Walking more for HealthMonth.

My third and last HealthMonth rule is walking at least 10,000 steps six days a week.

This one is more difficult than I thought it would be. Optimally, I would like to take over 10,000 steps every day, but although I am enjoying my job and my classes, I am not managing my schedule very well. I really need to be in bed by 22:00 to wake up at 06:00, but instead I get to bed around 23:00 or midnight. A few things factor into this:

  1. FunkyPlaid and I have very different schedules. He goes to work later, comes home much later, and eats his meals later. If I want to spend time with him (and cook/eat dinner with him), I have to cook/eat later and stay up later.
  2. I am still in triage-mode when it comes to homework. There is so much of it, and I sacrifice bedtime for deadlines.
  3. I need playtime, too. If all I have done since I've gotten home is homework, chores, or other maintenance-type tasks, I want to do something fun so I don't feel like I've only worked all day.

With these existing scheduling issues, my main exercise-related issues are:

  1. I am scheduling about half the time I should be exercising each day. During the week, I make sure to at least walk home from the shuttle, which is 1.75 miles. At a leisurely pace, this takes me just about a half-hour. While I love my walk home, it does not provide enough exertion/steps.
  2. There is no way I am waking up at 05:00 to exercise. This means I have to get the other half of my exercise sometime between my arrival home from work and FunkyPlaid’s arrival home from work. In other words, prime homework time.
  3. Right about the time I need to get up and moving, my energy runs out. Because I am not sleeping enough, I crash out every day for about an hour, sometimes two, then wake up in a panic because I haven’t finished my homework.

Clearly, I need a schedule reboot, so here is my idea: go to bed at 22:00, wake up at 06:00, walk home, do homework for two hours, go for a brisk walk or run, do chores and/or make dinner, spend time with FunkyPlaid, do something fun by myself, and repeat the whole process. Goodness, that sounds boring and stifling all laid out like that, but it is what I will try to do.

In an upcoming HealthMonth post, I will write about adjusting caloric intake for an already-restricted diet without going completely insane.

Getting enough sleep for HealthMonth.

Yesterday I felt pretty positive about my television-limiting rule for HealthMonth. Today I discovered that my next rule might crush my game entirely.

For months, I have been going to bed earlier than I ever have in the interest of getting enough sleep each night. My new job, which is rapidly becoming just “my job” in terms of referring to it, requires that I wake up by six-thirty every morning. I am a night-owl, so this has been a struggle for me, but I have been successful.

Until about two in the afternoon, when I get home and need to be wide-awake and starting in on my homework. Either I crash out for an hour or so, or I end up blearily stumbling through pages of reading, taking vague notes, and then re-reading frantically as the assignment looms.

My Fitbit was confusing me. It reported 94-97% sleep efficiency each night, with averages of seven hours per night. So I started going to bed earlier, figuring that the issue was not enough sleep instead of quality of sleep. Exhaustion persisted.

Yesterday, I decided to change the sensitivity on Fitbit’s sleep tracker from “normal” to “sensitive”. What resulted was this:

screenshot of Fitbit sleep data

When I saw this, my heart sank. Even though I went to bed before midnight – which was especially difficult when I had barely seen FunkyPlaid all day and wanted to spend time with him – my longest block of sleep was just over an hour long. An hour! Not even a proper nap.

Granted, I had three things working against me last night:

  1. I exercised right before bed. I noticed that I wasn’t going to make my quota of 10k steps/day without taking a brisk walk around the block, and I had meant to do that earlier in the day, but … see aforementioned exhaustion.
  2. I allowed myself to get worked up about a computer issue right before bed. Our printer stopped working for FunkyPlaid, and I need to troubleshoot it. Last night’s mindset – cranky due to a headache, stressed due to homework – was not the right one to be in for troubleshooting. I tried anyway.
  3. I started stressing about homework right before bed. Just … no.
So, okay, maybe last night I stacked the deck against myself. Maybe it is not as dire as it feels right now. But my HealthMonth rule is to get at least seven hours of sleep at least six days a week, and I have no idea how I am going to do that unless I start going to bed at nine o’clock.

Limiting my television consumption for HealthMonth.

One of the HealthMonth rules I chose for March is limiting my television consumption to seven hours per week, or roughly one hour per day. I pared down my Hulu subscription list to the following, in order of how much I enjoy them:

  1. Fringe (hour)
  2. Parks and Recreation (half-hour)
  3. Community (half-hour)
  4. Modern Family (half-hour)
  5. Parenthood (hour)
  6. 30 Rock (half-hour)
  7. Raising Hope (half-hour)
  8. Castle (hour)
  9. The Office (half-hour)

Honestly, the Hulu list could lose 6-9 without me noticing much. I also left an hour for Restaurant: Impossible, which is a show that FunkyPlaid and I enjoy watching together on live TV.

Technically, the hours are 45-ish minutes, and the half-hours are 22-ish minutes, but you get the idea. I am somewhat surprised that I watch this much television each week, since I used to be one of those anti-TV snobs, but I usually watch around the dinner hour, if I am eating alone, or the “I can’t look at my cataloging homework another moment” hour.

Glee and House did not make the cut. The latter has become laughably dull, while the former actively enrages me, so I read Glee Sucks instead.

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