Thursday, April 19, 2012

Baby Steps to a Happy Heart

An ongoing list of steps I'm building to nurture a happy heart...

1. Go to bed...
I've been a night owl my whole life, finding ways to stay up late, spending countless
hours listening to music, reading, watching movies, searching the internet.  It's not that
I've ever had problems sleeping, I've just had problems getting my body to wind down
at a reasonable hour.  Throw in crazy work hours in the military and late night study
sessions in college to make these bad habits seemingly unbreakable.  And then the
babies came and I started making changes in my health habits to accommodate a
healthy, happy lifestyle that gave me the stamina to keep up with kids and a husband
and a career.  The first thing I knew that I had to change: I had to grow from a night owl
into an early bird.  I had to learn to GO TO BED.  It was surprisingly difficult, I literally
had to train my brain to slow down, shut off, and drift off to sleep.  I had to learn how to
NOT hit the snooze button 20 times but to instead bounce out of bed in the morning,
ready to be productive from the get go.  It took some getting used to but eventually
I developed a whole new routine.  Just as I start winding my children down before bed, I
have learned to wind myself down: a hot cup of chamomile tea and a lavender infused
bath, no electronics after a certain time, peace and quiet conversation with my
husband instead.  I've learned to go to bed and I now wake up feeling refreshed and
ready to take on my day, I wake up before everyone else in my house and get a head
start, enjoying a few quiet moments before I take the day on.  It's a simple change but
one that carries a ferocious impact.
2. Clean home, clean heart, clean soul...
I appreciate neat, tidy, organized spaces.  When everything is in its place and I can find
things without hassle, when the rooms of our home are clean and warm and cozy, I feel
more at peace.  My love for cleanliness is a direct result of my parents and their insistence
on a tidy home.  We always had chores growing up, were always expected to pick up
after ourselves and contribute to the overall productivity of the family space.  My
parents taught me to take care of my things and my father always says, "You work hard
for your home.  Take pride in it and in yourself".  It's one of those lessons in life that can
go one of two ways: you can either rebel against all those years of chores and after
school work and embrace a messy, carefree home or you can take on your
parents' philosophies and make them your own.  I chose the latter because I value the
lesson my parents taught me.  It's not about being materialistic or superficial, it's
about respecting the space I am blessed to call my own.  It's about creating an environment
in which my children can grow and flourish in: a kitchen that flows and allows them
 to experiment with their favorite recipes, a family room with organized
bookshelves, bedrooms that invite rest and relaxation.  I work so hard to keep our home
free of clutter, negativity, and distraction.  It's the little things, like being able to find
your shoes as you're rushing off to work in the morning, that make all the difference.

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Deanna Fike said...

but liv.....all the fun stuff happens when the babies are asleep!

 i know, i know. i love to sleep. but i fight sleep as well because there just seems to be SO MUCH stuff i need to do.

Marie V said...

Great tips Olivia! I tend to go to bed early but sometime I do many things I don't need to do  instead of relaxing and being in bed.
A  clean space is definitely something I enjoy too, as you say you not only clean the space you live in, you also make room in your life and heart.
Beautiful day to you dear! xx

Olivia said...

I know!!!  It took me a REALLY long time to learn to go to bed at 10 pm.  But seriously, I have to wake up at 530 every morning and mama is getting old and needs her rest!!  

Olivia said...

Exactly!  I get so distracted and stay up late and later wonder: what was I actually doing?  Have a great day, my friend!

Wendy said...

LOVE these. Especially the second one. I am the same way with cleaning. My parents were actually messier than me and never wanted to throw anything away. It always bothered me growing up, so it's now really important to me to have a clean, pretty looking home. I always feel so much better when things are tidy.

Olivia said...

I do, too! I can rest better knowing that things are done and I'm not starting the next day with a list of things to do, cleaning up messes!  Call me Type A, but it works:)

Mattandkaraadopt said...

I am totally a night owl too and hit my snooze button daily for at least an hour. It drives my husband crazy. This pregnancy is forcing me to go to bed earlier and it's such a blessing. I need to make going to bed by at least 10:30pm a habit!!

Joanna said...

Oh girl, I am the EXACT same way with cleaning. Cannot sit down until things are tidy and all chores are done. I will say it's gotten a bit better since I had kids, but doubt I'll ever be a messy person

Olivia said...

I use to snooze for an hour every morning, too!!  It's a hard habit to break!  I try to get in bed by 10 every night, at least just to read.  It has really helped me!!

Olivia said...

I have definitely let a lot go since kids, too!  They pretty much don't give you any other choice:)  But having things in place is just part of who I am, I doubt it'll ever change, either!