Getting a good night's sleep is so important for our bodies and our minds. The best way to make sure you are getting enough is to have a set sleep schedule. Pick a sleep time and a wake up time. Try to have the hour before sleeping and the hour right after waking up as no screen time. Screens and technology can really mess up with our sleep and bright lights can also make our brains not realize it's time for sleeping.
Here are my morning and evening sleep routines:
5:00 am - Wake up
5:00 am to 6:00 am - Reading, meditation, yoga, no screens allowed
6:00 am to 7:00 am - Breakfast, news, email, prepping for work if needed
7:00 am to 7:30 am - Tidying up and getting ready for work
7:30 am - Leave for work
7:30 pm to 8:00 pm - Tidying up and evening cleaning routine
8:00 pm to 9:00 pm - Reading, writing in my journal, meditation, yoga, no screens allowed
9:00 pm - Sleeping
Having a good work/life balance is so important to our physical and mental health. Employers are expecting more and more from us and we are working harder and feeling more pressure. For me I have been setting a designated "home by" time of 5 pm. This doesn't always happen due to meetings and things after work such as grocery shopping, but for the most part I am able to accomplish this. I've also set a goal for me to not work at home AT ALL during the evening or on Saturdays. Occasionally I will work a bit in the morning before work but I've been getting better at doing what I need to get done before leaving the night before. Sundays I do work at home but it's the easiest way for me to get the majority of my weekly planning done. By doing it at home instead of after work during the week, I'm able to take breaks as needed, cuddle the dog, or have a show on in the background. Another part of balance that has been key for me is making sure I have an activity at least monthly that is "fun" and just for me to enjoy. Right now that has been getting a massage (thankfully my work benefits cover this!) or going out to a local hockey game. We are not on this planet to work, we are here to enjoy life so make sure you are balancing it out, setting limits, and allowing yourself some downtime.
As a Buddhist meditation is an important part of my spiritual life. For me it goes beyond that though and is also part of my mental well being and positive thinking. There are multiple ways to meditate, self-directed, taking a class/with a group, or guided using an app or other audio. Here is a breakdown on each type and my thoughts on each:
Self-directed - This is something you completely do on your own. Before being able to do this you would need to have taken a course or read a few books on how to meditate without any guidance. I took a course last year and now really enjoy this method.
Class/With a Group - I have taken an online class and have done a few group guided meditations but they are definitely not me favourite. The course I took was specifically for Buddhists (although non-Buddhists could also benefit from the teachings) and I enjoyed it for the techniques I learned. I wouldn't want to have taken it in an in-person setting though, but that's just my comfort level. If you are hoping to learn from an expert there are classes available in larger cities as well as retreats.
App - Technology has definitely made guided meditation more accessible to people. I enjoy apps and there are many to choose from. Most these days do require a subscription service though. My favourite app right now is Calm. It offers a basic free version as well as monthly and lifetime premium versions. I was fortune enough to receive a free subscription through my work. What I like most about Calm is that you can use the app on your phone or tablet, or you can use the website version. Of course this means you can't use it offline but it is still better than only having an app as your option. I also like that they offer "classes" and focus on mindfulness.
Audio Recordings - By far my favourite type is audio recordings through MP3. My preferred provider is Circle + Bloom (save 15% by using my affiliate link) because of the variety of programs available and the calming voice that does the recordings. I started purchasing from Circle+Bloom in 2014 when I was trying to conceive. At the time they focused on fertility meditations and that is what I was looking for. I eventually purchased many more of their fertility and pregnancy ones, as well as the Healthy Body, Healthy Mind program. They have been kind enough to gift me others that I will be trying, and reviewing, throughout 2020. I prefer the Circle + Bloom recordings over an app because they are are portable and more reliable than an app. In the past I've had apps change their services, or even close down completely. With the audio recordings I know that I will have them forever, no internet required, no app to update or issues with my device being too old. They also offer CDs if that is more your thing. I highly recommend you check out what they offer and try out one of their free offerings. You won't be disappointed.
For 2020 I plan on doing a daily self-directed session (using what I learned from my course last year) and a daily Circle + Bloom guided session focusing on a different program each month.
It is so important for us to have goals and to be working towards something in our lives. The key for me is to have a big goal, then break it down into tinier steps. I can't just have one big goal or it's unrealistic that I will actually achieve it. Having smaller goals, especially ones that are daily, really make a difference for me. This year I'm also trying something new and choosing a goal for each major category in my life. The categories are: Spiritual, personal growth, career, health, relationships, financial, and free time and family. These were taken from the 30 Day Law of Attraction Planner that I use.
The final way I have for you to start your year off in a positive way is to make a plan for exercising. I don't mean huge amounts of cardio or strength training, I mean getting a tiny big more movement into your day, EVERY DAY. This could be walking to work, doing some yoga, putting on a quick fitness video, or even just taking the stairs. Set an appointment for you and your fitness and stick with it. This is non-negotiable. This is an appointment for you and your health and needs to be kept. I personally find that doing it first thing in the morning is the best because I feel like I accomplished something before I even start my day. Also it's harder to make excuses, forget about it, or just give up. It's already done, I can check it off my list, and move on with everything else.