A couple of years ago, I started working on the lifestyle habit of getting more sleep. I called it Project Z. I went to bed by 10pm, and got up at 6am or so - if I deviated from that, I tried to make sure I got 7.5 to 8 hours of sleep. The change in how I felt and functioned at work was dramatic. I managed to maintain it for about 9 months, and then, it spun out, maybe because of my crappy job last year, maybe because I got slack, less vigilant, who knows? My hypothesis is that because I worked long days, I was staying up later, sometimes to do schoolwork (especially during grading periods) but sometimes to catch up on life, or pleasurable downtime; knitting, reading, watching tv. Then summer came, the knee dislocation came and I got less exercise, which further screwed up my sleep; less tired, I sleep less, but become more tired, if that makes sense.
So I'm taking it back!! Project Z will ride again!! I've been a fervent reader of Leo Babauta's Zen Habits blog, and have been struck anew by his emphasis on making small changes that turn into big changes over time. I did a lot of reflection on what needs to improve right now in my life...more exercise, less internet surfing, better eating, more knitting, cleaner house, more time outside, finding a job I like, getting a better handle on Cricket's behavior, daily yoga practice, fewer cupcakes, more consistent spiritual practice, reading more, spinning better, blogging, being better at composting from the kitchen, saving more $$ for retirement, oh the list is endless! Leo wrote that in his experience, picking ONE THING to work on til it became a good habit - about 4 to 6 weeks, and then maintaining that one, worked better than making a lot of little changes that don't really stick, because you spread yourself too thin. I think that's a good point. I think the change in the way I felt a few days into Project Z was SO big that I really want to reinstate this positive practice.
Now practically speaking, this is a tough week to start such a thing. For one, Ms. Acornbud is headed my way in just a couple days. No way are we not gonna stay up late, and even though I anticipate her jet lag might make her sleep in, I can't guarantee that. For another, we're headed to Asheville, NC for SAFF, and rooming with my sis and Jessie, and I don't see the four of us tucking in early in a hotel room this weekend. So I'm gonna just try and focus on being well-rested in a catch as catch can way, and then, next Tuesday, when I'm home alone again (and this will be a sad thing) I'm gonna put my ass into bed at 9:30, with the knowledge that I certainly won't sleep at 9:30, but will probably knit or read instead. I think, for the time being, I'm not going to let myself nap, mostly because I think it contributes to the further jacking up of my circadian rhythms. So this Project Z is the thing I'm gonna focus on from now til about December 1, to see if I can reset my sleep. I forsee some bumps in the road, with P's returns to the ATL, and Thanksgiving and such, but overall, I spend most of my time home alone, and most of schedule is my own to control.
I feel like I needed to write it down here because I want to hold myself accountable for actually starting to make this change, but reading other peoples' writing about personal changes can be dull, so I offer you a couple of other things to contemplate:
Behold the amazing thing that is Hanami. Completed, blocking in my spare bedroom. What a long strange knit that turned out to be. I love it, but am honestly not sure how much I'll wear it. It seems too fancy. But still...Hanami!!
Time for oatmeal and some laundry.