Sleep, wellness, and changes

Jun 19, 2015

Making changes isn't easy. But it's also hard not really feeling good about yourself and wishing you felt better physically every day. Which one wins out in the end is up to me. Patience to change is hard. I'm a do-it-now and quick-results kind of girl, so implementing small changes over a long period of time is almost like torture at times. 

The changes I need to make regarding physical wellness have been more evident these past few weeks. What started as an opportunity to review a Jawbone UPMOVE has turned into a jumpstart to getting back on a path of wellness. This week, it has helped me see how little sleep I'm getting. I enjoy checking in on my stats in the morning to see how the night went. The average amount of sleep for the last two weeks has been 5 hours. 5 hours! Many nights it's been less time and I'm feeling it! 

Now let's face it, I'm a mom of a toddler and infant. Sleep is finicky around here. While I can't help what happens between bedtime and the morning, there are a few variables I can control. 

1. Start my routine early.
A lot of times I skip my bedtime routine and get straight under the sheets. Taking time to wind down and take care of my skin in the process would contribute to wellness. 

2. Getting to bed at a reasonable time
Hard to do some nights, but most nights I choose chores over getting into bed earlier. My goal now is to try to get in bed by ten. 

3. Putting down the electronics.
There is study after study talking about the negative health impacts going to sleep browsing your phone. I'm so guilty! I end up staying up way later than I actually get into bed. My goal now is to limit my time on my phone and leave it on the nightstand instead of on the bed/under my pillow. 

4. Take a magnesium supplement
Magnesium is vital to the functions of the body, one of those being sleep! 

My type-A personality needs somewhere to log all of that, and my Upmove is the perfect place. One of my favorite features of the racker allows me to keep track of sleeping and waking times, as well as light and heavy sleeping through the night. Also, the Smart Coach feature gives me suggestions, like what time to go to bed to meet my goals or how many hours I would need to sleep to beat my time from the previous day. 

I used to be able to sleep on mere hours a day, but lately I've suffered at the hand of sleep depravity and I'm going to do what I can to change that. Habits can be changed and change starts with awareness. I think the hardest part will be putting my phone down instead of browsing late into the night. I'm motivated to move towards physical wellness and I'm glad I've got the resources to help me with that. 

In what ways could you improve your sleep habits? What resources do you use to help keep track of your goals and accomplishments?

This blog post was sponsored by Jawbone, but all experiences were genuine. 

10 Father's Day Gifts for the Crunchy Dad

Jun 16, 2015

Father's Day has always been special to celebrate with my own dad, but now that we get to celebrate Michael it's even extra special. He's an amazing dad and we'd be here all day if I listed all the things we love about him. I often look online for gift ideas, but there aren't many suggestions for the hobbies and lifestyle the dad in our house might enjoy. Have a guy who loves the outdoors or lives a more natural lifestyle? Here are a few ideas under $100! 
1. Coffee Grinder - nothing like a cup of coffee with fresh ground coffee that you put some love into! If your guy is as picky about his coffee as ours is, he'll enjoy grinding his own quality beans. 

2. A monthly subscription to Dollar Shave Club - affordable 4 or 5 blade razors delivered every month to keep a close shave and ensure he won't run out when he needs them! 

3. Fermentation Crock and The Art of Fermentation Guide - he can start a huge batch of Kombucha in his own kitchen! 

4. Rite in the Rain waterproof notebooks are awesome for journaling or observation notes while in the elements. 

5. Wisdom Woodsy Beard Oil, to keep his beard maintained and moisturized. 

6. Beer Making Kit for getting creative at home. 

7. Hydro Flask Insulated Stainless Steel water bottle, for chemical free drinking with a lightweight bottle.

8. Chaco Sandals - perfect for warmer summer weather! 

9. Local gift cards - coffee shops, restaurants for a future date night, or even activity vouchers! 

10. Outdoor date - grab your guy and surprise him with a couples' row down the river or a hike to a local waterfall. 

I hope some of these are inspiration for you for the crunchy dad in your life. We're thankful for all the awesome dads we know and are excited to celebrate them. What are you doing for the awesome dads in your life this Father's Day?

Back On Track

Jun 11, 2015

Sometimes, I'm a slacker. I'll admit it. I'm not a natural-born exerciser. I love baked goods too darn much. And as a mom of a toddler and an infant, I don't even set an alarm. They are my alarm and it usually sounds like, "Maaaaa-maaaaa" from down the hall. If I'm being totally honest, I haven't had a good workout in a year and a half.  I gained 40 pounds during my pregnancy with Abe and the last 25 have been hanging around like my bff

And you know, it's not even really the number on the scale that I worry too much about. It's more about how I feel. And I feel tired and sluggish and bloated and frustrated that nothing fits, and that fans the flame of feelings about myself that aren't so positive. 

I got to thinking about what it is that I'd really like to change. And I decided...I'd like to be stronger. I'd like to be healthier. I'd like my clothes to fit well. I'd like to make wiser food choices. I'd like to be on the move more. I'd like to get more sleep. I'd like to have better habits.  And I realized all those things can be done with some effort and a little help. 

When Jawbone contacted me to review their newest fitness tracker, the Up Move, I realized this was a perfect opportunity to make some changes. To be honest, I'd never heard of it before and was amazed when I researched it further. I was even more impressed when it came in the mail. 

The Up Move tracks steps taken, logs hours of sleep (deep and light), allows you to set specific goals, and includes a meal tracker. My favorite part is Smart Coach, a feature that keeps track of all of your data and makes logical suggestions on the app and via email for ways to improve on reaching your goals. For a mom of two small little guys who barely has time to shower in the morning, it's a bonus to have something tailored to my busy day. 

 The strap is super light and comfortable. The tracker itself is the small, battery-operated inner circle and can be taken out and put into a cute little waist clip for less obvious tracking. I immediately downloaded the app and learned how to set the tracker mode. It was super simple and uses a circular dashed-lighting to let me know where I'm at.

10,000 steps a day was my goal for walking. I didn't think it sounded like a lot. Um, a super long and challenging mommy day didn't come close to meeting that goal! It helped me come back to reality on my level of movement during the day. Because of that info I'm able to check progress throughout the day. I find it fun to try to "beat" my goal and look for creative ways to get moving - taking a stroll at the park with the stroller, walking around the mall, parking farther away. 

Sleep is another issue around here. By the end of the day I'm exhausted but have had hardly any time to myself to read, catch up on a show, or even just finish up a chore. I end up staying up way too late, but had myself convinced that I was getting enough sleep! I wore the wristband to bed and the first night I was shocked to learn that I only got 4 hours and 53 minutes of sleep. I opened up my app the next morning and not only did I not get enough sleep, my deep sleep was minimal. Being aware of this has me attempting earlier bed times and putting my phone away instead of staying up browsing. 

And food. It's a love-hate relationship. I love all the things that are bad for me and don't crave the things I know are good. When I've had success in the past it's been with keeping track of what I've eaten and being organized. I love that the UP app includes a food tracker and that everything I need is all in one app. 
At the end of the day, for me to create change, I've got to do it big. My body and mind need a shock to wake up and get my stuff together. Because of that I've got a little plan to get back on track and improve my health and wellness.

1. Boot Camp
Here's the kicker. It starts at 6:30am and happens 3x a week. I'm crazy, I know, but it's what works for me at this stage of motherhood. Michael agreed to leave a little later for work and stay with the boys until I get back. This morning he even had breakfast ready for me before he left for work. What a keeper.

2. Organization & Tracking 
This type-A, list-maker mama is loving using my Jawbone Up Move to track food, sleep, steps, and activity. Being aware is the first step to making change and I'm hoping that by being more in tune to what goes on with my body that I'll be more likely to make better choices.

I'm excited and would love to chronicle my journey back to a healthier me. This week I'll be tracking steps, sleep, and meals, and working on finding several ways to be active. Check back next Thursday to see how I'm doing!