New Year, New Site

Hello, all! Hope you have all stuck around whilst I’ve been taking some time away from posting every waking moment. If so, I truly appreciate you and your support for my content.

With that appreciation, I now ask for a huge favor in my next endeavor. I’ve hinted at it in the past, but only recently have I taken the plunge and have gone head-first into new territory.

Yes, I now have my own domain, a new self-running website, and new content to spring at you. I want to fully dedicate myself to the world of blogging, which means each post will involve more time and effort to hopefully better serve as a resource for my readers.

So what’s new with my site? alliemaelynn.com is still just me, the same ol’ person at the keyboard typing away about whatever I deem important and inspirational to discuss. I’ll still be discussing the same types of topics I already do, including mental health, spirituality, and sustainability. These are all still very important to me.

However, I really want to hone in on these topics into one overarching goal: to help others live a life prioritizing wellness. I’ve always considered the term “wellness” as one requiring a multi-faceted understanding of physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual aspects of ourselves.

By becoming more mindful and grounded in what makes us better selves, we can then translate that into wellness beyond ourselves. We are more aware of how our choices and actions affect others and the world around us. This is where my passions for sustainability, veganism, and advocacy come into play. We establish the foundation of wellness within ourselves, and then we can focus our intentions outward.

That’s all fine and dandy, but what else is new besides an actual domain name? Since I plan to take more time with each post I write to ensure they can be easily shared and helpful for you, I’m cutting back on how often I post each week. Let’s be honest, it was already crazy busting out 5 posts every week, but I still plan on sharing 3 different posts: one post for your own wellness, one for outward wellness, and one for me just to chat about whatever tickles my fancy. As always, you can find these posts shared across my social media platforms with a new emphasis on Pinterest.

These three posts each week will also include a new tidbit at the end of my long-form rambling, and that is a mindful meditation. In a few short sentences, I’m including a spiritually inclined devotion to provide a higher focus and purpose behind what I share, as well as start the day on a gracious, humble foot. A goal for myself this year is to become more open and involved in my faith rather than tiptoe around it in fear of offending others, but at the end of the day, this is my site, and if you’re here for my opinions and beliefs, then that’s a big part of it.

Besides all that jazz, I’m just going with the flow and seeing where this new step takes me. With greater flexibility and independence on my own website, I really have no clue what possibilities could come from this, but I’d really love to be able to make my blog a “side hustle,” as the kids call it, and put my heart and soul into my work. Not like I already did, but now I have a reason to be more focused and serious about what I do as an online creative.

Again, thank you all so much for being a part of this journey. I highly encourage you to join me on alliemaelynn.com and subscribe to my posts. Share my site and posts with others who might benefit from them, and please provide any feedback you have so I can make my site a resourcefor you to enjoy.

Change is scary, and so is going into an unknown where I could fall flat on my face, but I’m ready for the challenge.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie

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Day 22: Early Mornings #GIG2017

Yesterday was about the early nights going to bed? Today is all about the early mornings to rise.

Now trust me, I still don’t consider myself a morning person. It’s still often difficult for me to get out of bed, whether that be from exhaustion or just a lack of motivation to do anything and face the day. And I have spent years confused by anybody who was up at the crack of dawn and chose to be awake.

But now most days, the latest I can sleep in is 7 AM. Most days I’m up by around 6, sometimes as early as 5. Where this switch came from, I don’t know, but I figured I would embrace it. And indeed, I truly do appreciate becoming more of an early riser so I can see the beauty of being awake before the world is. To see the sun gradually rise. To have moments of pure silence and peace, or more time to be productive and proactive so I can ease my mind later in the day.

With that early start, I can begin my day less rushed. I can take the time I need to get ready and enjoy the process of a morning ritual. I can collect my thoughts and intentions for the day to ensure I’m starting on the right foot. I’m grateful for the opportunity available in that early morning, the promise of a new day waiting to be seized.

And, inevitably, I’m here to mention why waking up early can be good for you, too. Which, if you need a serious reason to think about setting an alarm clock, hopefully these will serve as incentives.

In 2010, Christoph Randler, a biologist from Harvard found that early risers are more proactive. When presented with statements such as “I spend time identifying long-range goals for myself”, an early riser is more likely to agree. There are less distractions in the early hours of the day so you can achieve more with minimal interruptions. After a good night’s sleep, your brain is charged and ready to work hard. You are at your efficient best and will get things done quicker and better, at least once your body gets used to the earlier wake-up call.

As I’ve already mentioned, having more time in the morning helps you set a positive tone that impacts how you feel and act the rest of the day. Studies have shown “morning people” are often more positive, more optimistic and more likely to experience satisfaction in their lives. Rather than the temptation to put off certain tasks, it’s pretty satisfying to finish school assignments, blog posts, and maybe work out if you’re into that, all before the day “officially” starts. My days can feel less hectic and stressful knowing I’ve already gotten some things checked off my to-do list, and it feels nice to remember that even if my only actual task completed was in the morning, I still got it done. You have to celebrate the little things.

So if you’re a chronic night owl or generally despise mornings, I get it. But if you’re interested in hopping on the early riser boat, hop on aboard. There’s plenty of room. We leave harbor at dawn. Sharp.

Seriously though, how does one start waking up earlier if their body doesn’t just randomly switch wake-up times like mine did? Have a personal reason you want to wake up earlier because as much as I can ramble on, if you don’t resonate with an intention you set yourself, I can’t convince you of anything. Be gradual with yourself in transitioning, even if that means waking up just five minutes earlier than the morning before. Be wary of hitting snooze or relying upon an annoying alarm to wake up to. Establish a morning routine you’ll actually look forward to, like having true time to eat and enjoy breakfast, getting into a new hobby like exercise or meditation, or whatever else tickles your fancy.

Regardless if you wake up at 6 AM or 11 AM, the most important thing to be grateful for is that you woke up. Realizing that each day, we can rise in a healthy body, in a healthy environment, knowing everything life has to offer us, is the best habit of all. Anything I’ve mentioned this month would be nothing without the simple gift the morning brings and everything that is meant to come our ways. Each morning is an opportunity to express gratitude, to treat ourselves, others, and the world with kindness.

That mindset is not just designated this month, but for every morning of every day in any month. I hope to celebrate gratitude in all I do and wake up in a sound mindset aware of these gifts, and I hope the same for you.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 21: Sleep #GIG2017

We’ve heard it enough times in our lives that you’d think it would be a no-brainer to always go to bed early or at least get the recommended hours of sleep each night.

Except it’s not that easy for many of us. I know I’m not alone when I admit struggling to fall and stay asleep for most of my life. I had more of an issue as a child getting to sleep each night, which I can still tend to do thanks to a racing mind, but I have been prone in recent years to be more restless in general, remembering each morning the few instances I woke up. Those moments of lying in bed fully awake or half-conscious, despite seeming insignificant, can add up.

So besides diving into the low-down of why sleep is important for us (because we can always use a reminder), I want to express some gratitude for sleep. First off, it feels awesome when you end a day dead-tired and immediately drift off, only to wake up feeling well-rested and ready to take on the day. I’m grateful for always having a bed to sleep in each night. I’m grateful for the pillows and blankets and pajamas that help me feel cozy and comforted. I’m grateful for the rare times I have and can remember good dreams from the previous sleep. I’m grateful for all that sleep serves for us, and I’m grateful for ending each day knowing my loved ones are safe and well and I have lived another day doing the best I could.

But back to those benefits. Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety. That means a sleepless night can be detrimental in an instant, or ongoing sleep deficiency can raise your risk for some chronic health problems. It also can affect how well you think, react, work, learn, and get along with others.

Sleep helps your brain work properly. While you’re sleeping, your brain is preparing for the next day. It’s forming new pathways to help you learn and remember information. Studies show that a good night’s sleep improves learning and problem-solving skills. Sleep also helps you pay attention, make decisions, and be creative. Studies also show that sleep deficiency alters activity in some parts of the brain. If you’re sleep deficient, you may have trouble making decisions, solving problems, controlling your emotions and behavior, and coping with change.

Sleep plays an important role in your physical health. For example, sleep is involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Your immune system relies on sleep to stay healthy. Sleep also maintains a healthy balance of hormones that affect blood sugar, growth and development, and hunger. Too little sleep is even known to shorten our lifespans and quality of life in general if our bodies become imbalanced and more easily perceptible to disease.

And since sleeplessness is known for making us irritable, slow to make decisions, and inattentive, it is also known with poorer relationships with others that we cannot be “all there” with. And who would want to be around someone who is emotionally heavy, overly pessimistic, and easy to anger? We’ve all been there, but when it becomes chronic, it’s time to start evaluating your habits. We generally cannot enjoy the company of others or anything life throws at us without the foundation of sleep.

If sleep is as basic to our bodies as breathing and eating, then how can we make it easier for ourselves to nail down 7-9 hours each night? It’s all about making a routine for yourself by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. Having a nightly routine to look forward to every day also helps to keep you in check. While I should be better about narrowing down screen time before bed, I have recently started drinking herbal tea or a hot beverage every evening. I also find it much easier to fall asleep with a podcast playing softly in the background.

How you spend your days affect how you’ll sleep at night. Avoid the caffeine once it hits the later afternoon. Eat your last meal at least two or three hours before bed. Get even just a little physical activity in so you feel tired enough at night. Practice mindfulness and meditation if you’re like me and tend to overthink and worry about every little detail.

Obviously these are easier said than done and are not end-all solutions to any woes, but they can hopefully support our well-being and help us step in the right direction. We deserve our best health possible for us. It’s not easy. But we’re each worth it.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie