Get some sleep!

Our society seems to value getting by on very little sleep. How many times have you heard someone say, “Yep, I get by on five hours a night,” and you think, “I should be able to do that.”

But the thing is your body needs deep, uninterrupted sleep every night. Sleep is when your brain reorganizes and recharges. When you cut that short, you wake up groggy. You can’t answer a question until you’ve had at least two cups of coffee. You fantasize about taking a nap as you head into a late afternoon meeting. You have a heck of a time staying focused.  And good luck getting to the things you want to get done.

You may feel like you’re getting by just fine, but new medical studies show that a lack of regular sleep can have significant health implications – with brain diseases like Alzheimer’s, and on your over-all good health.

I loved a recent write-up in the Smithsonian about how even jellyfish have to sleep. This means that this sea creature becomes completely vulnerable for certain periods of the day or night – and yet has survived for millennia. Continue reading

What are you leaving at the door?

“We all want to belong and to love each other.”

The Rev. angel Kyodo williams was one of my favorite speakers at the Good Life Project camp a few weeks back. Thoughts from her talk continue to roll around in my head.

Most of us give up something in order to belong. We dress a certain way. We speak a certain way – and don’t speak a certain way. We don’t want to offend anyone and we don’t want to make anyone angry. It’s all really civilized but it isn’t always real.

What would it be like if when you entered a room, you brought in your whole self? What if you brought everything in with you? Continue reading

Taking on too much

I started working at a “regular” job about 3 weeks ago after doing freelance work for 17 years. I have freelance work I’m still wrapping up. And I continue to run two web businesses. And I’ve given 3 talks on Organizational Zen in as many weeks. AND we held auditions this week for a musical I’m directing that includes a cast of 16 kids and 14 adults.

I’m not eating much or sleeping enough because I don’t have time. I’m in new environments with new routines. I’m meeting dozens of new people. And I’m learning new skills and testing old ones at work and at the theater.

I feel swamped and somewhat out of control like I can’t catch my breath. I missed a call last week – which I HATE. And I feel like I really, really just want to take a nap but I can’t because there’s too much to be done! Continue reading

Being grateful for the irritant

At the Good Life Project camp last weekend, founder Jonathan Fields did a talk on podcasting. We were chatting about what makes a great interview, and of course, it’s when the presenter has a good story. But a good story is rarely a story where everything goes right.

Why? Because:

  1. No one believes the presenter.
  2. There’s little emotion or take-away.
  3. We don’t tend to like a person who tells us everything in their life is perfect.

Jonathan gave the example of a person who says he grew up in a terrific family, got into a great school, and ended up in investment banking – only to find out he really, really loves investment banking. This may sound like a great life but it isn’t a great story. Continue reading

Ideas for a 30-day challenge

I’m teaching a class this winter and have been toying with the idea of making it a 30-day challenge. When I found this graphic on the web last week, I thought, “This is it! I’ll do a 30-day declutter challenge.”

I gave this a little more thought and decided no one could declutter for 30 days straight without losing their mind. I mean, I like decluttering and this chart looks daunting.

That got me thinking about other 30-day challenges. Continue reading

A clan gathers

In the past, clan members from different nations and cultures would walk for miles and even days to show off new children, play competitive games, drink, and eat. And we’re really no different from our ancestors.

Remi is our newest clan member

I was thinking this morning about how important it is that our “clan” gathers at least once a year at the beach. I always think I’m going to get a lot of reading and work done, but most of our time together is spent relaxing, hearing stories, cooking together, and having fun exploring new towns. In our family, there’s a silent commitment to set aside our differences for the week – which is really important. And we make an effort to be sure everyone feels included in whatever activities are going on.

Think about times in your life when you’ve gathered with your clan. Births, weddings, funerals, family trips. You spend some time reflecting on the past – telling old, funny stories. But you also spend time getting re-acquainted and strengthening family bonds. Continue reading

Get happy = get healthy

I’m traveling in Virginia this week, and a good friend told me about a study out of UCLA that explains four ways to make you to feel happier. The Dalai Lama worries that Americans don’t feel they have a right to be happy and that being happy shouldn’t be a goal. He says that’s nonsense, and if the Dalai Lama says “Go for it – it’s okay,” who are we to argue?

Here’s what’s important about happiness as explained by UCLA neuroscience researcher Alex Korb:

Continue reading