I am exceedingly well pleased with the first month of my Foundations 2013 project.

The first foundation stone was a regular, 10 p.m. bedtime, and I’m happy to report success for the first month:  an average of 10 p.m. with a few deviations each way, but not many and only one as much as an hour.

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I’m even happier to report how much better just a month of this practice has made me feel, both physically and mentally.  Unfortunately, I can’t say that I’m getting all that much more sleep, as I’ve been waking up earlier, but it’s generally better sleep.  How lovely it is to fall asleep within a few minutes of turning out the light, instead of lying awake with my mind whirling, being unable to avoid the thought that if I can’t sleep, I could at least be up accomplishing something, but staying in bed because I know I’m really tired and need the sleep.

I suspect there are several factors involved here, only one of which is the hour, though I’ve discovered through experience that 10:00 really does work best for me.  Another is the sheer regularity of the time:  as the month progressed, both my body and my mind learned to recognize when bedtime is approaching and begin, unconsciously, to prepare.

Unmeasured and undocumented, but significant, is a deliberate effort to “wind down”—usually reading a book, watching a movie, or listening to a course lecture—in the later evening hours.  I found out the hard way that rushing around trying to finish last-minute jobs and beat the 10:00 deadline does not work:  the one time I did that, I was so hyped I lay awake for two hours.

My general practice, though it’s not honored with any rigidity whatsoever, is to have the computer off by 9:00, and I find getting away from the close screen helps a lot.  If I’m watching something, as opposed to reading, I will bend the rule and keep my computer on my lap.  Without it, I will more often than not fall asleep, or get frustrated—I seem to need to do something else when watching television (and I don’t knit). That seems to do less harm—as is true of the movie itself, though it also is "screen time"—than the intensity with which I usually work at the computer, and allows me to do small, tedious, but important jobs that take time but little attention.   (For example, there are tasks that require a few clicks, then a wait, then a few clicks, then a wait—and doing them while distracted by a movie keeps me from being frustrated to tears by the delays.)  It also helps to get ready for bed (both myself and the house) before doing the winding-down activities.

This Foundation Stone is a keeper, and I am so grateful to my husband for supporting it.  When you're married, making a significant change is nearly impossible if your spouse is opposed, and passive resistance or even indifference can quickly derail all but the strongest commitment to a difficult project.  But encouragement is the lubrication that keeps the whole enterprise from seizing up.  Thank you, Porter!


There's a lot more to cover in this first-month review, but I'll take a break before moving on.

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, February 1, 2013 at 11:05 am | Edit
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Foundations 2013, One Month In - Part 2
Excerpt: The second goal I set for this project was not foundational in itself, but a subset of the fundamental goal of purposeful and deliberate reading:  To read through A History of the Medieval World by February 14.  The third was to read through ...
Weblog: Lift Up Your Hearts!
Date: February 2, 2013, 8:26 am
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