That usually means I am scrambling around, trying to put my Christmas decorations away while simultaneously cleaning my house from top to bottom, and trying to write down my New Year's Resolutions for the upcoming year. Every year, I say I want to lose 10 pounds and go to the gym or my yoga class 5 times a week. Ha! I also say I'm going to stop spending money on Amazon splurges. Double ha! And of course, the whole "I'm going to actually keep the house clean this year". Now, I'm rolling on the floor, laughing at my naive-ness.
Ok, to be fair to myself, I did accomplish one AWESOME goal in 2018, which was to give birth to a healthy, happy baby girl. That was my mantra if I ever felt overwhelmed, or stressed out, or tired (which was often, especially because I was pregnant for 10 and a half months): "Happy... healthy..." over and over until I calmed down and re-centered. Our Kenna girl is almost 8 months old, and is just amazing (but then again, I'm pretty biased).
This year, I've decided to make some REALISTIC goals, that I'm actually going to stick to. Woah. This is big, y'all. Read on and I'll tell you all about them.
I decided to word vomit all of my thoughts onto paper as I started thinking of all the menial little goals running through my head the last few weeks. The list kept growing. When I started, it was so altruistic: "I'm going to wake up every day and make coffee for my husband so we can have some quiet adult time together." "I'm going to keep my pantry and freezer stocked so I don't have to make last minute grocery runs and then order takeout instead... no, we are going to cook every night and eat real food."
Then, I found myself writing things like, "I'm going to make sure I water the plants every other day" and "I'll make sure to let the dog out before bedtime". Ok, yes I get it that my plants need water (I recently found out that even succulents can die of lack of water, oops), and my pup Ellie probably would be much happier if she got a late-evening bathroom run, but that is NOT what resolutions should look like. I decided to take a step back and look at the big picture.
Let me share one thing about myself: I LOVE to color code. Maybe it's the schoolteacher in me, but nothing is more exciting than buying school supplies and having lots of coloring utensils. I digress. Anyway, I took my big long list of tiny little goals, and I colored coded them into three major categories.
I intentionally made my categories one word each, and I spent time to make sure that each word totally encompassed each and every one of my goals.
CULTIVATE- Here's another fun detail about myself. My husband and I own and operate a small organic farm, so when I think of this word, I think about taking a long-handled tool like a stirrup hoe and using it to get rid of those pesky plants we don't want by weeding, and allowing the plants we do want to grow and flourish.
Using the same word in my goals, I want to cultivate a healthy lifestyle. I want to get rid of the bad habits, like ordering takeout when I'm hangry and running to the grocery store at the last minute, and instead plan my meals in advance so I can ensure I have plenty of healthy food in the fridge and freezer. Of course, this also pertains to our garden, which I also want to be cultivated. But also very importantly, I want to actively spend lots of time making great memories with my family. I want to travel a little bit this summer, and go to the beach (we live less than 10 minutes from the beach, after all), and have time for fun things.
FREE- I use this word intentionally, but I am not saying I want to be free of every responsibility. What I mean by this is that I want to be free of worry and free of debt. I think my husband will agree, but I really need to stop utilizing the "Buy with one click" option on Amazon (but to be fair, he does too). So part of this goal means getting rid of that lingering credit card debt from Christmas shopping as well as paying off my investment for the Bee Wise business.
Another part of the goal is to be worry free. When Kenna was born, I worried so much about being able to even leave the house to run to the store because I had terrible anxiety about her having a meltdown. Well, fast forward to implementing the same sleep plan I use with my clients, and now I can plan ahead with the routine we've created because I now know how to prevent her from becoming overtired, which is the reason she used to have meltdowns and shriek for an hour. But, I want to take it a step further, and be more confident in being worry free about other areas of my life too, and speak up for things that I need, too. Like when I just need to take an hour, and go enjoy a cup of coffee by myself. I need to claim that time and carve in some self-love.
THRIVE- And lastly, my third word is thrive. I don't want to merely survive, and eek out a life for myself and my family. No, I want to thrive. I established this business because I found something I am really passionate about. Yes, sleep is great and all, but here's the WHY.
When my daughter was born, I was just surviving. I tried to nap when I could, I did my best to keep it together and not break down in tears when I got spit up on or when I spilled my coffee, and I really tried to not be resentful or get angry with my husband and his worthless nipples. But because I was only sleeping an hour here or there, I was extremely sleep deprived, and I was struggling. I just thought it was normal and that all new moms should go through it, like a rite of passage.
That is not a sustainable life though, let me tell you from personal experience. My mental and physical health were both suffering. I know some of you have been dealing with fragmented sleep now for months, and maybe even years. It does NOT have to be like this. There is a better way.
I started this business because I know how life-changing it feels when I am well rested. I feel energized, and refreshed, and ready to tackle anything. That's why in my goals I want to continue to build this business, so I can help families and moms LIKE YOU. Because it's important that you feel present when you are spending time with your family. And it's important to enjoy your moments with them, so you can have fun, and be spontaneous, and make those memories.
I hope you feel empowered by my story, because you are strong and capable and you deserve it.
If you made it this far, I thank you. Happy New Year, and cheers to 2019 and all that it will bring!
Sleep is SO important to a healthy mental AND physical state. Here's some recent research that supports this:
A 2008 study (1) by the National Institute of Health looked at the average number of daily hours of sleep that kids between 6 months and two years old were getting, and then compared those results with their occurrences of obesity. The children who got an average of less than 12 hours of sleep a day were over twice as likely to be obese than those who slept for 12 or more. A much larger study (2) done in the UK showed similar results.
Children are being diagnosed with ADHD at much higher rates than ever before. Recent studies, such as this one in 2016, have determined that interventions that resulted in children getting improved sleep reduced or eliminated symptoms of ADHD (3).
Sleep deprivation in new mothers leads to long-term lower quality of life (4), including susceptibility to mental health issues such as post-partum depression (4), trouble with social functioning in a marriage , relationship, or friendships (4), and decreased cognitive performance in everyday tasks (5).
If your New Year's Resolutions include anything to do with improving your health, or improving your mental state, take a good look at your current sleep state. Is this an area that needs work? Would getting your infant or toddler to sleep through the night improve your mental clarity or provide some extra energy? (Ummm, yes, of course it would!)
Testimonial from a recent success story:
1. Taveras, E. M., Rifas-Shiman, S. L., Oken, E., Gunderson, E. P., & Gillman, M. W. (2008). Short sleep duration in infancy and risk of childhood overweight. Archives of pediatrics & adolescent medicine, 162(4), 305-311.
2. Reilly, J. J., Armstrong, J., Dorosty, A. R., Emmett, P. M., Ness, A., Rogers, I., ... & Sherriff, A. (2005). Early life risk factors for obesity in childhood: cohort study. Bmj, 330(7504), 1357.
3. Peppers, K. H., Eisbach, S., Atkins, S., Poole, J. M., & Derouin, A. (2016). An intervention to promote sleep and reduce ADHD symptoms. Journal of Pediatric Health Care, 30(6), e43-e48.
4. Lee, M., Choh, A. C., Demerath, E. W., Knutson, K. L., Duren, D. L., Sherwood, R. J., ... & Czerwinski, S. A. (2009). Sleep disturbance in relation to health-related quality of life in adults: the Fels Longitudinal Study. JNHA-The Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging, 13(6), 576-583.
5. Jackson, M. L., Gunzelmann, G., Whitney, P., Hinson, J. M., Belenky, G., Rabat, A., & Van Dongen, H. P. (2013). Deconstructing and reconstructing cognitive performance in sleep deprivation. Sleep medicine reviews, 17(3), 215-225.