3 R's: Rituals, Rhythms and Rest (Part 2 of 3): The Rhythm is Gonna Get You

Raise your hand if you’re overwhelmed by all the events you see on your calendar and tasks on your to-do list. There’s so many things you know you should be doing, but you just can’t see to find the time.

2018 was kind of exhausting, am I right? 

It seemed like every day there was another person asking you to sign up for their committee - or even worse, that moment when you realized you already said yes one too many times.

And then there were those days when you were just plain tired, a kid got sick, you didn’t plan dinner, the washing machine broke, and everyone was left scrambling to fend for themselves.

And then of course it seems like there’s always one more email in your inbox, one more book to read, one more course to buy. 

And yet, you’re still left with this nagging feeling of being behind, of not doing enough. 

I don’t want that for you in 2019.

Maybe you felt like you were always playing catch up in 2018, but 2019 can be different.

I understand.

I used to feel out-of-whack all the time. There were a thousand sticky notes plastered around my desk, I had piles of books on every surface, and at least three different journals that outlined my goals, plans, wishes, schedules, and even the weekly dinner menus. I couldn’t keep track of it all!

The good news is you don’t have to buy another planner or program or assistant.

The answer to your overwhelming problems is inside you, and it’s all about finding your natural rhythm.

You may have noticed that animals do this naturally. The morning songs of birds, the foraging behavior of the squirrels in autumn, and the human tendency to get a little blue in the winter all represent the natural rhythms of life. The presence of internal biological clocks is one of the most universal traits shared by all living things, from bacteria to fruit flies to humans (source).  You had no idea you had something in common with fruit flies, did you?

All animals respond to their environments by employing their natural biological rhythms, but we humans tend to think we can bypass nature and do things our own way. Cue ALL. THE. FAILURES. Luckily, the Creator of the universe imbibed us with all the tools we need to survive this crazy life. Let’s take a quick look at how paying attention to rhythms can revolutionize our new year’s resolutions.

Three Quick Tips & Tricks

Visit Sleepytown on the Regular

1)    Get up and go to bed at the same time every day. Oh my gosh—is it another person telling you you need to sleep more? I’m sorry. I had to say it because it’s true. You cannot underestimate the importance of a good night’s rest. It’s the #1 way to jump start your day and get more done. Without it, you’ll feel foggy, sluggish, and irritable. If you want to avoid pain, I cannot recommend this one change heartily enough. And this is coming from a person who used to stay up and watch all the late night shows and then get up at five to workout? Get your sleep! (Trust me when I say I don’t miss the TV at all and as for the workouts, sometimes I still do a 5:00 AM, but it’s built into my weekly rhythm.)

What Gets Repeated Gets Rewarded

2)   You’ve probably heard the phrase, “What gets rewarded gets repeated.” Guess what? The opposite is also true. At least in this case. “What gets repeated gets rewarded.” Your brain actually prioritizes repetition and routine. When you do the same things the same way, you free up space to be creative and save time in the long run. Establishing daily habits for exercise, work, meditation, meal prep, and community train your brain to be efficient. And I’m all about being efficient. If you own a dishwasher, microwave, toaster, or hair dryer, my guess is that you crave efficiency too.

One Foot in Front of the Other…Over and Over Again

3)   Back in the ‘90s, did anyone ever make you a mix tape? I think nowadays we call them playlists, and we have them for road trips, workouts, and special occasions. Once a year, I run a 10K in July. It’s really hot, and my running playlist keeps me motivated. Did you know that listening to music while exercising actually enables you to use 7% less oxygen? It’s true! I am not a runner, but that playlist keeps me going. Every single year, I finish the race because I just keep putting one foot in front of the other in time with the music. A 2006 study that looked at the effect of music on the selection of treadmill speed found that while listening to fast-paced music, participants increased their pace and distance travelled without becoming more tired. Really! Rhythms work! If you need something to keep you going, try making a playlist for work or for prepping meals or helping kids with homework.

My wish for you in 2019 is that you’ll be able to increase your pace and be less tired and more productive, and I believe you can do it. Write down your current rhythms and your preferred rhythms. No fancy planners. No complicated apps. Just you and your favorite notebook and a positive attitude about the new year.

For inspiration, and a little 80s throwback, maybe listen to this first.

Here’s to good vibes and good work in 2019. I’m with you all the way!

 Ready to take it to the next level?