Jul 17

Building Healthy Routines When You Want to Eat Potato Chips and Drink Wine at 11 AM

Building Healthy Routines

Disclosure: The FTC requires me to disclose that I received free product and compensation from Naked Granola in exchange for social media and blog posts. All opinions regarding Naked Granola are my own, because you straight up can’t buy me.

Oh hey, did you guys know that I recently went through a breakup? Well, I did. And because of that, I find myself in a new place starting all over again. And because I’m one of those assholes who is absolutely obsessed with fresh starts and new beginnings, I’m building healthy routines that I can use to anchor my day.

Some people may scoff, but I love a good routine. Yes, I’d love to be spontaneous and and do fun and fantastic things at the drop of a hat. But there is so much of life that has to get done, and well, if you’re hella spontaneous, then you neglect doing dishes and working out and washing your hair.

That’s why I’m focusing on building healthy routines for the things in my life that I want to autopilot. That way, I can be a flaky space cadet when it comes to the sort of things that matter.

(I’m aware that sentence makes absolutely no sense. But you’re following me, yeah?)

I'm building healthy routines so I can autopilot the mundane stuff. Click To Tweet

Anyway, today I’m sharing how I’m building healthy routines so I can autopilot the mundane stuff and make space for more excitement elsewhere. And with that, I give you five ways I’m building healthy routines.

Building Healthy Routines: Walk your dog

001: Make Exercise Easy.
Admittedly, I didn’t do this. Rosie did it. She’s become a bit of an anxious dog since the move, and at first, I was taking her for a lot of walks to soothe her. But now, she’s not so anxious. She just expects the same number of walks. And while I have cut it down to 4 walks a day (yes, that’s the reduced number), we’re both still getting our exercise.

And while I do plan to spend July getting back in the habit of running, I definitely won’t be beating myself up not getting a run in. And that is because I’ve already got my workout built in for the day because Rosie absolutely has to sniff every single smell in our new neighborhood. And I’m along for the ride.

002: Do Not Become a Recluse.
While I would like to go full-on Salinger (as a shut in, not someone who objectifies and sexually abuses young women) when it comes to my #writerlifestyle, I know that isn’t good for me. While being single definitely has it’s perks where artistic output is concerned, I know that I can’t shut myself in my office all day typing like a fiend.

One of the reasons I chose the house I did was because I knew it would keep me social. It’s close to all the bars and restaurants I like, it’s incredibly walkable (something that you don’t get very often in Oklahoma), and if ever there is something happening in my city, it’s going to be within half a mile of new place.

And I have to give a little shout out to my friends who have been keeping me very social. It’s like they remember that time I stopped talking with everyone when I started grad school the first time around. In those two years, I lost 40 pounds, became an alcoholic, worked 40 hours a week while going to school full time, gained 50 pounds, and then just re-emerged with an advanced degree in writing that the recession economy didn’t want. So, thanks to them for not abandoning me, even though I’m not that much fun to hang out with.

003: Make An Effort to Eat Real Food.
If I’m being completely honest, I’d gladly live in a bleak future scenario wherein we are all given our monthly freeze-dried rations. Sure, they wouldn’t be great, but it’s food and you just eat it. That’s kind of where I’m at with eating right now. If I’m not going out with friends, then I’m at home eating Lean Cuisines on my couch while I watch stuff on my iPad. I know that there are many of you who shudder at the thought of a person not eating real kale from Whole Foods, but trust. We’re out there.

Anyway, because I know that this isn’t ideal, I’ve been working on incorporating more real foods into my diet. Fruits are an easy option, and so is Naked Granola. I really love the different mix options they offer. And if you’re the least bit skeptical of the healthiness of granola, Naked Granola is the company for you. It’s low fat, pretty low calorie, high fiber, and you can easily pronounce all the ingredients. What more could you want?

004: Make Bedtime Sacred.
There is nothing I love more than going to bed early. So I’ve been finding ways to wind down my brain a couple hours before bed time. That means no screen time after 8 PM — this includes TVs and phones. (Admittedly, I need to be better about adhering to this.) I brew me a nice cup of chamomile tea (shout out again to Nicole for supplying me with the Taylor’s of Harrogate assorted tea sampler because it’s delightful), pop a Xyzal to keep my seasonal allergies in check, and then I read.

Rosie also likes this time because we’re both on the couch and in full-on cuddle mode. I scratch her ears and massage her arthritic legs while I slowly make my way through whatever I happen to be reading. Then, I’m generally in bed by 9:30, and asleep before 10. That may seem early, but know that I have to get up before 6 AM to get in a pre-work dog walk.

005: Create Dedicated Spaces.
I think an important part of building healthy routines is having dedicated spaces for everything that you do. That way, you don’t watch TV in the same place that you sleep, or read books in the same place where you get work done. It keeps your brain focused and on the task at hand, and also helps when you’re trying to build routines.

I’m super lucky in that I live in a college town, and places to live are relatively cheap. So, I’ve got me a two bedroom, one bathroom house. And that means I have a bedroom specifically for sleeping only. And another room I’m able to use just as my office. The living room is where I do entertaining/am entertained, which means it’s where I watch TV or read or have friends come over to hang.

And while I know this isn’t super important to everyone, it is to me. I know that I sleep a lot better when my brain knows that the only option in that room is to sleep. And I read a lot more when I know that there is a dedicated space to do it.

What's your best healthy routine/lifehack to keep you in tip top shape? Click To Tweet

So, what about you? How do you go about building healthy routines? What’s your best healthy routine/lifehack to keep you in tip top shape?

Oct 16

If We Were Having Coffee

If we were having coffee, I’d have a lot of things to say.

If we were having coffee...

Lately I’ve been ruminating on the importance of drinking coffee with people and sharing ideas. I’m pretty sure I’ve said it before, but spending time one-on-one with someone else is my favorite kind of hangout. I love getting coffee or lunch with someone, and talking about life. Ideally, I’d get to do this every single day. But since jobs and obligations tend to get in the way, that’s not always possible. That’s why today I’m going to share with you what I would tell you if we were having coffee.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about a Ph.D. program I’m interested in. The good news is it’s probably the most marketable degree I could get. The bad news is it’s at OU, which would make me “academically inbred.” (For those of you outside the world of academia, it’s considered inbreeding when all your degrees are from the same school.) I’ve been thinking a lot about how writing instruction is designed. (This is because I teach writing.) And I’ve been thinking of ways to better the process, as well as implement it for larger groups at a time. I’m not saying I have the key to teaching the ideal writing class online, but maybe I do? Either way, I’m going to look into the Ph.D. in Instructional Psychology and Technology program at OU.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about how the recent cold weather has brought every bug and rodent out of the backyard and into my house. I would also tell you that Rosie is literally the worst hunter, and does nothing to stop them. Oh well. At least mouse traps are $0.96 for 4 at my local Cash Saver grocery store.

If we were having coffee, I’d invite you to the LuLaRoe party a friend and I are having tonight. Sami and I have officially been friends for 28 years. And since our birthdays are coming up, we’re going to spend way too much on Nicole and Amelia dresses to celebrate. (Her birthday is tomorrow, and mine is on Saturday the 22nd.) You’ve probably heard all about how great their leggings are, but that’s not what I’m all about. Since I can’t wear leggings to work, and I’m not 100% comfortable with patterns on my thighs, I stick to the dresses and skirts. And I stick to them because they can be dressed up or down for work or for weekend stuff.

(SIDE BAR: Is anyone interested in a post about how to wear LuLaRoe multiple ways? By which I mean how to wear it for work or play? If so, lemme know in the comments.)

If we were having coffee, I’d ask you to divulge all the ways you cheated on multiple choice tests in high school in college. I’m going to be giving a multiple choice test to students in November, and I want to preemptively stop any and all cheating. (Mainly, I want to do this so I don’t have to turn in anyone for academic misconduct.) And, I think by eliminating as many opportunities as possible for them to cheat, it will make it hard for them to use anything but their brain.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you all about my new love for Saxon Park. (It’s a great place to walk your dog when you can no longer walk her because of the neighbors.) It’s in far southeast Norman, just south of Highway 9. The city parks and rec site designates it as “undeveloped,” but I think it’s perfect. There’s no playground, but there are a series of gravel walking trails that are perfect for walking Rosie. The one downside to all of it is my stupid brain though. While walking through the trails with Rosie and Chris the other day, I said, “Wouldn’t it be scary if one of those clowns they keep talking about on the news was here in the park, just standing on the trail?” I don’t know why I thought that. Chris let me know that I was pretty much ruining everything.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I have a solid plan to get mani-pedis with Katie tomorrow, and I couldn’t be more excited. Every whipstitch I need to take some time to get my hooves filed down, so I look more like a human person. Though, I have to say I’m pretty much paralyzed by the color choices. What’s your favorite fall nail color that is also acceptable to wear to work and that will match with my wardrobe?


Okay. Now your turn. If we were having coffee, what would you tell me?