Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What works

I'm participating in Sarah's summer virtual retreat (If you're not, think about it), and the theme of this week is inside/out - what practices/habits can you cultivate to feel your best.  Having come back from vacation and then spent a busy day at work yesterday, I was thinking about the best of both worlds.  Vacation is a combination of novel and relaxing.  I usually get more sleep than usual, but I tend to eat a lot more and exercise a lot less.  Work is not alway so exciting and there are nights when I stay up waaaayyy too late for my early wake up, but I tend to eat healthier, be more active, and keep up with other activities I enjoy like playing the piano.  So if I could merge all the best of vacation with all the best of regular life, what would I end up with?  Here are the 9 things I consider essential components of an ideal day in the life of Chelsea.

1. Daily exercise - I get very crabby, very quickly when I sit around all day.  I'm like that pet that you thought you could leave in its cage while you were at work.  When you come home, I will chew your shoes, destroy two houseplants, and then use my tiny claws to cling to your head until you let me out for a walk.  As a side note, I've found that not just running but switching things up and doing yoga and lifting weights several times a week makes me look and feel my best.

2. Daily devotion - While I don't feel physically uncomfortable if I don't spend time praying and reading God's word, I feel... disconnected.  Starting my day with gratitude, learning from individuals who show good (and bad!) character through adversity and having an outlet to share my worries helps me focus on what is truly important in life.

3. Daily fruit and vegetables - To me a meal is not complete unless it contains at least one serving of produce.

Sorry, Ragu, you do not count.
 4. Daily music - Yes, 7 million Chinese 5-year-olds are better than me at the piano, but only 3 million are better than me at the first 20 measures of "I heard it Through the Grapevine".  Whether it's an hour or simply 10 minutes before I have to run out the door, I'm happier when I make music part of my day.

5. Daily desert - But not as much as what is still hiding in a sack under your kid's bed leftover from Easter (and last Halloween if you're lucky).
And not for breakfast.  Ummm, can I trade the candy
corn for some strawberry jam?
6. Daily novelty - Sometimes my life is busy and exciting.  Sometimes I feel like day after day is the same and I have nothing at all interesting to say.  Even if all I do is go to the sensory deprivation gym and sit at my desk at work and make Excel tables all day, I want to keep my eyes open for something new/interesting/novel.  It's that or use drugs.

7. Daily caffeine - This is where the drugs come in.  Now stop giving me a condescending look and pass me a Diet Mt. Dew.
I love you, too.
8. Daily (enough) sleep - On vacation, I could easily do 8-9 hours.  I think if I could sleep as much as I wanted every night, my body would naturally fluctuate between 7 and 9 hours.  In real life, I think never going below 6 and sticking some 9s in on the weekend to balance things out is pretty good.

9. Daily unstructured family time - I'm the kind of person who likes to schedule everything, but it never feels right to interrupt a good conversation (or Futurama episode) because it's "time" to read 1.5 pages of April's The Atlantic before I zonk out for the night.  I feel better when I get everything done before the evening so I can just relax and enjoy Daniel's company without feeling like I "should" be getting other things done.

So how about you?  Are you participating in the virtual retreat?  What do you consider essential components to your life?  

I'm about to go work on number 1 right now.

PS - Good news!  The fan is staying.