Keystone Habits and Making Time

This semester, I have the fortune to teach an elective about mindfulness.  The skills are so important; I am struggling with these ideas in my forties.  During the first month, we are learning about how the brain reacts to stress and researching the idea that we can retrain our brain to adapt differently to stress and anxiety triggers.  In addition to ideas and theory, I’m providing concrete things students can do to improve their mindset.  We are exploring keystone habits.  Keystone habits are changes that spill over into other aspects of your life.  For example, when I work out, I tend to eat healthier.  When I’m not exercising, my healthy eating habits go away as well.  My students and I decided to start with two simple keystone habits: drinking a glass of water as soon as we wake up and making our bed each morning.  Research shows that people who make their beds each morning are happier than people who don’t.  It takes less than two minutes and provides a sense of completion before leaving the house.  I already make my bed, but have begun drinking a cold glass of water each morning.  I’m interested to see how it helps.

I’ve mentioned my excitement over being back into the school routine a few times.  I love being busy!  I thrive on it! In all of my bustle, I always give thanks to my husband.  It’s not that I need his permission to be busy, but it definitely changes our routine at home. I also try to make sure that everything that needs to be done that around the house is completed.   On Mondays, Liam and I got to the gym for his Ninja Skills class and my Strength Training class.  On Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings, I go to yoga.  My try to run twice a week (this week, I will only get out once).

Sometimes I feel guilty that I am out a few times a week and away from my family.  Mike has never given me an ounce of grief about it.  Last semester, I joined BRG and took a class on change management at Bryant University.  Some weeks, I was out four nights a week.  Mike didn’t flinch, only promised me that we would get through it.  There is no way I could invest this time without his help and support.  I know I am fortunate.

What does Mike get in return for being solo a few hours a week?  Since I make sure as much as I can before we switch Liam duty in the evening, he doesn’t have to do a lot around the house.  More importantly, he gets a wife whose head is mentally clear.  I am able to run out thoughts and frustrations.  I am able to challenge myself through yoga and laugh with the best group of friends a girl could wish for.  My son gets to see Mama being healthy and taking care of herself; this transfers onto him.  He wants to eat healthily and drink more water.  Liam watches me run and complete races and set goals for myself.  He does the same, wanting to cross cannonball alley at Ninja Class and feeling the exhilaration of meeting a goal!  I love that being active is something we do together.  I hope that this leads to a lifetime of health for Liam!

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