area of life. It is a remarkable shift in perspective, which really needs to be experienced, rather than explained. It is with this shift that we are able to make healthier choices in our daily routine.

How do we balance what we want to do, with all the things we have to do? How do make time for the things that matter?

How to meditate in six easy steps:

  1. Get settled – Find a quiet place where you can relax.
  2. Breathe deeply – Take five deep breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth. On the last exhalation, close your eyes.
  3. Check in – Settle in to your body, taking note of your posture and how your body feels, and any emotion you might be experiencing.
  4. Scan your body – Turn your mind inwards and take note of your body from head to toe, acknowledging any tension or discomfort and then scan again noticing parts of your body that start to relax.
  5. Observe your breath – Bring your attention to your breathing and start to count your breaths. One, in, two, out and so on, up to 10.
  6. Allow your mind to be free – After a few minutes, give yourself a minute for your mind to be completely free. If it wants to think, let it think. If it wants to be busy, let it be busy. Let the mind do whatever it wants to do. After a minute or so, open your eyes, and appreciate the feeling that getting a little headspace can produce.

This assignment is from “Becoming a Morning Person” by Little Green Dot

We had our first birthing class on Sunday, and one of the things we did was a relaxation method that was pretty similar to this. She recommended doing it regularly to help me get in tune with my body so I can more easily relax while I’m in labor. Or…relax as much as possible as my body absolutely falls apart and a human emerges from my nether regions. *shiver

So, yeah – I should probably do this! The trick will be not falling asleep after having my eyes closed for that long, and remembering all the steps. Oh, hey – I just noticed that the email includes a link to download a meditation app. Well there you go. I’ll give it a shot and let you know how well I do! Oh, and as far as a check-in for the previous lessons…

  • Lesson 8 – diet, I haven’t started on this one yet. Next week!
  • Lesson 7 – yoga, Oh. Oops. I did the leg cramp one, which was nice! And I made it most of the way through the “Preparing for Birth” one…and then my phone died. >.< I’ll get back on this tomorrow morning and try out the “Releasing the Spine” video, because my back is getting tired, son!
  • Lesson 6 – mindfulness, I did put the note on my mirror. It says grateful / impact / focus. I definitely don’t spend 3 minutes thinking about it, though. And I had forgotten what “focus” was for. >.<
  • Lesson 5 – snooze, So I do still hit snooze fairly regularly… But I’m about 50/50 on stretching!! I have to be really careful about it, though, or my legs will cramp. >.> Which is probably a good indicator that I need to be doing my yoga videos!!
  • Lesson 4 – sleep hygiene, I’m still using that app that I downloaded. I keep the bedroom so cool that Mr. T freezes at night. Seriously – I’m under a sheet and he’s got a sheet, blanket, and either a jacket or bath robe. lol! Oh, and we have a sound machine now. My sister got one for us (mainly LBW).
  • Lesson 3 – sleep journal, I didn’t even last two days on this one. sorrynotsorry
  • Lesson 2 – roadblocks, Well…my roadblock fix was to change my alarm so I could hit snooze more…then Lesson 5 told me to stop hitting snooze! That app goes off anywhere between 5:30 and 6:00 so I’m going to renew my goal of not hitting snooze and waking up whenever it thinks is best. And then stretching. And doing yoga.
  • Lesson 1 – goal, My goal was to get out the door by 7:20am, and I’ve done a pretty good job of that!! Go me. :)

Morning Person 2016 – Lesson 8

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Lesson 8: Mindful Nutrition

When your body is not nourished, feeling drained, or taxed by bad food choices – it shows. You feel lethargic, it’s harder to concentrate and you may even feel down and negative about life. If you want to feel vibrant, clean, fresh, capable with energy and gusto for life – your everyday food choices make all the difference.

How do you start to eat for your body, to feel your best?

  1. Eat nutrient-dense food, close to nature.
  2. Upgrade your breakfast – strive for a balanced breakfast of carbohydrates, lean protein and fat.
  3. Feed your brain – aim for at least 1 rich source of foods high in omega 3’s every day…like salmon, walnuts, spinach, kale, or kiwi.

When it comes to being a morning person, you’ll notice that a well nourished body has more energy to get up, get moving and sustaining throughout the day. So mindful nutrition is not about resisting temptation – it’s about being aware the food choices you make throughout the day. Often when we think about healthy eating, the first thought is eliminating the bad. Not only is this not sustainable  – the “I’ll never eat that food again” mentality never lasts – but it puts all of your focus on the very thing you don’t want.

Start thinking in terms of more:

  • What can you do to include more whole foods in your meal?
  • What’s one small change that you can make everyday, to put the focus on giving your body more nourishment?

Make a plan this week to upgrade one meal every day.

This assignment is from “Becoming a Morning Person” by Little Green Dot

I think the easiest meal to upgrade would be my lunch. What exactly I should upgrade it to, though…I’m not sure. Also, it’s already Tuesday and I’m working from home on Friday. So I think I should strategize my lunches for next week rather than this week. This week is already lost. Maybe I’ll get some good trail mix to snack on…make sure it’s got walnuts and dried kiwi in it. Eh? Eh? Oh blech…do you know what has a lot of Omega 3s? Nasty stuff is what. Flax seed is easy to add to stuff…but what should I eat? I really don’t enjoy salads and they’re a huge hassle. Plus everything goes bad way too quickly. Maybe some sort of sandwich? But I’m not really supposed to have deli meats while I’m pregnant. I just Googled “healthy lunches to take to work” and the first list I pulled up…80% salads. >.<

I did find a few things I might try next week, though:

I’ve missed at least one week of crock pot recipes, too… :\ I did buy some frozen stuff at the grocery store, though! We’ve got a couple of lasagnas and some frozen meals for two tucked away in our freezer.


Morning Person 2016 – Lesson 7

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Lesson 7: Exercise Your Willpower

Willpower is like a muscle, it can be strengthened. Willpower is the moment you remember your goal, fight the urge to snooze and lift your body out of bed – despite how hard it feels. It’s your brain and body working together. The good news is that you can train your willpower. The better news is that as you develop your willpower, sticking to your goal goes from feeling like a stress or chore – to feeling positive and empowering.

How do you train your willpower? Practice and repetition. The idea is to pick one thing, one action that you commit to doing everyday. Something that has meaning for you. Not hitting snooze is a good one. But, let’s go further this week – and experiment with exercise as a way of training our willpower. An exercise that connects your mind and body is best for this practice. Things like yoga, stretching, pilates… smart, mindful exercises.

This assignment is from “Becoming a Morning Person” by Little Green Dot

Alright. She gave us a couple of videos to use if we wanted – a 10 min stretch and a 30 min workout. But I’m like…super pregnant. lol! Plus I don’t feel comfortable sharing everything that she tells us, since it’s supposed to be a class you sign up for. The emails are actually way longer than what I copy/paste in my little blurbs at the top of the blog posts, fyi.

Anywho, I went to Do Yoga With Me and found their beginner-level prenatal yoga videos:

So I’m thinking…leg cramps/spine on Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri mornings. Preparing for Birth on Wednesday evenings. Modified Flow on Saturday. Let’s do this. (The best part with that schedule is I don’t actually have to do anything until tomorrow night. Go me!)


Morning Person 2016 – Lesson 6

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Lesson 6: 3 Minutes of Mindfulness

Ask yourself these 3 questions and spend one minute thinking about each:

  1. What are you grateful for?
    • Spend one minute feeling the emotion of gratitude for what you already have. From the most mundane to the most fundamental things in your life. When you approach the day with gratitude, you feel more confident about what you have, are more excited about your small wins – and engage less with stress about what you don’t have or haven’t done.
  2. What impact do you want to have on people?
    • Think about your partner, your boss, your clients – even the barista who gets you your coffee. Everyone who comes in contact with you today – how will they feel from having you in their life? This strengthens you, puts you in a place of giving which can be one of the most fulfilling experiences.
  3. What are 3 important things you want to focus on today?
    • What are 3 important things that you will do today to make you feel great about how you spend your time? This gives you focus. You’ll see a clear roadmap: exactly what you need to do, what you need to prepare and anticipate in order to accomplish these 3 things today.

This assignment is from “Becoming a Morning Person” by Little Green Dot

Hmm… I think I’m going to write “GRATEFUL – IMPACT – FOCUS” on…something. Maybe hang it in my closet or stick it to my mirror. Because otherwise I’ll definitely forget to do this. At least I know myself? lol! Yes, I Just did it. I got a Sharpie and wrote that out. I’m gonna take it home and stick it on my mirror right next to me “check the sink before bed!” post-it. Hopefully this one will work better… >.<


Morning Person 2016 – Lesson 5

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Lesson 5: Your New Snooze Button

You’re going to practice a new way of waking up. If you spend just 60 seconds on this routine, you won’t need to spend the next 20 minutes hitting snooze. This stretch routine is great because it’s not passive, it’s active. It’s empowering. Commit to a full body experience – the more you get into it, mentally and physically – the sooner you’ll feel yourself waking.

  1. Good Morning Sunshine!
    • Point your toes and pull your arms back.
    • Hold the stretch and breathe as you count to 10 in your head.
  2. Hip Joint Stretch
    • Pull your knees up towards your chest and hold (you can do one leg at a time). You’ll feel the stretch in your hip joint – where we often hold a lot of discomfort.
    • Hold the stretch and breathe as you count to 10 in your head.
  3. Spine Stretch
    • With your shoulders pressed flat on the bed – twist one leg over the other to stretch and awaken the spine.
    • Hold for a slow count of 5 for each side.
  4. Side Stretch
    • Keep your bottom on the bed and gently stretch as far as it feels comfortable – without lifting your sit bones off the bed.
    • Hold the stretch and breathe for a slow count of 5 on each side.
  5. Sitting Stretch
    • With one leg folded over the other, feel a great stretch from your backside along your hip and side thigh.
    • Hold the stretch and breathe as you count to 10 in your head.
  6. Feel Grateful!
    • Stand up straight and strong. Place your hands together or place your hand to your heart.
    • Take a deep breath and smile – this will actually trigger emotions of happiness.

Remember: It’s the beginning of a new day. You can waste it, or use if for good.

This assignment is from “Becoming a Morning Person” by Little Green Dot

D’oh! I forgot the Hip Joint Stretch. I tried to remember to do this this morning when my alarm went off. I still hit snooze, because that app is supposed to wake me up at the most optimal time in my sleep cycle…whatever that means. So it could go off anywhere between 5:30 and 6:00. But so far it’s only ever gone off either at 5:30 or 6:00. lol! It went off at 5:30 this morning and I went “Yeah, no. I’m not actually getting out of bed at 5:30.” So I need to change that window. Or maybe get rid of the window and just have my alarm go off right at 6:00. I did get way better sleep last night than I did the night before. I thought it would be a good idea to take a nap on Tuesday. To be fair…we were going to go see a movie, so I would’ve been up later than I usually am. With all the weird weather we’ve had, we decided it wasn’t worth getting out on the roads that late, so we decided to stay in. It was a long night. No more naps!!

But, yeah – the stretching was fine. I was actually able to do most of it without too much difficulty, even with this big ol’ belly.


Morning Person 2016 – Lesson 4

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Lesson 4: Freshen Up Your Sleep Hygiene

Create your new nighttime routine:

  • What is your ideal bedtime?
  • What can you do one hour before bed every night, to start mentally preparing yourself for sleep?
    • It could be something that relaxes your body: a warm shower, self-grooming, reading, a slow evening stroll after dinner.
    • It could be something that relaxes your mind: journaling, guided meditation, planning tomorrow’s to-do list or getting prepared for your morning routine.

What if I can’t sleep!?

  • Sleep Strategy #1: Stimulus Control Therapy
    • When you go to bed, if you can’t fall asleep in 15 to 20 minutes and that causes you stress, you need to get up. Leave the bed entirely and go do something relaxing until you feel sleepy again. No planning, cleaning or organizing. No working. No eating. No watching TV, turning on the computer or checking messages. In a low-light environment, read, stretch, listen to relaxing music, or practice a relaxation therapy (see below) until you feel sleepy again.
  • Sleep Strategy #2: Relaxation Therapy
    • Learn to control and release muscle tension with progressive muscle relaxation. During progressive muscle relaxation, focus on each muscle group in your body, and first tense and then relax them in a systematic way, moving up or down your body: Feet, Thighs, Buttocks, Arms, Shoulders, Face (video example)
  • Sleep Strategy #3: Create a Sleep Zone
    • Consider doing a Bedroom Makeover and pick a day that you can transform your room into a sleep zone. Clear up clutter and fix any problem areas:
      • Lights: Remove or hide devices with bright lights (phones, computers, charging devices, clocks). Use thick curtains. Consider using a sleep mask.
      • Clocks: If you have a problem falling asleep or maintaining sleep, you should not have any clocks visible in your bedroom.
      • Air Quality: Ensure air conditioning units, fans and heaters are clean and free of dust.
      • Clutter: Create a stress-free zone, free of physical and mental clutter.

Create a sleep “kit” to keep by your bedside, with things that will help you relax:

  • a book you’re reading
  • an aromatherapy pillow spray
  • a diffuser and essential oils
  • your sleep mask
  • your journal & pencil
  • your sleep journal
  • your daily planner

This assignment is from “Becoming a Morning Person” by Little Green Dot

That app that I downloaded actually has a little reminder to tell you when to go to bed to get your “optimal” amount of sleep for the night. When I went to bed at midnight last night I noticed I had a notification from 9:30 telling me to go to bed soon! >.< Oops… I think my goal will be to #1, actually notice the alert telling me to go to bed, lol! and #2, get in bed and read for a little while. A parenting book and/or a chapter of The Chronicles of Narnia to LBW.

Unfortunately with this being my 3rd trimester, a good night’s sleep is not a thing I will be achieving any time soon…if I ever have one again. Last night was especially awful, I think because I took a nap around 7:00. I stayed up later than I should have, and couldn’t stay asleep. There was lots of tossing and turning…lots. I’ve got heartburn and acid reflux now. Plus my hips get sore. And LBW moves all the frick-fracking time. ALL THE TIME.

My kit is…my parenting book, my fancy Chronicles of Narnia book, a bottle of Tums…what else should I include?


Morning Person 2016 – Lesson 3

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Lesson 3: Sleep Matters

What happens when you sleep?

  • Brain “Detox”. Your brain performs its housecleaning duties only while you sleep. It flushes out build-up of cellular waste matter that accumulates in the daytime.
  • Restorative Sleep. There are three stages of sleep before you enter dream sleep, or REM sleep. The third stage is the most important stage of sleep, where the body repairs and regrows tissues, builds bone and muscle, and strengthens the immune system.
  • Memory Making. Your ability to learn, process and remember is greatly affected by sleep. Studies show rested individuals have an estimated three-fold advantage for problem solving, over sleep-deprived individuals.

A sleep journal tracks your sleep times, your habits and your mood – quickly you will begin to see a pattern that will help you make corrections. The night time coffee vs. the night time meditation — how is it really affecting you? The more regularly you track your sleep, the more value you’ll get from the process. So make a commitment now to keep your sleep journal every night for at least two weeks. You’ll be amazed when you look back at your progress.

This assignment is from “Becoming a Morning Person” by Little Green Dot

Okay, so I have like six emails waiting on me…I’ve not done a great job of keeping up with this class! Is it a class? Whatever it is…I’ve not kept up with it. But!! I’m getting back on track. I’m sure I’ll get on the perfect sleep regime just in time to have a newborn and then never get sleep again… >.< I’m sure my sleep journal will be very entertaining, too. “Got up to pee.” “Got up to pee.” “Heartburn.” “LBW’s kicking me like crazy.” “Got up to pee.” I printed off the spreadsheet she’d included in the email, but I also downloaded SleepBot, so we’ll see how those go. Good thing I’m starting this on a Friday, too!


Morning Person 2016 – Lesson 2

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Lesson 2: Dismantle Your Roadblocks

Moving forward, what are the potential roadblocks ahead that you see? What are the barriers in your path that might prevent you from making lasting change? Possible roadblocks could be:

  • psychological – for example, a tendency to self-sabotage.
  • societal – peers, colleagues or other people you surround yourself with
  • physical – perhaps setting too big of a goal too soon

Have a mindset for success and don’t entertain thoughts that say otherwise. Take your roadblocks and flip them on their heads:

  • Stay focused on your vision. You feel it inside, you know there’s so much more to you. That vision for your life – it’s your motivation, it’s why you get out of bed in the morning.
  • Believe in yourself. Tap into that potential inside of you and trust that you have the ability, the skill and the mindset to do this.
  • Be stubborn. Raise your standards for a good life and don’t settle for less. Every day, in every way commit to your vision.

Remember, every little step counts, build up that momentum!

Think Small. In the excitement of starting something new, it’s easy to think about big and bold actions we can take. Instead, try making your action smaller. Let’s say your intention is to go to the gym for an hour each morning. Think small instead. Consider doing just 10 minutes of exercise when you wake up to start. Suddenly you get the sense of accomplishment that comes from success.

Start From Success. Let’s say your intention is to have breakfast ready for the family each morning. If you were already successful, you might have prepped the ingredients the night before. Suddenly you have a new tactic to save time and follow-through on your goals.

What’s ONE step that you can take today to overcome a roadblock in your path to becoming a morning person?

This assignment is from “Becoming a Morning Person” by Little Green Dot

So my statement of intention that I came up with on Monday was “I am becoming a Morning Person so I can get out the door by 7:20am.”

My biggest self-sabotage is the snooze button. omg I love my snooze button. I abuse the poor thing, too. I think I already have my one small step listed in my FlyLady Morning Routine: Get out of bed by 6:00am. To break that down into something a bit more manageable…rather than attempting to get up as soon as my alarm goes off at 6:00, I’m going to move my first alarm back to 5:30. That way I can hit snooze a few times, and still wake up earlier. :)

Morning Person 2016 - Lesson 2 | The Wilson Buzz


Morning Person 2016 – Lesson 1

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I’ve started this twice before, and never completed it. I made it to Lesson 8 the first go around, and Lesson 3 the second. >.< Want to take bets on how well I succeed this time?? No. No negative thoughts, Sarah! I WILL succeed this time!!

Lesson 1: Set yourself up for success

People fail in their goals for two reasons:

  • They’re not realistic. A common example is “I’m going to go to the gym 5 days a week”, when you don’t go at all right now.
  • They’re not specific. This was my own mistake, with my example of “being healthy.” How do you define health? How will you know if you’re successful?

Choosing poor goals sets us up for failure, with the negative consequences that we stop believing in ourselves. There’s always a voice at the back of our mind saying, “Sure – but you’re not really going to follow through”.

Step 1:

Visualize your ideal morning, in as much detail as you can. Are you by yourself, or with others? What are you doing? Write it down if you can, it really helps. Now review your ideal morning. Choose one small action from the list that – if completed – would make you feel the most happiness. The key here is to choose something small and attainable. For me, it’s writing my daily to-do list. Making that each morning clears my head of nagging uncertainty, and I know that the rest of my day will flow more smoothly. Again, the key is to choose ONE action that you will gain happiness from. For the next four weeks, this is going to be your measure of success — the sign that you’re on the right path to creating a morning routine you love.

Step 2:

Now, use that action to complete the following sentence: “I am becoming a Morning Person so I can _____________”

This assignment is from “Becoming a Morning Person” by Little Green Dot

As I go through the baby steps for FlyLady, one of her big things is getting into a routine. So this works hand-in-hand with that! It’s crazy how all these things align. Or is it just proof that all of this is just common sense stuff that I should be able to figure out on my own?? Either way, it makes my life easier. Because I have a “morning routine” that I am trying to follow. Currently, my morning goals are to:

  • get out of bed by 6:00am
  • let the dogs out/in and feed them
  • shower
  • clean up any rogue dishes
  • clear off the coffee table – our living room “hot spot
  • take my vitamins
  • get dressed
  • defrost car if needed
  • make sure I have breakfast/lunch + any other work supplies
  • get out the door by 7:20am

Hmm…which one do I pick? I’m torn between clearing off the coffee table or making sure I’m out the door by 7:20. Okay, the most important is getting to work on time, so…

I am becoming a Morning Person so I can get out the door by 7:20am.


Morning Person Lesson 3: Sleep Matters

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What happens when you sleep?

  • Brain “Detox”. Your brain performs its housecleaning duties only while you sleep. It flushes out build-up of cellular waste matter that accumulates in the daytime.
  • Restorative Sleep. There are three stages of sleep before you enter dream sleep, or REM sleep. The third stage is the most important stage of sleep, where the body repairs and regrows tissues, builds bone and muscle, and strengthens the immune system.
  • Memory Making. Your ability to learn, process and remember is greatly affected by sleep. Studies show rested individuals have an estimated three-fold advantage for problem solving, over sleep-deprived individuals.

Challenge 3: Track Your Sleep

A sleep journal tracks your sleep times, your habits and your mood – quickly you will begin to see a pattern that will help you make corrections. The night time coffee vs. the night time meditation — how is it really affecting you? The more regularly you track your sleep, the more value you’ll get from the process. So make a commitment now to keep your sleep journal every night for at least two weeks. You’ll be amazed when you look back at your progress.

So I still had my link from the last time I did this…I’d only filled out the sleep journal for one day. >.<

Also, side note: A significant portion of my mom’s side of the family has sleep apnea, and use those freaky C-PAP machines. I’m also in this Facebook group that has like 4k women in it…well a few weeks ago one posted about how she’d finally gone to the doctor for her sleep problems and ended up with some weird mouth guard that keeps her mouth…open? closed? – anyway, it helped her sleep. Then they went on and on about how sleep apnea can cause heart problems, blah blah blah. It put the fear in me, so I called “The Sleep Doctors” to schedule an appointment. Then was told I had to get a recommendation from my PCP before I could schedule an appointment. And then I never called my PCP. And then my PCP called me. They were all “You should schedule a physical.” And I was all “I should indeed.” And they were all “His first opening is in October.” And I was all “Then why the frick are you calling people to schedule appointments??” Anyway, I went with the first available doctor, and I have an appointment in May. 8P The point of this entire rambling paragraph is to say…sleep doctors usually request a sleep journal, so bah-dah-bing, bah-dah-boom – here we go! But really I don’t have any sleep problems (that I know of), other than that I snore sometimes. *shrug