Healthy Living--The Art of Napping

Many people agree that there are three major components that go into living a healthy lifestyle. Diet, exercise, and rest. I am not enthusiastic about exercise and I am not consistently good at eating right, but what I lack in those two areas, I make up for in naps. If napping burned calories I would be in amazing shape. But, while napping doesn’t have the same effect as running up a flight of stairs, it does have a lot of benefits. It rejuvenates your brain, helps you heal when you are sick, keeps your memory sharp, and improves creativity.

Aside from all of the benefits, I really enjoy napping. My naps tend to range from 45 -90 minutes around the 2-3 o'clock hour and I will look forward to taking a nap for days before it is actually taken. I have even been known to get a bit grumpy if my schedule is so packed that I won’t be able to squeeze a nap in for a few days. I regularly began taking naps in high school and since then I have learned a lot about how to nap. There are four tips that I think are the most important, and when I follow them, I wake up refreshed, energetic, and happy.IMG_8335

  • Help your brain differentiate between regular sleep and naps
    • Don’t get under the covers and don’t wear an eye mask
    • Naps are midday pick me ups. If I get too comfortable or it is too dark in the room, my brain thinks it is time for actual sleep and getting up from the nap is tough.
  • Set an alarm
    • This might seem obvious but I know that I have tried to skip this many times and the results are not pretty. Even if I am only going to close my eyes for 10 minutes, I set an alarm. There's nothing worse than taking a nap and waking up hours after you wanted to.
  • Drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up
    • No matter how short the nap is, I will usually feel a bit groggy when my alarm first goes off. Drinking water wakes up my body and mind and I am ready to go with the rest of my day!

Creating a Meaningful Life: Learning to Meditate

meditationA professor in college once told our class that you’ll know you found the right partner for you when you like who you are when you’re with them. It made me realize that the Sonja I had been in past relationships was not a Sonja that I liked. When I met Rob, I finally was able to see what my professor had been talking about. He is patient, caring, genuinely kind, always looks at the world with a cup half full mentality and will go out of his way to help anyone. I inherited a lot of these qualities from my mom, so they have always been there. But for a long time they were buried beneath my shell of anger, impatience, jealousy, and selfishness. Over the last five years a lot of these qualities have been unearthed by simply being around him and subconsciously mimicking how he lives his life. In the last year or so I became more consciously aware of how exhausting it is when I am in a bad mood, impatient, angry, or just generally in a bad mood. While a good portion of the time I like the Sonja I have become, there are still times that the other Sonja rears her ugly head. I decided to make more of an effort to be a kind and positive person. Life is too short to be spend it angry or unhappy. The Happy Vibes posts were my first step in working to be more positive, more of the time. And I have noticed a change. I take time each day and week to think about a moment I am in and appreciate it for making me happy. This change has given me motivation to find other ways to learn how to be present in each moment, and to find the positive in any situation. So when Rob mentioned he’d heard a segment on Smart Passive Income about morning routines and meditation, I was intrigued.

Now while I do try a lot of different ways of improving my life and health (like taking creative writing classes, not drinking for two months or doing VB6) I always approach them with skepticism. Before fully committing to learning how to meditate, I wanted to try it a few times. I’ve spent the last month practicing sporadically. I did a quick search to find a few tips and techniques and have been trying them all out to see what seems to work best for me. I haven’t noticed a significant change in my overall mood yet, and honestly it is not easy. However, the few times I have done it, I have really enjoyed it. I have felt light, happy and calm afterwards. I have been able to get to a point in each session where I feel weightless, as if I am floating, and I really love that feeling. At this point though, I haven’t been able to hold that feeling long. It has inspired me though, to practice more consistently, and research more tips and techniques.

My goal is to meditate for 10 minutes every morning to start my day off feeling light and happy. I’d also like to use meditation as a tool in specific situations that stress me out or make me feel angry, to calm myself down and look at whatever the situation is in a more positive light. As I move forward in this journey of practicing meditation I will share with you the techniques I try, which ones work best for me, and if I see a change in my overall mood. For the next week my goal is to meditate each morning using the counting breath technique. If meditation is something you have wanted to try, I invite you to try the techniques I try each week and tell me how they work for you. I would also be interested in tips and techniques from all of you since this all new to me. I can’t wait to share this new journey with you!