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I'm at a transition point where some chapters of my life (including a PhD) are coming to a close soon, with more life changes on the horizon. Right now I'm recovering from the last particularly stressful last month, catching up on other things that were set aside, and re-focusing on my health and fitness. Most excitingly, I decided to get inline skates as a reward for finishing my thesis!

 

GOALS

 

Sleep routine

  • Start getting ready for bed by 11 pm (10:30 pm if I still need to shower), in bed by 11:30 pm, and lights off by 12 am. In my most recent challenges I've only focused on my bedtime, and now I want to start working on a bedtime routine as well. As in my last challenge, I'll be tracking how close I am to these times rather than a binary yes/no of whether I met each deadline.
  • Bonus points if I manage to wind everything back by a half hour by the end of the challenge (10:30/11/11:30 pm).

 

Exercise

  • Some sort of strength training (yoga counts) at least 2x/week
  • Start learning how to skate! Take my skates out at least 2x/week and watch a skating tutorial at least 1x/week.

 

Food and nutrition

  • No store-bought sweets
  • Take my vitamins/supplements every day
  • Bonus: Make something in the kitchen (at least 2 servings) once a week, even if it's just a salad. My partner has pretty much taken over all of the batch cooking this past year, and me chipping in would give us some more variety.

 

 

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I didn't do much for Zero week this time around due to the relatively late challenge start, but yesterday I did some prep for Week 1:

  •  @Rebel Pilot Gar's challenge reminded me that I also have a bullet journal. I resurrected it and laid out a page for tracking my challenge goals to see if I prefer tracking this way. Compared to the app I use, I do like that I can easily make a graph for things like my sleep goal. 
  • Found some skating tutorial channels on youtube.
  • Put my supplements for the coming week into a pill container.
  • Cleaned up the kitchen somewhat so it's easier to work in . Also cooked some candied ginger and made some raspberry/ginger/cocoa gummies with the excess ginger water, but that won't count for Week 1!

I also track my sleep goal from the night before so it's easier for me to report my daily/weekly challenge progress, so my Week 1 started Saturday night. 

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16 hours ago, Rebel Pilot Gar said:

Nice goals! Good luck with the bullet journal tracking - I hope it serves you well.

I am enjoying it so far! I already had a nice template from an old challenge (pre-respawn) where I also tracked "getting ready for bed" and "lights out" plus yes/no goals, so I was able to just copy that format. 

 

13 hours ago, PaulG said:

Love the sleep challenge! Reading your goal is slowly wearing down my resistance to tracking my own sleep...

 

It's definitely the goal I struggle with the most, but its also probably has the most impact on my day-to-day energy levels and well-being too. 

 

13 hours ago, PaulG said:

I'm curious what your supplement regimen is!

 

I have a couple of hormonal disorders, so most of it is providing nutritional support for those. A lot of them are good for general health and fitness support too, though! I've also worked with a few integrative doctors/nutritionists in the past, so I've had guidance creating this list. 

 

My core set of supplements for hormonal support is

  • iron, vitamin B complex, vitamin D (these are all things that I test periodically that I become deficient in if I don't supplement)
  • vitamin K (vit D increases calcium absorption, and vit K makes sure that calcium ends up in the right place), magnesium (currently in a spray form at night, also helps with sleep), zinc, selenium, myo-inositol

Right now I'm also taking 

  • passionflower extract as a sleep aid - it's the only supplement I've tried that helps me sleep through the night. I'll probably wean myself off of it now that I'm getting a better bedtime routine and paying attention to winding down before bed
  • chromium - helps with blood sugar balance (something that is impacted by my cocktail of hormonal imbalances) and has helped me in the past. I started taking it again recently because I've been very stressed and felt that I needed some more support in that area. Don't plan on taking it long term.
  • digestive enzymes - similar to chromium, they have helped in the past and digestion is something that is also disrupted by stress, so I'm going to take them for a couple months for extra support and then see how I get on without them.

 

 

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Week 1, Sunday

  • Sleep routine
    • Hit all my sleep routine target times or was a little early! Even after a couple days, I've noticed that paying attention to getting ready for bed and giving myself more time to wind down is helping a lot - I'm ready to turn the lights off by midnight and go to sleep.
  • Exercise
    • Did an easy strength workout to ease back into it after taking a few weeks off: push-ups, DB rows, and rolling into a squat/single leg squat (part of my pistol squat progression). The single leg version felt surprisingly stable even though I haven't worked on them recently.
  • Food/nutrition
    • Took the supplements
    • No store-bought sweets
    • Did some food prep/cooking: 1) Turns out that on Saturday, I put collagen (= dissolves and doesn't gel), rather than gelatin, in my raspberry/ginger gummies, so I fixed that. 2) Chopped up some veg to add to a meal. 3) Helped my partner make a batch of soup by taking care of the veg part. 
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Week 1, Monday

  • Sleep routine
    • Targets hit and exceeded again: 10:30 for shower and sleep prep, in bed at 11 pm, and lights out at about 10 til midnight. I seem to be gravitating towards "bedtime routine" including putting the last dishes in the dishwasher. Technically that's not necessary to get me to bed, but I'll allow it as long as it doesn't turn into cleaning up the entire kitchen late at night. As is, it's a nice way to transition away from living spaces by briefly tidying things up. And it helps me stay on top of dishes which makes things more pleasant in the morning.
  • Exercise
    • I watched a few videos on starting to skate and how to stop. The latter is important because the skates I got didn't come with a break and I didn't feel like shelling out £15 for one when I was just going to learn how to stop without one asap anyway 😆. Last week I also watched some videos on falling.
    • More excitingly, I took my skates out for the first time! I'm lucky to have a small, quiet local skate area about a couple minutes walk from our home (with a few ramps and rails, but mostly flat asphalt). My partner went with me for moral (and some physical) support. First thing I did was put on my safety gear, sans skates, and practice falling on the grass, falling partly on the pavement, and falling completely on the pavement. Repeated the grass falls and partial pavement falls with skates on, although I really didn't appreciate the feeling of my skates coming out from under me on pavement and had to psych myself up for that version. As far as actually skating goes... I can get from point A to point B but have a lot to learn - I need to get more comfortable balancing on one skate and learn how to turn properly. I didn't fall unintentionally, though, so that is a start! I also started practicing how to plow stop. 
  • Food/nutrition
    • Supplements taken (still need to take the night ones, but I'm unlikely to forget those)
    • No store-bought sweets
    • Since I do most of the food ordering but not the cooking these days, I sometimes order excess of certain things. The most salient recent example is that as of this morning, we had 15 limes. I used about half of them to make three types of gelatin gummies (mango/lime, coconut milk/lime, and coconut milk/raspberry/lime).
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13 hours ago, Mad Hatter said:

Practicing falling is such a great way to start. Sure it's not pleasant, but better to get a feel for it before you inevitably bail for real. Nice work! 

 

Yeah I didn't really want to (especially on hard pavement - I'm used to mats!), but I've done enough sports where falling is an important skill that I knew I really should. Falling for inline skating (at least for beginners/recreational skaters) is quite different from other falling techniques that I've practiced because you aim for your protective gear:

 

 

 

7 hours ago, Doe said:

A sleeping challenge is so smart! 

 

Thank you! It has been an ongoing goal for me - even once I fix it, it's so easy to mess it up again! I'm working on it this challenge with @Scaly Freak :) 

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22 hours ago, Alanna said:
  • Exercise
    • I watched a few videos on starting to skate and how to stop. The latter is important because the skates I got didn't come with a break and I didn't feel like shelling out £15 for one when I was just going to learn how to stop without one asap anyway 😆. Last week I also watched some videos on falling.

My ex really liked rollerblading so we would go. I didn't love it lol because I always felt like I might fall... I never did learn how to stop. I would just kind of go in a circle until I stopped :P Or grab something as I rolled by.  Maybe I would be more comfortable roller skating over blading.

Sounds like you had a productive first time! 

 

22 hours ago, Alanna said:
  • Food/nutrition
    • No store-bought sweets

You are a champ!

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{Chase the wind and touch the sky; I will fly}

 

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23 hours ago, Alanna said:

Week 1, Monday

  • Sleep routine
    • Targets hit and exceeded again

 

Yes! Sleep hard! Hmmm, knowing how to fall safely sounds like it would make skating much less scary. I wonder if it's possible to fall safely off a bike as well?

 

 

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11 hours ago, Alanna said:

Yeah I didn't really want to (especially on hard pavement - I'm used to mats!), but I've done enough sports where falling is an important skill that I knew I really should. Falling for inline skating (at least for beginners/recreational skaters) is quite different from other falling techniques that I've practiced because you aim for your protective gear:

That's interesting, verrry counter intuitive to fall on your knees or elbows.

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3 hours ago, Rookie said:

My ex really liked rollerblading so we would go. I didn't love it lol because I always felt like I might fall... I never did learn how to stop. I would just kind of go in a circle until I stopped :P Or grab something as I rolled by.  Maybe I would be more comfortable roller skating over blading.

 

If you want to learn more about roller skating, @Elennare roller skates and recently posted some cool videos skating on a ramp! I went with inline skates instead because they are supposed to handle bumpy surfaces better and UK roads, sidewalks, and park paths are often not very smooth. I've read that inline skates have better front-to-back stability (because the wheels are longer than your foot), while roller skates (quads) have more side-to-side stability. It's probably just different!

 

My partner was very nice and walked/jogged alongside me for moral support (and to provide some light stability at the beginning). 

 

There are techniques to stop by circling! (I saw this one and thought, "that is DEFINITELY not happening yet")

 

Spoiler

 

 

 

3 hours ago, Rookie said:

You are a champ!

 

I can't take too much credit for this - COVID is still helping a lot since I'm not tempted to get treats from corner shops! I did have a few biscuits over Zero week, though, so I knew I had to have this as a goal to avoid too many "just this one time" treats.

 

2 hours ago, Harriet said:

Yes! Sleep hard!

 

Lion GIF

 

2 hours ago, Harriet said:

Hmmm, knowing how to fall safely sounds like it would make skating much less scary. I wonder if it's possible to fall safely off a bike as well?

 

I'm kind of surprised that biking doesn't have more protective gear at least! Although I think some mountain bikers wear flexible knee and elbow pads.

 

Good question - and given that I bike sometimes, too, I should probably know how to fall off of one properly! Let's see...

 

Spoiler

First part of this video is tips NOT to crash (including "don't look back at your friends crashing behind you"), but this technique at 4:00 min is crazy:

 

 

Oh, and when the speaker used that technique, it resulted in "just slashes, like I'd been in a knife fight" 😳.

 

Mountain bikers probably fall a lot more and should have something to say about it, right? This one disagrees about what to do if you start falling over the front of your bike, though... just JUMP OVER IT! Easy peasy 😆. To be fair, I eventually learned how to jump off my horse mid-buck and land on my feet... 

 

 

Maybe I should start learning how to jump off my bike like he did ~1:50. That might not work as well on a road with cars, but could be good for avoiding unexpected kids or dogs in parks or greenways. 

 

42 minutes ago, Mad Hatter said:

That's interesting, verrry counter intuitive to fall on your knees or elbows.

 

Definitely, it really relies on the safety gear. I just need to make sure I don't try falling that way without it 😅. I think the main goal is to fall forward rather than backwards, too - if you try to catch your balance and fall backwards instead, that can probably hurt your tailbone (and unlike with ice skating, you don't lessen the impact by skidding/sliding!).

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Week 1, Tuesday

  • Sleep routine
    • Starting getting ready for bed a little late (10:35 pm) because we went for late walk, but still got to bed and turned out the lights 10-15 minutes early, so the routine is working. 
  • Exercise
    • Nothing goal-wise today, but my partner and I went for a long bike ride + walk (at least two hours?) to scope out a neighbourhood we might want to move to. I was worried about how I'd do with the relatively large amount of biking, but my cardio fitness is a LOT better than it was at the start of the year, even though I don't bike much. I still coast a lot, but I can tolerate a moderate pace for 20-30 minutes now. 
  • Food/nutrition
    • Supplements taken (I'm not going to worry about tracking the night ones from now on since I'm already good at taking those).
    • No store-bought sweets because I haven't been to any stores!
    • No cooking/meal prep today.
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2 hours ago, Alanna said:

My partner was very nice and walked/jogged alongside me for moral support (and to provide some light stability at the beginning). 

I love that 😍

 

2 hours ago, Alanna said:

There are techniques to stop by circling! (I saw this one and thought, "that is DEFINITELY not happening yet")

 

  Hide contents

 

 

So my version was was less graceful lol but basically accomplished the same thing. Hmm I think I'm more of an indoor skater lol. I prefer skating on surfaces that are super smooth and no hills. I think there's a roller rink near me lol I should try it out for fun when things open up fully. I may have been watching tiktoks of people roller skate dancing and I think it's so cool. 

 

2 hours ago, Alanna said:

I can't take too much credit for this - COVID is still helping a lot since I'm not tempted to get treats from corner shops! I did have a few biscuits over Zero week, though, so I knew I had to have this as a goal to avoid too many "just this one time" treats.

Still doesn't stop me apparently! Lol it's good practice either way for you ☺️

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10 hours ago, Rookie said:

I love that 😍

 

He said it must have looked funny to any onlookers because I practiced purposely falling onto grass after (kinda) skating across the short end of the skate area - so he looked super supportive, walking next to me and holding my hand, and then he let go and I fell while he just stood there and watched 😆

 

But yes, he is super supportive!

 

10 hours ago, Rookie said:

So my version was was less graceful lol but basically accomplished the same thing. Hmm I think I'm more of an indoor skater lol. I prefer skating on surfaces that are super smooth and no hills. I think there's a roller rink near me lol I should try it out for fun when things open up fully. I may have been watching tiktoks of people roller skate dancing and I think it's so cool. 

 

Yeah, I'm not tackling hills anytime soon! You should definitely try out skating when you can do so safely! If you have any smooth floors, I think I've seen people learn skating dance moves (that don't require much space) in their homes as well. 

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12 hours ago, Alanna said:

Definitely, it really relies on the safety gear. I just need to make sure I don't try falling that way without it 😅. I think the main goal is to fall forward rather than backwards, too - if you try to catch your balance and fall backwards instead, that can probably hurt your tailbone (and unlike with ice skating, you don't lessen the impact by skidding/sliding!).

This reminds me of when I was learning to roller skate. I went out with no issues, and all happy and excited I sat down to take off my skates. The problem was that I sat down on one of those really big bins, when my skate rolled out from under me and I slipped straight down to the ground onto my tailbone. Owwww! 😂😫Spent the rest of the day prone haha.

 

2 hours ago, Alanna said:

He said it must have looked funny to any onlookers because I practiced purposely falling onto grass after (kinda) skating across short end of the skate area - so he looked super supportive, walking next to me and holding my hand, and then he let go and I fell while he just stood there and watched 😆

 

Cute!

 

2 hours ago, Alanna said:

Yeah, I'm not tackling hills anytime soon! You should definitely try out skating when you can do so safely! If you have any smooth floors, I think I've seen people learn skating dance moves (that don't require much space) in their homes as well. 

Bet downstairs neighbours would looooove that. 😄

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4 hours ago, Alanna said:

so he looked super supportive, walking next to me and holding my hand, and then he let go and I fell while he just stood there and watched 

🤣 Oh my lol well at least you didn't ask him for a little push. 

 

4 hours ago, Alanna said:

If you have any smooth floors, I think I've seen people learn skating dance moves (that don't require much space) in their homes as well. 

I used to love rollerblading in my parents basement 🤣 super brave. I don't think there's any skate dancing in my future. I just appreciate watching it. Speaking of, the coolest thing I ever saw was a figure skater practicing on inline blades... At least that's what I thought she was haha. 

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18 hours ago, Alanna said:

Good question - and given that I bike sometimes, too, I should probably know how to fall off of one properly! Let's see...

 

I looked up falling off bikes safely after posting, here, and the instructions seemed perfectly sensible but there's no way I'm going to remember and react fast enough to make it happen if I fall off. I can't even persuade my body to do simple things like not putting my feet on the ground before stopping the bike.

 

 

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On 6/19/2021 at 10:53 AM, Alanna said:

I'm at a transition point where some chapters of my life (including a PhD) are coming to a close soon, with more life changes on the horizon. Right now I'm recovering from the last particularly stressful last month, catching up on other things that were set aside, and re-focusing on my health and fitness. Most excitingly, I decided to get inline skates as a reward for finishing my thesis!

 

Congrats on finishing the thesis!  I completed my Ph.D. more than 15 years ago, so . . . uh, it's been a while . . . but it was a HUGE turning point in my life.  It's not just having the thing done.  It's moving out of apprentice mode that feels so transformative.  Excited for you.

 

On 6/19/2021 at 10:53 AM, Alanna said:

 

GOALS

 

Sleep routine

  • Start getting ready for bed by 11 pm (10:30 pm if I still need to shower), in bed by 11:30 pm, and lights off by 12 am. In my most recent challenges I've only focused on my bedtime, and now I want to start working on a bedtime routine as well. As in my last challenge, I'll be tracking how close I am to these times rather than a binary yes/no of whether I met each deadline.
  • Bonus points if I manage to wind everything back by a half hour by the end of the challenge (10:30/11/11:30 pm).

 

I really love your attention to the wind-down routine, and it sounds like that's been helping you.  I'm curious about your thoughts on reading in bed and how reading fits with the wind-down.  Is that part of your routine, and if so, are you able to close the book on time?

 

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On 6/23/2021 at 10:44 AM, Mad Hatter said:

This reminds me of when I was learning to roller skate. I went out with no issues, and all happy and excited I sat down to take off my skates. The problem was that I sat down on one of those really big bins, when my skate rolled out from under me and I slipped straight down to the ground onto my tailbone. Owwww! 😂😫Spent the rest of the day prone haha.

 

Oh no, that sounds really painful! I will try to learn from your mistake 😅

 

On 6/23/2021 at 12:11 PM, Rookie said:

I used to love rollerblading in my parents basement 🤣 super brave. I don't think there's any skate dancing in my future. I just appreciate watching it. Speaking of, the coolest thing I ever saw was a figure skater practicing on inline blades... At least that's what I thought she was haha.

 

That is very committed for someone who didn't like rollerblading! 

 

I have seen similar videos - they are ridiculously graceful! 

 

On 6/23/2021 at 4:38 PM, Harriet said:

I looked up falling off bikes safely after posting, here, and the instructions seemed perfectly sensible but there's no way I'm going to remember and react fast enough to make it happen if I fall off. I can't even persuade my body to do simple things like not putting my feet on the ground before stopping the bike.

 

That's the idea behind practicing safely beforehand - it helps train your body how to respond if you do fall without you consciously thinking of what to dp. E.g., I slipped on black ice once and automatically did a break fall I learned from Taekwondo, even though it happened in a split second. Some of the tucks and rolls from the mountain bike video I posted could probably be practiced from a kneeling position and/or on softer surfaces :). Learning how to fall does take a lot of drilling, though, and it isn't a guarantee that you won't get hurt since every fall is different. But it definitely reduces the risk and can be a big confidence boost since it takes away some of the fear of falling.

 

6 hours ago, Jules Andromeda said:

Congrats on finishing the thesis!  I completed my Ph.D. more than 15 years ago, so . . . uh, it's been a while . . . but it was a HUGE turning point in my life.  It's not just having the thing done.  It's moving out of apprentice mode that feels so transformative.  Excited for you.

 

Thank you! It really is the end of an era.

 

6 hours ago, Jules Andromeda said:

I really love your attention to the wind-down routine, and it sounds like that's been helping you.  I'm curious about your thoughts on reading in bed and how reading fits with the wind-down.  Is that part of your routine, and if so, are you able to close the book on time?

 

Depends a lot on the book! I have had nights where I stay up too late reading 😬. If I can avoid starting parts that get particularly exciting (e.g., some authors are known for having the action build at certain points), that helps. Short stories or books with well-defined chapters (such as James Herriot's vet books or Isaac Asimov's I, Robot) are also less dangerous. Regardless, if I start reading early enough, have wound down beforehand, and have a regular bedtime, I usually get tired after 30-60 minutes and put the book down willingly. 

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