The Sleep Promise

Ahh New Years resolutions. Made many. Never really kept one.

I truly believe in all things moderation so when it comes to giving up something I’m all like, well why? A little bit of chocolate/sugar/wine/all of the above won’t hurt a gal!

BUT… I’m really going to try this time, because I’ve realised that I really really REALLY need more sleep. Quality shut eye. I’m talkin 8 big fat hours!

I’m not sure when it happened, maybe it was always there… I just can’t remember much pre kids. I know I’ve never been a morning person, but somehow, post babies I’ve become the biggest night owl. Staying up until midnight on a week night is not un-common for me these days.

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Me.. The night owl drinking tea Image source: Pinterest

By the time we get kids to bed, clean up after dinner, do a bit of work or some blog stuff, read, or watch The Bachelor… hello midnight! It doesn’t help that C is up late working on the laptop most nights.

Then before I know it, the alarms go off. Yes, Alarms! The boy version and the girl version. Usually one directly after the other, because let me tell you, there’s no such thing as the pitter patter of small feet. With floorboards it’s more like baby elephants stomping down the hallway at the crack of dawn. And when this happens, I curse myself for going to bed so damn late. And this happens every single morning!

I’m just so tired of waking up tired!

But thank god for holidays… and the opportunity to re-group, re-focus and make a fresh start, especially at New Years.

I’m never more inspired than when I’m on holidays. On holidays I always have these grand thoughts of all the ‘things’ I’m going to do when I get back into the usual routine. These ‘things’ are usually inspired by the holiday destination I’m in. Here’s some real life examples:

  • Intending to take Vietnamese cooking classes after purchasing all the necessary cooking utensils on our Vietnam honeymoon (which are still sitting in the back of my kitchen cupboard 7 years later).
  • Learning to surf after being inspired by the Aloha way of life in Hawaii.
  • Learning to speak Spanish after travelling through South America, vowing to return one day speaking fluently.
  • Doing a travel photography course so I can take better holiday photos.

And then there’s the general ‘other things’ holidays inspire, like:

  • Reading more books.
  • Intending to go to at least 3 yoga classes/gym visits per week.
  • Eating more fruit – usually inspired by a daily breakfast buffet.
  • And of course, vowing to get more sleep – inspired by the arvo holiday siesta.

But of course, as we all know, that holiday feeling fades fast and those grand ‘things’ are usually forgotten pretty quickly, unless we are reminded at some stage throughout the year.

This year my reminder came when I saw Arianna Huffington speak at a Business chicks breakfast (You can read about that here). Arianna famously fell asleep burning the midnight oil and woke in a pool of her own blood after collapsing from exhaustion. Since seeing her speak, I’ve read her book Thrive and so much of what she talks about really is just common sense. As she says… “Why can’t we learn from her health crisis? Why wait until it happens to us to realise?”

Arianna Huffington

So I figure it’s time. Time to go public with this resolution right here on the blog, because then I’ll be held accountable and only then will I have the motivation to at least give this a real crack.

So with that in mind, my New Years resolution, or my promise to myself as I’d prefer to call it, is to get more zzz’s. The Sleep Promise. I plan to start slow, and go to bed half an hour earlier, then build on that, exactly as Arianna recommends. And I’ll start on the 2nd of Jan {Because who starts a NY Resolution on the 1st of Jan?}

I know if I can just get more sleep, everything else will fall into place. I’ll be less snappy with my2morrows, will have more energy, a better memory and will generally be more productive. Maybe I’ll even be inspired to learn spanish or take up Vietnamese cooking classes or become a morning person and run 10 Km’s every morning!! Haha… Small steps Shannon!

So, as I sit and write this {at 11:21pm on a weeknight}, I shannon, promise to make more of an effort to get me some more zzz’s in 2015.

What’s your 2015 promise to yourself?

Finish this sentnce in the comments below, I’d LOVE to hear!

I …….. promise to………… In 2015.

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Strive to thrive

Alfred d. souza

Yesterday: Ferrying the kids to swimming lessons, doing laundry, grocery shopping, wiping small bottoms.

Today: Breakfast function with Arianna Huffington surrounded by hundreds of this country’s most successful business women and a handful of celebs. (Sidenote – If you happen to be considering cosmetic surgery at all, find out who KAK’s surgeon is… she is looking amazing!)

Tomorrow: Lunch function with Seth Godin

Working part time means my weekdays can be in complete contrast, going from the mundane to the glamorous and everything in between. And although it’s crazy and chaotic and at times I have wanted to throw it all in, I do love it… It’s my ‘happy chaos’.

So, the alarm was set for the crack of dawn to get myself sorted for a 7am start in the city. This meant getting dressed in the dark so not to wake the small person who made his way into our bed during the wee hours, which is becoming a bit of a habit lately. Must get onto fixing that, but probably easier to just buy a king size bed!

Arianna was fantastic as expected. Engaging, warm, honest and also very funny.

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Known as a sleep evangelist after falling asleep at her desk and waking in a pool of blood back in 2007, she spent some time covering the topic of SLEEP.

It’s been over 5 years since I’ve had a decent amount of SLEEP, and by decent amount, I mean 8 hours STRAIGHT. A whole big fat block of blissful, heavy SLEEP!

The odd 7 hour block here and there has given me a glimpse of how good you feel and how much better you function with some decent shut eye. But it’s the consistency I struggle with. Night time is ‘my time’ and I’ve become a bit of a night owl. Hmm, maybe time to change all that!

Arianna says that when you consistently get 8 hours of sleep per night, at those times when you do start to feel a bit tired, you really notice just how crap you are, at EVERYTHING… from your mood, the ability to focus, and basically every part of our mental and physical performance as humans!

So she encouraged us all to get just an extra 30 mins of sleep per night.Ok, cool.. I think I can actually do that!

She then went on to talk about her 12 steps which she details in her new book ‘Thrive’ – The third metric to redefining success and creating a happier life. 

So here’s a summary of the bits I took in from her keynote today:

  • Aussies are a bunch of strivers and she says we should “Strive to thrive”.
  • Giving can mean lots of things including how we interact with others every day.
  • You don’t create from your inbox – so why do we spend so much time there?
  • Pick things that no longer serve you and drop them, ie watching a TV show or a hobby that you’re not really that great at. It’s ok to give something up in order to create space and invite new things to come in. It’s liberating.
  • If you focus on what to be grateful for even in tough times, it’s easier to overcome those hard times and move from struggle to grace.
  • The world tends to tells us what’s important. You need to put your hand on heart and say no… this is what’s important.
  • Put your oxygen mask on first – Take care of ourselves and we will be better at everything else.
  • Upon waking in the morning, take 1 minute to set your intention for the day. Set your agenda before the world sets it for you.
  • ‘Busy-ness’ should not be a badge of honour. We need to change the workplace culture.
  • Creating space in our lives is critical.
  • Success defined by power and money is not enough. Success must include health, wisdom, wonder and giving.
  • Instead of onward and upwards, we should say ‘Onward, upward and inward – to focus more on our wellbeing and internal strength.
  • Why can’t we learn from her health crisis? Why wait until it happens to us to realise?
  • Turn off devices at night… make your bedroom device free. Arianna sites Padmasree Warrior, the chief technology officer at Cisco as her role model who is known to sleep 8 hrs, meditates and has a self imposed digital detox every Saturday. If the CTO of Cisco can do it… anyone can. Even God took 1 day off after moving heaven and earth, so why can’t you?
  • Mum you’ll be happy to hear this one… the Shabbat concept is really nice and we all need a day off… a REAL day off. Not allowing time for quiet reflection and recharging is just not sustainable.

So much to take in and I’m glad I’ve documented it as I know I’ll come back to this for reminders during those times when the happy chaos turns to shit.

So I’m off to bed 30 minutes earlier and upon waking in the morning, I shall set my intention for the day.

Onwards, Upwards and Inwards…

Shannon x

 PS. Got home and was asked by C “how was your breakfast?” and “Who was it with? I said “Adrianna Huffington (founder of the Huffington post)” he said: “Never heard of her.” Ahh… the person who could use her advice the most has never even heard of her!

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So what would you give up in order to create space and invite new things to come into your life?

How much shut eye do you get per night?

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