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4 ways to be a morning person {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com}
4 ways to be a morning person {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com}

My mornings were out of control. I had become a regular snoozer, threw together clothes in a rush, some days didn’t have time for breakfast and put off making my lunch until 10 minutes before I ran out the door. I got to work frazzled and getting in a morning workout was out of the question.

I wasn’t always like this. I was a morning person. In fact, with rare exceptions, I never snoozed my alarm and enjoyed my peaceful mornings. In December I decided enough was enough.

• I committed to getting up at 6 am, an hour+ earlier than before.
• I committed to going to bed on time – meaning by 11 pm AT THE LATEST.
• I committed to a 30:00 morning workout.

Eight weeks in, my new habits have me feeling myself again. I’m more focused at work, especially in the morning; my routine eliminates excuses like “just one more episode before bed;” my sleep is more consistent, deep and restful; and I’m keeping a regular workout schedule.

4 ways to be a morning person:

1. Go to bed at the same time.
Clearly, getting up begins with laying down. This is so simple… so why do we find it so hard? Turn a hard eye to your evening habits. How late are you eating? Are you on electronic devices until right before bed? Do you avoid the bed or bedroom because it’s a mess? Do you watch TV too late? Are you frantically finishing today’s to-do list or stressing about tomorrow’s? Do you get sleepy at some point and then get more energy later?

Try “closing” the kitchen and turning off electronics after a certain time. Take 10 minutes after dinner to pick up the bedroom to make it more inviting when you’re ready to sleep. Set a limit on number of episodes per evening. Keep a notebook by your bed to jot down reminders for tomorrow, getting it off your mind tonight. Lay down with a book when you’re tired so the later energy boost won’t keep you up.

2. Prep the night before.
Start an evening routine. Make your lunch when you make dinner. When you get home and change out of work clothes, lay out clothes for tomorrow. Have your workout clothes prepped and the workout planned before you go to bed.

Then try pampering yourself! Reward yourself for the extra prep. I love lighting a candle and doing an easy foot massage right before bed. Some nights I’ll do a yoga nidra breathing practice. I like retiring early with my kindle (one of the only electronics we allow in bed) as long as it’s not a nail-biter book that will keep me up all night. Allow some “me time” after a busy day and evening.

3. Get up at the same time.
I used to get up at 7 am except on Friday’s when I open the yoga studio at 6:45 am. The earlier-than-normal morning was brutal. Now I’m up at 6 am every day and I’m not dragging on Fridays as I greet students. It’s such a routine now that my alarm rarely actually goes off. Most often I wake up before and turn it off. That natural wake up is so much more refreshing than the alarm!

In the last eight weeks I have only slept in past 6 am once. Even on mornings that I’m tired or too sore for a full workout, I’ve gotten up for a light yoga flow. I don’t want to break the morning rhythm my body is now conditioned for. (That said, if I really need the extra sleep or am not feeling well, that additional hour of z’s is much appreciated).

4. Plan time for something you enjoy in the morning.
Give yourself something to look forward to. It might be your workout, or making a good breakfast before kids are up or 20 minutes of distraction-free reading. I workout for 30 minutes Monday — Thursday. I keep this strict, too! I do not workout for 35 or 40 minutes. Afterward, I often turn on some instrumental piano music and sit for breakfast with my latest magazine or book. It creates a little zen space before getting ready for the day. This period is valuable enough to me that I will cut a workout short.

I would suggest leaving emails unread here. For me, this is a small window of morning time sans work or lists or expectations. It’s “me time” before other obligations. Mental zen.

 That’s it! Thanks for reading!

track

Do you have other tips for better mornings?

“Oh man, this could be weird. I’m not pretty enough to hang out with them.”

I followed up that thought by mentally scanning my closet for something that would make me feel more confident. It was easily a full minute before I caught myself.

What on EARTH am I doing? Where did that thought come from??

This happened a couple of weeks ago and it hasn’t left my mind yet. So here you go, blog friends. I’m writing it and them I’m leaving it.

Honestly I’m not sure if I’m more annoyed that I had the thought in the first place, or that I didn’t catch it right away. I have my insecurities just like anyone else. On a “fat day” my introvert self is especially wary of being around people I don’t know that well. So I’ll chalk up the original thought to just an off day.

I know better than to let someone judge my worth – or imagine that judgment – based on how I look. That’s just ridiculous to me and not the sort of people I hang out with anyway.

And holy SMOKES does this sound like high school. Good grief, L. Get a grip. I need to think about the ever stunning Jennifer Lawrence and all her goofy awkwardness that makes her one of the most likable women in Hollywood. Then I feel better.

P.S. I think this post just became an excuse to search “Jennifer Lawrence embarrassing gifs.”

So there it is. I had a high school-esque moment of insecurity. The solid lack of self-confidence felt foreign; maybe that’s why I haven’t been able to shake it.

At the end of the day, we all simply want to be valued/appreciated/liked/accepted/etc. and the uglier side of that desire rears its head every so often. That face is getting a kick in the teeth as I strut my confidently imperfect self on my merry way.

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How do you handle those insecure moments?


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I’ve been thinking about the concept of listening recently, in two ways:

• What does listening look like? How do I do it?

• How do I know I am being truly listened to?

Because everyone wants to be heard, right? And anyone who knows another well enough to have more than 4.3 arguments is familiar with the back and forth “you’re not really listening to me!” “Yes, I am listening, you’re not hearing me.”

Or, if you’re a confidant and a friend shares with you drama with their partner/friend/co-working/etc., it’s often easier to see where the parties involved aren’t truly hearing each other.

So we are good at spotting when someone else isn’t listening. Not so good at realizing it about ourselves.

I think listening takes a lot of courage. It’s hard to stop talking. It’s hard to not make your point. It’s hard to hear something you think is wrong and not correct it. It’s hard to be vulnerable. It’s hard to face something you want to ignore. It’s hard to be wrong. It’s hard to walk away when necessary.

Just some musings from the last few days. I’m challenged to listen more. To think outside myself more. To trust my instincts more.

What do you think?
Does listening take courage?
Do you think you listen well or are listened to?


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{PilotingPaperAirplanes.com}

Today I’m all about joy.

I am decidedly NOT the most cheerful person ever. I can be really happy or really upset, but most of the time my emotions don’t show in a dramatic way. I’m more stoic.

{Which, btw, I just looked up: “of or pertaining to the school of philosophy founded by Zeno, who taught that people should be free from passion, unmoved by joy or grief, and submit without complaint to unavoidable necessity.” Interesting.}

Certainly, when I do express outbursts of emotion, anger or frustration is the easiest. Joy and cheerfulness, those are much harder. Pain is perhaps the hardest. Pain may disguise itself as anger on the surface, but actually expressing pain I feel… this is where anxiety kicks in. I really do not like being vulnerable.

Perhaps joy is best remedy for pain. Perhaps joy distracts from pain. Perhaps focusing on and finding joy in the ordinary makes any pain less intrusive. Perhaps joy leads to healing.

Focus on joy this week!
What simple things bring you joy?


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Ultimate plank workout {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com}

I’m actually posting twice in one week. Seems like I haven’t done that much recently. Or maybe I have and I can’t keep track. Entirely possible.

Before I continue, like every other runner blogger everywhere, I must mention the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing (yesterday). It didn’t impact me personally, but I took it personally. Maybe too much so. I was angry. In terms of devastating bombings/shootings/attacks, this one didn’t harm as many people as other notable events – thankfully! It could easily have been SO much worse – but the symbolism of that holiday and that event in that city can’t be missed. This week and next, when runners line up for the 2015 Boston Marathon and fans attend the baseball game and the city of Boston celebrates Patriots’ Day, my thoughts are with everyone impacted by last year’s tragedy.

Beyond that, I’m keeping this post simple.

Plank workout anyone??

I’ve been tweaking this for a few weeks now. There are literally a bazillion plank variations so I rotated through plenty until I settled on my favorite combination. I didn’t want high intensity elements, like mountain climbers or plank jacks; this is about stability and precision of movement.

It kills! In the best way. I have only managed level 2 so far – if any of you make it through level 3 you deserve a serious digital high five. Erm, or something like that.

Ultimate plank workout {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com}

There are a couple ways to go through this: 1) through each section completely before moving on – i.e. all the full planks, then all the side planks right and left, then all the forearm planks. 2) first variation in each section, then second, and so on. I prefer that way so I’m moving around more. 3) skip the time and count reps. I usually go for 30 reps when I don’t feel like disturbing my zen with a beeping timer.

To add a quick disclaimer, always be conscious of your back when doing plank work. I know everyone says to drop your hips, but it’s easy to drop too far and hurt your back. Better to keep the hips a little high and protect the lower back.

That’s all for today! Happy hump day. Kind of; if it’s a short work week, what does that make Wednesday?

Give this plank workout a try and let me know what you think!
(Or leave a question if the variations don’t make sense).
Do you incorporate planks in your workout routine?


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