1…2………(long pause and a big sigh) 3!!! I jump out of bed, startling myself to wake up. It’s the mantra I repeat to myself every morning, 5:00AM, to get myself out of bed. I begrudgingly look over at my husband, curled up and fast asleep with a half-smile on his face, as if he is mocking my lack of slumber. It’s been 5 hours since I went to bed, time to get up already.
I shuffle my way around the dark, careful to not step on the dog, who looks at me with one eye open. Finally I make it to the bathroom and stare at the dark circular bags under my eyes. “I thought 30 was the new 21—why do I feel 50?” I ask myself, looking curiously back at the mirror. Oh well, note to self, pick up more concealer on the way home.
I am not a morning person by any means, but I’ve unfortunately become all too familiar with the moan and groan of waking up before the sun. Every morning, I walk in the dark to the train, spend hours in my fluorescent lit office, and make it home just in time to barely catch the sun as it drifts over the Pacific Ocean, on its way to light up someone else’s day. At first it felt almost cool to adhere to this lightless schedule. How very New Yorker of me, I thought. I’m getting sh** done. But the feeling soon gave way to bleakness. Is this OK? I may be young, but I still feel like I’m torturing my body from the lack of sleep and inane work habits.
As the months passed by, the feeling of sadness grew. I need sleep. I need to see the sun. I am Californian, it’s my civic duty to cavort in the sun! I shouldn’t be feeling this way. But there I was, not changing a thing about what made me unhappy. I felt like I had something to prove. I’m a millennial, I need to be working 13 hour days, running off 5 hour energy drinks and Starbucks right? How else do I keep up with my peers and climb up the ladder? If I don’t do it now, I’ll fall behind.
When I came across Ariana Huffington’s exciting new initiative, Thrive Global, I was thrilled to jump in. This is exactly the forum we need to have conversations about the fundamentals. How do we sustain a productive lifestyle while feeding the foundation? How do I succeed in my career but still pay homage to my family’s needs? To my body’s needs?
I thought I’d share a few tips that have helped me the past few months:
1. Plan in Advance — tasks around the house take up for a lot of our free time, so I have taken Sunday as my day to plan! Plan 3–4 meals for the week but leave one or two nights open for fun. The Crock Pot has become my new best friend. Also, stock up on groceries at the beginning of your week, so you never have to look at an empty fridge on the weekday again.
2. Say No — We’re often eager to do it all. To excel at our jobs, cook healthy meals every night, and make it to every event on our social calendars. It can get overwhelming so I’ve learned it’s OK to say no. I’ve begun telling my husband to pick up dinner on his way home for those nights where I refuse to cook. Bring on the carbs. I’ve also adjusted my social calendar to schedule a free weekend each month — a weekend to do absolutely nothing. These small but meaningful actions build up over time.
3. Sleep — I am the first to let this slip off my priority list, but there is a reason why everyone advises you to catch some Zs! You will be in a happier and healthier place in your life if you get at least 7–8 hours each night. Thanks to the new iOS update, I can set a reminder to myself every night of when its time to get ready for bed. Lights out by 10PM!
I look forward to joining this community, excited to read all of your comments and tips. I’m ready to learn, eager to change my ways. I want to know, how do you thrive?
Originally published at medium.com