I want to be…

Have you ever heard the phrase, “be the person your dog thinks you are”? Well I want to be the person my cat thinks I am… when I practice yoga.

This is a genuine statement and one I’m sure someone out there can relate to. We have two cats: Loki and Harley Quinn. Neither of them are what you would consider “affectionate” cats, though they are friendly and definitely show their affection to Nick and I more than anyone else. It just happens on their own time, on their own terms—none of which is surprising for cats.

Miss Quinn follows me everywhere I go and Loki offers his affection by occasionally rubbing against my legs. They both lay/sleep with us and Harley is all over Nick at night. But for Loki especially, he doesn’t “hang out” with us very often—he just pops in to say hello. That is, unless I am doing yoga.

I believe Loki to be a very intuitive and emotionally aware cat (cue eye rolls from Padre). But, it’s true. When I practice, I get into a state that he always responds well to. He’ll come out of wherever he is to be with me when I practice.

So, what brought me here? This afternoon was a slightly stressful one. I ordered something and it did not arrive as it should have. When speaking to the Customer Sales Rep, it became clear that we had very different definitions for something and truthfully, we both got incredibly agitated, despite my efforts not to take it out on this woman who was simply doing her job.

If you know me, you know my fuse can be pretty short. It’s something I’m not proud of and it’s something I am always working towards improving. After taking a walk post agitated conversation, I came back to my mat for a few minutes. Within seconds, there he was—my Little Man was at my side (also under me, next to me, weaving in and out of my arms, sitting on my back, etc.).

When I am on my mat, I am a person my usually-not-very-affectionate cat loves to be around. A person who he feels comfortable intertwining with, laying with, stretching with, and rubbing against. I love seeing that side of him and more importantly, he loves seeing that side of me—truthfully, I do too.

Over the years, I’ve tried to better understand the difference between being too hard on yourself and challenging yourself to be better. You don’t want to live your life putting yourself down, but it’s also important to take a realistic look at what you could work on for the better. I happen to know I have a quick temper. Because I accept that fact, I notice it more, which means I can more easily work on it. I’ve wanted to come back to my mat for some time now and, thanks to my Little Man, I caught a glimpse of the person who he loves to love the most and I’m finally feeling inspired to make my way back…


Why Wait?

Why? Seriously. What is the benefit to waiting? For what, you ask?


I am tagging this post under two categories because it is a combination of my ramblings and a real goal I have for myself. When I was doing my TV Turnoff Challenge, I obviously had more time in my day. Not only did I have more time for the things I wanted to do, there was also more time for things that I didn’t particularly want to do, but now had no excuse not to. It got me thinking about procrastination—a concept I am too familiar with.

I don’t know about y’all, but when I think about procrastination, I think of school, work, deadlines, etc. All of that is pretty typical; but I’ve also started thinking those little to-do list items that always seem to be pushed to “later.”

Oftentimes, when I push things off, I know they wouldn’t take much of my time, but I find myself overcome with laziness and I just walk away. The TV Challenge opened my eyes to these instances in the face of doing small, every-day tasks, because now I had the time to do them and still didn’t. Take setting up the coffee, for example. My fiancé and I like to set up the coffee maker the night before, so that when I get up in the morning, the coffee is ready to be poured. Simple task, really: grounds in basket, water in maker, press two buttons, bada bing, bada boom—fresh coffee in the morning.

But that hour hits when I’m ready for bed and all of a sudden, I’m “too tired” for this process, which takes all of 2 minutes. The next morning isn’t a disaster, but I miss out on that moment of bliss when my coffee is there waiting for me (I clearly really love coffee). It sounds silly, but I’ve started to notice a number of these little tasks being avoided, despite their ease. I have two checks to get out in the mail. I have two thank you notes to write. Neither set will take long to do, but they’ve been sitting (with others) on a Post-it note stuck to my computer for three days now.

Yes, I’m talking about the little things throughout the day… but I need to emphasize the big things too… Why wait? Why keep pushing things off? All we have to do is start. Whenever I had something to tell someone that wasn’t easy, I knew I just needed to get past the point of no return. What’s the point of no return, you ask? The second I took the breath that would start my sentence—the moment I could say, “well, there’s no turning back now.”

I have a ton of work to do in this area—on both small and large scales. That’s why in my day-to-day activities, my goal is to stop putting things off and quit with the excuses. If I have a minute to write that thank you, I’m going to do it. If I can spare a half hour to give someone I love a call, I need to do it. Challenges like this are always hard because there isn’t much that is tangible, but it’s still important to find a way.

Timing rarely works in our favor. Oftentimes, the longer we wait to do anything, the harder it becomes. If you want to get healthy, get up and go to the gym… tonight… now. If you need to make the bed, stop walking past it and just make it. If you need to set up the damn coffee, quit the excuses and set it up. And most importantly, if you have something to say, say it. Words are useless when they are unspoken and there is no better time than right now. You want something? Go get it. Now. Not tomorrow. Not in a week. Now.

So many regrets come from actions not taken and words unsaid… I say this to myself and out into the universe: always seek to push yourself past the point of no return and when you do, simply revel in all you accomplish.

And that, my dears.. is my tiny two cents.

TV Turnoff Challenge: Day 30 (+1)

Well, this is awkward…

My 30 day challenge ended… and I missed it. HAH! I’d say that’s a success. Yes! I did it—I turned my TV off for 30 days. With an allowance of only one TV show per week, plus the occasional movie on the weekend with my fiancé, I was able to successfully keep it off for 30 full days. And here’s the kicker:

I have no desire to go back!

I miss watching my shows, but I love this lifestyle. I love waking up and challenging myself to find something to do. I love that my day is spent doing other things. Case in point: I am currently house sitting and had to bring extra bags to accommodate all the things I needed to fill my time: books and journals and binders and budgets.

In lieu of this being the “wrap-up” post for my challenge, here are some of the things I would love to comment on and recap:

Why did I start?
I was constantly left with the feeling—at the end of the night—that my day had just begun. I was also left with the feeling that my personal to-do list was lost in everything. My routine left little flexibility and I felt that, if that was how it was going to be, it better be for a good reason.

In addition to the things I needed to get done, there were activities I wanted to fill my time with and, simply put: I needed to find a way to create that additional time. I was reading Chip and Joanna Gaines’s book and they addressed why they didn’t watch TV or have a TV in their house. I initially (and judgmentally) assumed it was for a strange reason, but they were challenged to do it for 6 months in pre-marital counseling and never turned back.

What did it look like?

I am a big TV and movie person—both Nick and I are; it’s how we wind down. But I knew I needed to cut it out, because I knew cutting back wouldn’t work. I gave myself one TV show per week and the occasional movie on the weekend so I could relax with Nick; but most of my days were TV-less. I implemented an earlier schedule; so most days, I started work between 6 and 7. At lunch, I ate at the counter, followed by whatever spoke to me that day. I would straighten up around the house, play with the kitties, read, or rest my eyes for a bit towards the end. After work, I would likely cook, eat dinner at the counter with Nick, and spend my evening doing stuff for the wedding or the new house, reading, writing, taking a bath, or running errands.

How did it feel?

In the beginning, it was both horrible and eye-opening. Believe me when I say I had no idea how bad it really was. I said this in my previous posts, but I was aching to watch TV. I felt lost and depressed… all because I had to find something other than TV to occupy my free time. Then I realized how stupid that was and that made me feel worse! But then—and here is the point of it all—it suddenly stopped being so hard because it became normal. My routine stopped involving TV, so I stopped aching to watch it. Imagine that!

Granted, there were days where I really wanted to do nothing but sit and watch a good show, but I persevered. Those were the nights where I would meditate or take a bath—something that would allow me to turn my brain off, as so many of us seek to do after a long day. Then a different feeling began to take over: a sense of accomplishment. I felt good about it—proud of what I was doing.

What did I do instead?

  • Finished 3 books
    • To be straight, the first was about 1/4 of the way done when I started this challenge and I’ll be finishing the third tonight, but still.
  • Cooked dinner
    • Not every night, but most.
  • Ate more thoughtful meals
    • Here is a big one: at lunch time, I used to binge eat. Now, I sit down with my lunch—reasonably portioned—and I eat that until I am full. It’s amazing how much food I used to eat when I was distracted in front of the TV. When you force yourself to focus on just eating during meals, you get full faster because your body actually notices when it happens.
  • Practiced yoga at home
  • Meditated
  • Limited time on other devices
    • Plus I completely cut out my iPad halfway through
  • Ran errands
  • Cleaned
  • Did laundry
  • Played with my kitties
  • Wrote
  • Got a gym membership (!!!)
    • This is the most recent and one of the biggest accomplishments (more to come on this!)
  • Worked on wedding plans
  • Coordinated visits and trips
  • Went away for a weekend
  • Spent time with friends
  • TALKED hah
    • Nick and I stopped watching TV during dinner and now spend our time talking more in depth about our days.
  • Crafted
    • I have the wedding to thank for this, but I made bridesmaid proposal boxes, which took a very long time and an engagement gift for one of said bridesmaids as well.
  • Baths, baths, baths.
    • I learned just how much I love baths. This was by far the best way to turn my mind off after a long day and left me feeling relaxed after just 30 minutes or so (NOTE: that’s a lot less than the 4 hours of TV that only left me feeling like my night was gone *cough*).
  • Blogged! Yay!

The list goes on. Little things. Big things. All of which were great and all of which only scratched the surface.

Words of Pearly Wisdom:

  1. So many people I’ve spoken to say they turn the TV on so they can turn their minds off. I get it, but it’s crap. I know this because it was my hurdle and I got over it. Think back to the thousands of years before technology. They got by. So can you. Find other ways to turn your mind off and just give it a chance.
  2. Make time for the things that make you happy. I may be young, but I know that if I spend my life doing the things I enjoy, I’ll be a happier person for it. If there is even one thing you wish you could do every day that you don’t have time for, turn the TV off. Turn your phone off. Turn your devices OFF.
  3. Commit. If this is something you think you could benefit from (and you can), do it the way I did. Give yourself one show or a couple of movies on the weekends. But turn it off for the remainder of the week. If you only want to do one week, it will be eye opening, but if you want to make a change, do it for the 30 days.
  4. Watch the wonderful changes that come with this. This is the big one. By turning my TV off, I opened the door for other changes. I realized my additional technological dependence, which allowed me to back away. I noticed the dependency in others, which motived me further. I wanted to spend more of my time trying to get healthy, so I joined the gym. I’m in immense physical pain, but hey, progress! One positive change can pave the way for many.

Final Notes:

I’m so glad I decided to do this on a random Wednesday night one month ago. I will treat myself to an episode of Fixer Upper today, but beyond that and maybe a movie with Nick tonight, not much will change. It started as a challenge, but transformed into a lifestyle shift—one I don’t plan on reversing, much to Nick’s dismay, I’m sure.

So here’s the challenge now: where to go from here? I don’t want to cut myself off from TV all together. I love my shows. I love keeping up with the latest phenomenon. But I also don’t want to go back to the way things were. I need to let this evolve mindfully, but I don’t know what that will look like yet.

With that said, I hope y’all have enjoyed this journey with me and I encourage others to give this a shot and share your experiences! I will be doing a follow-up in a week or so to see what life looks like post-TV Turnoff Challenge!

Woo! I made it!!

TV Turnoff Challenge: Day 21

Apparently, I misplaced my ability to count the last time I did an update, because I was a day behind. Day 13 was actually day 14! Of course this is not a big deal, but I am nothing if not meticulous. Today is Day 21 (don’t worry—I’ve checked a few times now). And here is my big revelation:

It’s really not that hard anymore.

In my last post, I talked about the need to eliminate excess technology use by limiting time spent on my phone and computer—I even completely eliminated use of my iPad. I’ve been much better about this, though my efforts to find an app that would limit my phone failed (it was way too obtrusive and kicked me off when I really needed to be on it). But I’ve been keeping my phone at bay when I can and I set my desktop tracker to only allow me 1 hour of Facebook per day. Even saying that sounds like a lot, but I’ve been blowing through it without even realizing until I’m kicked out.

Now, I don’t want to get ahead of myself here with that revelation. Work has been insanely busy, Nick and I are certifiably nuts for walking down the many roads we are on, and everything we have happening is keeping my days quite full; so I don’t know what a really boring week would look like. However, when I stop to think about it (and try to give myself more credit), I always feel like I have a never-ending to-do list that never gets attention. Well… I’m attending to it and it’s been great.

The hardest time to resist sitting down in front of my television is after a long day when I really don’t want to do anything. But when it comes to the times of day when my first instinct used to be to go sit in front of the TV, my mind doesn’t even think to go there anymore.

For example, my lunch break was always the same: get food, sit down, watch one episode, get more food (I was eating way too much during lunch), then squeeze in as much TV as I could until my lunch break was done. When my break was done, I felt relaxed, but also tired, groggy, and completely uninterested in going back to work.

Now? I get my food, sit at the counter (also another instinct now for meals), finish in a reasonable time because I don’t have distractions (also not overeating for the same reason), and then I see what I can do around the house to straighten up, so that we have a clean house ready for the evening. Most days, I spend the last portion of my break resting my eyes and/or reading. It’s been great. I now feel rejuvenated for the last part of my work day.

What I am also loving is that every day feels unique. TV allows time to pass so quickly that, if you aren’t careful, it can be the only thing you do every day at lunch or in the evening. Now, each day is unique because I spend my time doing other things—things that all make me feel better about my day. I don’t go to bed feeling like the day just started; I go to bed feeling like I had a full, productive, yet relaxing day.

If I am being quite honest, I don’t see myself going back to the way things were. My days are so much better than they used to be and this challenge has been the catalyst. Do I miss watching TV? Yes. There are many shows I enjoy and Nick is constantly telling me to come sit with him and watch something. So, where I may be watching more than the one show a week I am now, I have no intentions to watch during meals, during breaks, and certainly not all night long.

I know I say this to close every post about this challenge, but do it. Give it a try if you have the slightest feeling that you may watch more TV than you’d like. If you have a personal to-do list that never gets touched, do it. If you have just one hobby you want to take up, do it. If you are the person who can’t seem to put their phone down, do it. If you just want to take on a challenge, do it. If you feel like your day is monotonous, do it.

I could keep going, but I think I’ve made my point. I truly believe many people could benefit from giving this a try. The challenge is flying and I no longer see a 30 day endeavor… I see my lifestyle switch.

TV Turnoff Challenge: Day 13

I am 13 days into my TV Turnoff Challenge already! It definitely feels like I just started, but alas, I am almost halfway through!

I’ve decided over the past 24 hours that I need to make further adjustments. Not only did I find myself continuing to ache for TV, but I also found myself turning to Youtube, Facebook, and my phone when I wanted to do something which required no thought or effort. Talk about defeating the purpose. This challenge isn’t going to do a thing if I cut TV, but replace it with mind-numbing scrolling and compulsive video watching.

So here are the adjustments all together:

  • No TV except for my one show and only two movies on the weekends.
    • I watched three this past weekend and felt icky about it.
  • My computer is only to be used during work hours (obviously) and for blogging, wedding planning, or completing real to-do items (like taxes, for example).
  • I will be setting a time limit on my desktop for Facebook. I have decided on one hour per day.
  • No technology in bed. No phone, no ipad—the only thing allowed is my Kindle to read.
  • No phone during lunchtime and very limited access to my phone apps in general
    • Real time: I’m currently looking into an app that will limit me!

It’s a lot. But my technological dependence is like having one piece of cake a day on a diet—and my slice has just been getting bigger and bigger. This is meant to be a challenge and I know the rest of this month is not going to be easy, but I can already say I don’t plan on going back to how things used to be, that’s for sure.

I know I will have more to write on this subject, as there are so many realizations I have yet to experience, but I’m feeling strong about this decision and I’m ready to take it to the next step—to really challenge myself.

Tv Turnoff Challenge: Day 3 Header

TV Turnoff Challenge: Day 3

Happy Saturday everyone!

There is nothing more comforting (hyperbole) than a Saturday morning. I get to sleep in (and by “sleep in,” I mean I usually don’t sleep past 8:30—today was 7:15). But it’s always lovely to wake up on a Saturday morning knowing the day is totally yours.

Today is Day 3 of my no TV challenge and, my goodness, am I glad to be doing this—I definitely did not think it would be this hard! Day 1 wasn’t too bad; the excitement of trying this challenge was fresh and I was really pumped about the possibilities of the day.

The times I knew it would be hardest have proven to be as expected. When I reached lunchtime on Day 1, I already felt so out of sorts—I had no idea what to do with myself. Lunch time is my time to turn off my brain and get some relaxation in, so I typically eat my lunch and watch TV that requires no thought, but makes me happy (i.e. Friends, Gilmore Girls, etc.). I was so afraid that sitting there, eating my lunch in silence, would be painful.

I was dead wrong.

I made my lunch—a chicken and spinach salad (yum!)—and sat at the kitchen counter. I knew that sitting in the big comfy chairs would do me no good and close proximity to the TV just isn’t an option right now hah. I decided when I sat down that I would try to quiet my mind and enjoy what truly felt like alone time. “But you work from home—you’re already alone.” Yes, that is true, but I’m in constant contact with people all day and my brain is constantly firing away. So to find time in my day to just be is imperative.

When lunch was over, I had a ton of time left in my break and I wanted to do things that would keep me moving, rather than reading or taking a nap—didn’t want to bring down my energy at the time of day it’s hardest to keep it up. So I chose to straighten things up. I did the dishes, folded my laundry, made the bed (my new schedule means I am already working by the time Nick gets out of bed and, most days, I don’t stop until lunchtime), and even got my outfit ready for the next day. I felt good! After work, I immediately donned some comfortable clothes and did my at-home yoga practice—something I now have more time for every day!

Nick and I agreed that he doesn’t have to join my challenge, but we do need to eat dinner together away from the TV. He’s totally on board with that, as it’s a great habit to get into in general. So I made dinner, we ate together, and caught up on the day. Afterwards, the night was mine. I read some of my book, took a bath, and even tackled some wedding emails. I was completely content and happy with my evening.

Which brings me to one of my favorite aspects so far: oftentimes, I would find myself looking at the clock at 9PM and saying, “I feel like I just finished work and soon I’ll be going to bed and starting all over tomorrow.” That realization was one of the reasons I’ve started to alter my schedule, but it’s also something that my challenge has helped. Prior to my changes, I would be done with work for the day, and the usual routine would kick in: make dinner, watch TV and eat, watch more TV, and go to bed. Time would fly as we wasted hours just staring at the television.

Now? I finish work and I have hours to fill. Granted, waking up earlier means going to bed earlier, so I’m not up until 11/12 anymore, but from the time I am done work until I go to bed, the time is mine. It’s a liberating feeling and it’s amazing to know that I can finally do some of the things I really enjoy, but don’t have the time to do during the day. I can now look at the clock and feel truly content with my day and evening, rather than wishing there were more hours.

Last night was hard—I won’t go into it too much since my Day 1 recount was so detailed, but Friday night without plans, after a very long day at work, meant all I wanted to do was… nothing hah. Nick went out with his brother and I was left to my own devices. I found myself aching to watch TV. I sat there for a good 10 minutes trying to justify putting it on. Happy to say I resisted. I sat and ate my dinner in silence, followed by finishing my book, a lovely bath, and some wedding research. As much resistance as there was, I was so happy to have spent my evening that way and it leaves me feeling really excited for the potential of the next month.

My laundry list of things to do is massive this weekend, but I find comfort and excitement in knowing I don’t have TV to inconspicuously push it all off, never to be done. I am only 3 days into this, but I feel good and I really look forward to the potential days where it’s not so hard—did I mention this is hard?? And I didn’t even think I watched that much!!

To anyone considering this, I already suggest doing so. Each person has their own unique benefits to gain from this challenge, regardless of how much TV you watch, unless we’re talking an hour or two a week. I may only be a few days into it, but I can already see how this is going to change things.

Will continue to keep you posted! I think the weekend will be tough at times, but I’m up to it!!

Until next time…

Turning it Off

I’m doing it. I am taking the plunge. I found my inspiration, my push and I’m doing it. I’m building this up so much that it is bound to be a letdown to my amazing readers haha.

I am cutting out TV for the next month (with exceptions because, let’s face it: I’m weak and in the middle of a series). Over the past few weeks, a post has been brewing in my mind about making things happen—about accepting the *positive* things you want for your life and committing to making them happen.

I’ve taken steps to adjust my day-to-day routine in an attempt to better reflect my strengths and desires. In case anyone doesn’t know, I work from home. There are stipulations when it comes to my schedule, but there is also incredible potential to really customize my day, while still doing the job I need to.

I reached a point where I had to be honest with myself and say, “Kat, if you want your days to align with what you want, you need to do something about it—things aren’t just going to magically work themselves out with no effort.” I’ve been working to adjust my schedule to better utilize my most productive time of the day and to give me some time back when I’m not so productive. It’s still a work in progress and will continue to evolve, especially when we get a house, but I’ve already experienced the benefits. So here is where I am kicking it up a notch.

I just started reading Chip and Joanna Gaines’s book: The Magnolia Story and, safe to say, I am already enthralled with it—just when I didn’t think I could love them more. Part of it has to do with enjoying being able to learn about their history, relationship, and how they got to where they are. I always love the chance to connect with people, regardless of whether or not I know them personally—opportunities like that make me feel like I do. But the other part is the similarities I’ve picked up on that really resonated with me. They were things I’ve thought, said, or done. I find it all very inspiring and sometimes even a little creepy, if I’m being honest.

But what on earth does that have to do with giving up TV? A fun fact about Chip and Jo: they don’t watch TV. I heard that a while back and thought it was strange, but they addressed it in the book. It was suggested to them during marriage counseling that they try 6 months without TV. After 6 months, they decided to do 6 more and, to this day, don’t own a TV. They just don’t feel like they need one. Now, I love TV; but probably too much.

I am proud to have many aspirations. They may not be grandeur by others’ standards, but they are important to me and could lead me in a direction I’d love to go. But I am constantly faced with the struggle of “not having time.” As a disclaimer, the ‘no TV’ concept is not the only thing I’ve taken away from the book so far, but it presented an interesting option to try. TV sucks away so much time from each and every day. I want to challenge myself to give it up so that I am forced to find other things to do—preferably all those things I was referring to before.

As I mentioned, I’m being a little lenient with myself. I am going to give myself one show during the week—definitely not saying which one because it’s embarrassing, but I am smack dab in the middle of the season—and maybe a movie or two with Nick per week. But that’s it. My biggest struggles will be lunchtime, which I usually pass with TV, and evenings when we usually relax and watch TV or a movie. All I know is that I hate wasting away my time “off” during the day and it’s becoming increasingly important to devote time to my aspirations and personal to-do list.

So tomorrow is the official start to the 30 days. It’s not as brave as 6 months, but a girl needs to start somewhere. I am excited about this, though I know it won’t be easy… and the fact that this is going to be so hard just proves it needs to be done.

Wish me luck and I will keep y’all posted!

Baby Steps

We are officially ten days away from Christmas! I get another shot at a day off for Christmas prep on Monday and, to be honest, the remainder of the preparations should start over the weekend if I am going to get it all done. I want my Christmas weekend to be nothing but Christmas movies, music, baking, and celebrating with my family, so I need to get that prep done.

I am continuing my endeavor to wake up earlier so that I can start and finish work earlier in the day—not to mention I love mornings. I work very well first thing and really believe I should take advantage of that. I tried jumping right a new schedule two weeks ago and was thrown way off. The first two days were fine, but then it went downhill until I stopped completely.

Guess what? It was another lesson (I’m like an episode of Full House over here). I actually spoke with my brother and he suggested an alternate route for starting the day: that getting right onto my computer wasn’t the way to go. That I should program my coffee to be ready, get up, grab a cup, and relax for a while until I’m ready and awake enough to work. Now, I don’t like the idea of watching TV first thing—I have a habit of getting sucked in—but the general idea makes sense (don’t tell him I said any of this, by the way).

When we move into our new house, wherever and whenever that may be, I think my schedule will become more refined, but until then, I want to start taking baby steps towards my “ideal” morning; which, as it turns out, would have me up at 5, if not earlier.

I am constantly trying to jump into things head first—essentially go big or go home. But it just doesn’t work for me. It does for a while, but I lose sight and give up. I’ve done it with exercising, yoga (in all aspects of the practice), meditating, waking up early, blogging, writing, reading, personal projects—really you name it. It’s a frustrating thing to admit. I also let situations provide excuses for not doing things. Exhibit A: not living in our own home. Moving in with the grandparents while we search for a house has “stopped” me from doing many of the things I listed above because it’s not my own space and I have other people’s schedules to consider. Guess what? I could have found a way to adjust and I didn’t. I gave up.

Wow, this post took a turn.

I’m getting close to deciding on my New Year’s Resolution and starting to see a clearer picture of what that might look like, but let’s just say intentional baby steps need to be a big part of it.

This morning, I woke up a little earlier than Tuesday (yesterday didn’t count because I had to get up early for a meeting in the city). I also woke up on my own, without an alarm. I opted to make my coffee and write this post to start my day. I’m still far from that “ideal” morning I’d like, but it’s progress and I’ve had a lovely start to my day.

The best things in our lives aren’t handed to us. I know the best things in my life came from some of the hardest struggles I’ve ever faced. At the end of the day, I just want to live my life to be happy and luckily, I have some ideas on how I might continue to do that, but I have to stop expecting to make it to the finish line after one step. In closing, I know there is work to be done, but I sit here grateful for this beautiful morning and what I’ve accomplished.

Not Through a Screen: Update 1

Good morning! I want to provide an update on my progress with limiting the use of technology. If you didn’t catch the initial posts, here is a link to Part 1 (a Two Cents piece) and Part 2 (a For the Future piece). In essence, I became more aware of my attachment to devices and once I began to notice it, the more sickening it all was.

The experience has really expanded to become quite organic. While I set some rules for myself, how I unplug is based on what’s going on that day and how I feel. I started the rule of ‘no tech until work‘ with the exception of blogging in the morning. That has been going very well. I keep my phone in the bedroom charging while I get ready, computer and iPad stay off, and TV doesn’t ever get turned on until my lunch break. I find things to do, whether that’s sitting and having that first cup of coffee, writing in my journal, a morning yoga practice, meditation, or just letting my mind wander in the morning silence. Let me tell you: it’s a great way to start the day.

A challenge I face is what to do during work hours. I sit in front of a computer screen from 9-5 and there is no work-around to that. However, there are other things I can monitor. Like Facebook. It’s crazy how often I open up a new window and immediately go to Facebook. I quickly I become entranced with the endless scrolling and lose track of time. So, I did a couple of things:

  1. I downloaded a plugin for my computer that monitors how long I am spending on Facebook every day. The results can be quite scary but it’s good to be able to see it right there in front of me.
  2. The next thing I did was download another plugin called StayFocusd. This allows you to choose sites to block for a certain amount of time. They call it the Nuclear Option and I use it often. You choose the sites, how long you want to block them for, and hit Nuke ‘Em! Not only does this keep me off Facebook for as long as I need to be, it’s another way for me to see how often I try to get there. There are other things the plug in does, but that’s what I use every day.

Facebook aside, there have been a plethora of articles recently outlining the negative effects that sitting for long periods of time, usually behind a screen, has on your body. I downloaded an app called Awareness which monitors how long you are active on your computer. When you have been active on it for one hour without taking a break, it notifies you with the sound of a singing bowl to let you know it’s time to take a break. After 5 minutes of inactivity (when you should be taking said break), it resets. It’s all based on the activity happening on your computer.

What this has done for me:

  • Made me realize how long I end up sitting without getting up and moving—it’s amazing how quickly an hour goes by
  • Gives me regular intervals to get up and move around
  • Gives me more energy during the day because I use those breaks to go for a quick walk, do a quick flow in my living room to stretch, or just take care of little things I need to do around the apartment

The breaks aren’t long, but they are enough to get up, stretch, do some breathing exercises, give my body and back a break, even get my heart rate up with a quick workout. I feel more energized and actually happier since I’ve been doing this, so I highly recommend it. Not to mention, when I am done work at 5, I have more desire to do something active, rather than plop on the couch and not get up for a few hours. It’s a lesson I can take with me outside of my 9-5.

Moving away from my screens has been liberating. I still have a lot of work to do, but I know progress is being made and my days are better for it. If anyone else is working on doing the same, I would love to hear about the things you do to unplug!

Have a wonderful, tech free Thursday!


Feeling like Me

I made a nice compromise this morning: I wanted to write in my blog; however, I really wanted to prolong the time I spent out of my office before work. So I opted to sit in my morning chair with the slider open to the sounds of a beautiful morning since I commandeered Nick’s laptop to write.

Consistency is important when you are trying to reach a goal. I know that very well. So I wanted to find a yoga instructor at Tulaa whose class I could attend weekly in order to have that consistency and grow. The Wednesday night class I found was love at first breath. Now, I have taken a few other classes and have liked all the instructors thus far, but something clicked with Anne right off the bat. When we met before class, she noticed that I was wearing my InMotion jacket and asked if I was a dancer. I told her most teachers figure that out during class, but that I was in fact a dancer, though long out of practice.

Right away the class felt right. The people were really pleasant and outgoing, the energy was one that was lively, yet peaceful, and so ready to work. The asanas themselves seemed tailored perfectly to me and what my body was craving. We moved into a Three-Legged Dog and she came up, tapped my shoulder and whispered, “That’s where I would have known.” I’ve only taken two classes with her and I can’t tell you how many times she’s exclaimed “dancer!!” or “there’s my dancer!!”

Her class is all the things I am looking for. I get the deep stretches, challenging asanas, the peaceful connection, and the full body workout. I leave a tired, sweaty mess with my muscles shaking, but I feel absolutely wonderful and she inspires me to push further. After our first class, she and I were talking and she seemed so excited to get to know me, my body, my practice, and begin to really push me where I needed to go (it’s also a comfort knowing she is a physical therapist). Second class, she did just that. If she saw or knew something would be too easy, she gave myself and a couple of other people modifications to deepen the stretch or make it more challenging. It was great to feel so cared for and not like just another body in the room.

I couldn’t pursue dance the way I had always wanted to. I had so many factors that influenced my decision to not do so and, in the end, I don’t think my body would have been able to handle it. There are no studios for adults around me—the closest is in Philadelphia and I have neither the time nor the money to make that trip regularly. But something I have come to learn is that when I am not dancing, a part of me is missing.

Going to that class? It was the first time I’ve felt like me in a long time. I feel like Kat the Dancer and Kat the Yogi have merged and it’s something that’s celebrated. I would like to find one more class to take regularly a week because I leave Wednesday night wanting more and I think that while I practice at home, another structured class with another instructor would do me good and bring some variation into my practice.

This has been an incredible journey so far and my Living My Yoga goal has already made a significant difference in my everyday life. I feel lighter and ready to take on each day as the blessing it is. I can’t wait to see how this develops and how I develop along with it. I truly encourage people to take some time and think about the things they want to do in their life. We can find so much fulfillment in committing to doing something we’ve wanted to start or continue. This goes back to my post from the other day, but really: find what you want to do with your time and make it happen. Take the leap and go all in. You may be surprised at how much impact it could have.