1% Better Requires a New Yoga Mat

My 1% is a little longer than a week this time, but includes a few elements. Every day I’m checking my HRV when I wake up, doing a guided meditation, practicing yoga (and I mean practice cause I’m not very good at it) and I’m working at least 45 hours a week.

Whew!

This is a lot for me to do at once, but it’s what I’ve been trying to be able to do for months. I just kind of quietly started shortly before New Year’s Day and have kept it up for a couple of weeks. Except for the working, that’s new this month for me to push past 40 hours, and I am certainly feeling it.

  1. I check my HRV every morning when I wake up. I have a heart rate monitor and an app that do it and after 2 minutes I get a number on a scale of 1-10 that shows my relative “readiness”, essentially how much stress tolerance I have that day. I’ve been in the 6-7 range, which is a bit low, and I am struggling with being overwhelmed and lacking creativity in a way that is consistent with those lower numbers. It’s ideal for me to be a 9 or 10, but I haven’t been a 10 yet this year and I’ve been a 9 only 6 out of 14 days. 7 is when I have to start paying attention and be mindful about not pushing too hard and 6 is when it’s pretty likely I will have a meltdown if I’m not protecting myself from what might seem to be pretty minimal stress. I’ve done this every morning for 30 days in a row now, and I’m getting pretty familiar with what the number – a proxy for my stress tolerance – can tell me about myself and how it can help me manage PTSD.
  2. I’ve been doing a guided meditation from Audible with 20 sessions. The first session is 5 minutes and you work up to 20 minutes on the 20th session. I just started it for the second time because I wanted a little more practice with some of the breathing techniques, which were new to me, and I am changing up how I do it. The first time through I laid down because that was the most comfortable and I did it right after I checked my HRV, so I didn’t have to get out of bed and could comfortably roll into my morning. I think that was helpful, and a good way for me to get started. This time through I’m listening to the sessions in the evening while seated on my yoga mat. My goal is to meditate twice a day, morning and evening, which I will start doing once I finish this round of 20 days.
  3. I’m watching Adriene Michler’s latest 30 day yoga video series and have somehow managed to stick with it for two weeks! Day 5 was rough, which she mentioned in her daily email, but also Days 6-13 were rough, so… Today was the first day that I wasn’t resentful or pissed off about it, and while I wasn’t jumping on the mat in a hurry to get started, I wasn’t mad about it either, and I didn’t swear at her today. In all seriousness this is a really great video series, and it’s free! It’s helping me go through the process of regaining strength (because hiding in my bed has turned my muscles to jelly), and after two weeks I’m starting to see and feel some muscle again. Yay!
  4. 45 hours a week might seem arbitrary, but that’s where I need to be to get my billable hours where I need them while still working on my company and giving time to non-profits. Being an entrepreneur and small business owner means WORK, and there for a long time I wasn’t putting in the hours I needed to, plain and simple. After analyzing my company performance and work hours (I track them all!) for last year and setting some clear time off and pro-bono goals for this year, I know where I need to be, and it’s a minimum of 45 hours a week. I’m pushing myself to reach that this month because I also need to know if this is a workload and pace I can handle. I don’t have the endurance I used to, and this may not work for me! But I only know if I try it out, and I was 48 and 50 hours the last two weeks. It’s hard, and I’ll see where I am in another two weeks, because today I had some doubts if this is really a pace I can successfully keep.

And I bought a new yoga mat that arrived yesterday. It turns out that a 4mm thick mat wasn’t enough to cushion my knees in several poses (my yoga space has a tile floor), and now that I’m doing yoga every day I can’t fudge my way through very comfortably. New mat is 6mm, which is much more comfortable but also a bit slippery, and still smells like PVC, so I’ll let y’all know how I fee about it in a couple of weeks. Until then…onward to 1% better!

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