SLEEP: Day 0 of 30 – Need Sleep

Need Sleep

Choosing this next challenge was actually a last minute decision. I had another challenge I really wanted to do, the Spending-Hiatus Challenge, but since the money I spend is usually essentials for my children – the only personal sacrifice I would be making would be my Dunkin Donuts trips. And taking my iced caramel lattes away can prove to be dangerous.

As I spent late hours trying to find a saving/spending/money challenge that made sense, I found myself scouring Google and Pinterest with heavy eyelids.  Which made me think – I really need to sleep.

30DayChallengeAccepted Sleep

We’ve all heard of the benefits of a full, good night’s rest, but how many of us adults, specifically parents, actually get the recommended 7-9hours? I assure you that this will be a huge challenge for me. I’m a night owl. I get a surge of energy after the kids are settled in for the night, so their after-hours are usually when I take care of tasks I don’t do during the day, like this blog.

 

3Day Challenge Accepted SleepThe Sleep Challenge post that kept popping up was by OurHeritageOfHealth.com.  There isn’t a calendar with daily tasks to fulfill like the previous challenges I’ve done, but it had three simple rules that I can work with: 1) set reasonable goals, 2) reward yourself and 3) do what you need to do to reach those goals.

Before I list my goals, let’s first state my Status Quo:

  • My current bedtime is ~1:30am and I’m up and struggling by 7:30am.
  • I have a very difficult time falling asleep, unlike my husband who snoozes as soon as his head hits the pillow
  • I’m not a morning person. I hit snooze a few times before I finally roll out of bed.
  • I usually (accidentally) take power nap when I’m putting my younger one down for his nap
  • On weekends, my family let’s me sleep in and I don’t wake up until almost 11:00am
  • I love my bed

I have to be aware not to make potential results my goals (like ‘have more energy’, ‘be more focused’, or ‘get better skin’). So My Goals are:

  • sleep at least 7hours a night for 30days, with the ultimate goal to get 8 hours
  • finish this challenge as close to 30days as possible
  • eliminate sleep distractions for good
  • find ways to induce sleep
  • become a better morning person

Watch this challenge reduce my trips to Dunkin Donuts anyways! How ironic would that be.

 

Want to read all 30 Days of the Sleep Challenge?  View the Overview page HERE

 

KINDNESS: 30Day Challenge Review – Five Takeways

KINDNESS: 30Day Challenge Review – Five Takeaways

At the beginning of the holiday season I wanted to embrace the magic of the time of year where we talk about the importance of giving.  A reader left a comment in one of earlier blogs about the book 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life, by Cami Walker.

30DayChallengeAccepted 29GiftsBook

Her memoir inspired me to seek a challenge that had the same intention: do something for someone else every day for 30Days.  That’s how I came across PopSugar’s Challenge.

 

Here are MY GOALS that I listed on Day 0:

  • to complete this in 30days flat 👍🏼

Ended up at doing and extra day of kindness and took this challenge for 31Days! 

  • to find out-of-the-box acts of kindness 👌🏼

I found that some of the tasks were giveaways because as I mom, part of the role requires you to be kind by default. But there were definitely some things that were out of the box, like leaving a note in a library book.

 

Five Takeaways From This Challenge:

1. It’s a relief that I’m not the witch I make myself out to be.

There were many things on PopSugar’s list that I do regularly, like running errands for others, babysitting, or letting cars merge in front of me.  Having common courtesy is not as common as I thought. 

2. An act of kindness does not need to be a grand gesture

Sometimes the most simple thing makes the biggest impact, the smallest being – a smile.  I have a resting-bitch-face, but when I see someone else smile at me it dissolves quickly.

3. You shouldn’t be kind to only those you assume are less fortunate

Everyone, even that person who seems to have it all together, is fighting a battle you don’t know about.  Everyone could use a pick-me-up whether that’s in the form of a genuine smile or small gift.

4. Accepting kindness is also a form of kindness

How often does someone offer something to you and you say “Ohhhh nooo, it’s ok” in an attempt to be gracious. Giving and receiving are two sides of the same coin.  So when someone is being kind to you, try to accept it gratefully. Genuinely say “Thank You” and let them know how much you appreciate their offer.

5. Kindness is contagious

Try it and see for yourself.  

Want to read all 30 Days of the Kindness Challenge?  View the Overview page HERE

KINDNESS: Day 28-30/30 – Plus Bonus Day31!

Plus Bonus Day31

I almost didn’t reach my goal to complete this 30Day Challenge in exactly 30Days.  But I surprised myself and went for an extra day of kindness.

30DayChallengeAccepted Kindness

Day28
“Ask someone how they are and really listen when they answer.”

I thought this would be easy because I consider myself a good listener.  But I didn’t have the chance to talk to anyone face-to-face today, unless you count my kids. I asked them how they are, but have you tried to have the conversation with a kid? It’s very short.  A conversation with my husband, even shorter.

So, I texted my closest girlfriends, but they were all normal every-day conversation. When I tried to make them deeper, it felt too forced and disingenuous so I stopped.  Then when the day was almost over, a friend texted me and we got into an effortless deep and personal conversation .  I’m not going into detail about who it was and what we talked about, but these moments make me grateful that I have amazing girlfriends who willingly share their ups and downs with me.

Day29
“Give encouragement to someone who is working hard.”

I crap on him all the time. It’s easy.  But without a doubt, I will be the first person to tell you how hard my husband works.  He has his 9-5, but he also has an internet business he maintains on the side. Basically he works 24/7 to support our family and allow me to be a stay-at-home mom.

He probably thought I had more than one glass of wine at dinner, but I let him know how awesome I think he is at what he does.  That even though he’s on a device all the time, and his phone is always ringing at odd hours… that I am in awe of how he handles all the technical tasks, deals with people from across the globe, and makes it look easy.

Day30
“Spend a day saying only nice things about – and to- other people.”

TAKE 1 – I can’t even fudge it, I completely failed this today. It was the first day back to the grind – husband back to work / kids back to school.  After over a week off, everyone was out of wack, including myself.  With the Kindness Challenge on my mind, I was already more patient than I normally would be, but the two adorable beings I gave birth to pushed me beyond my limits and it put me in a funk for the rest of the day.

TAKE 2 – right before I went to bed, I was having conversations with mommy friends and by the end of it I had ended up volunteering for a position that unexpectedly opened on the executive board of the PTA.  I was ready to call it quits on kindness for Day30, then this happened and I think it totally counts.

BONUS – Day 31

I could’ve ended the challenge yesterday, but after such a rough day I wanted a Day30-do-over.  I woke up with a fresh mind and a fresh heart.  I think my kids did too because whatever demons possessed them were gone and we had a picture-perfect morning.  I went into the office and had a productive day and lots of laughs with my co-workers. Ended my day with a relaxing family dinner at my in-laws and an easy night-routine with my kids. I spent the day genuinely saying and doing nice things, and it was the perfect way to end this challenge.

CHALLENGE: KINDNESS – ✔️ COMPLETED

 

Want to read all 30 Days of the Kindness Challenge?  View the Overview page HERE

KINDNESS: Day 25-27/30 – Keep Smiling

Keep Smiling

One step closer to completing the PopSugar 30Day Kindness Challenge, and on Day 25, 26 and 27 I saw a trend – that I keep looking to do a grand gesture for someone in need.  It made me think, an act of kindness shouldn’t be prejudiced to those less fortunate, because everyone deserves to feel cared about. I shouldn’t feel like I need to change someone’s life.  Being kind should simply be about keeping a smile on someone’s face, not necessarily turning a frown upside-down.

30DayChallengeAccepted Kindness

Day25
“Cook a meal for someone.”

Did this already a few days ago on Day21. Today I got to do the task assigned for Day17 – putting stranded carts in a parking lot away.  It had been raining all morning so I guess people decided to abandon their carts to rush away in their cars.  Sure I got drenched putting away random carts, while my mom and kids waited for me in the car, but it was worth it because one less person would be annoyed due to not being able to park because someone left a cart behind (which is what happened to us).

Another task that was assigned to a previous Day (Day10) was “offer to babysit or pet sit for someone for free.” To prove what I was saying, below shows that helping out a fellow mom is standard practice.

30DayChallengeAccepted Kindness

Day26
“Cover for a co-worker so that they can leave work early.”

I didn’t go into work today and also have a day off from my kids . I also wasn’t planning on going out today, so I had no idea what my “act of kindness” would be. As I cleaned the living room, dining room, basement, kitchen, etc. I realized, I was doing my act of kindness. My annual act of kindness.  I was prepping our house for our New Year Eve’s party.

When we built our house, I daydreamed of future family gatherings.  I have a small, but close-knit family, and since I’m a planner by nature I’ve taken on the responsibility of coordinating all family events. For as many years as I can remember, I’ve hosted NYE (in our apartment and now our new home) and I couldn’t imagine ringing in the new years any other way.

Day27
“Donate clothing and books you don’t need.”

At the end of the summer I had our first (and last) yard sale.  I’ve always donated my unneeded clothes to the Salvation Army, but had always wanted to have a yard sale.  I was so excited, but it vanished quickly as I watched strangers dismiss your belongings and ask to pay nothing for it! After only one afternoon of my emotions getting battered I declared that yard sales aren’t my thing.

Instead of boxing everything back into the attic or dumping it at a local SA, I had a “basement sale” for only family and friends.  And it wasn’t so much a sale. It was – come and take what you want. And it felt so much better.

Today, I gathered some leftover items to donate to Schoola.  This organization collects items and sells them online (in other words, a second-hand store), with a portion of the proceeds going to your school of choice (mine, obviously being my kids’ school). So I consider it a win-win-win.

Kindness by definition means “the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.” It doesn’t define who deserves it more than others.  Nor should I.

 

Want to read all 30 Days of the Kindness Challenge?  View the Overview page HERE

KINDNESS: Day 22-24/30 – Being A Nicer Mom

Being A Nicer Mom

Being a parent is hard. You’re not supposed to say bad words in front of your kids, but they’re usually the source of frustration.  On days 22, 23, and 24 of the 30 Day Kindness Challenge I found myself adding kindness into my role of mommy. It was a win-win all around.

30DayChallengeAccepted Kindness

Day22
“Say thank you to someone who does a hard job that not many people would take.”

This isn’t a cop-out, but today I said Thank You to myself. I do a hard job that not many people would/could take.  I am a stay-at-home-mom.  Everyone has their opinions on it, but I will hands-down tell you it’s the most under-appreciated non-paid job.

How did I thank myself? I never shop for just me, so I treated myself to a little online shopping and took advantage of an end-of-year sale and got myself two pairs of jeans. (PS. best skinny jeans: old navy, rockstar. Currently 50% off!)

Day23
“Bring food and water to someone in need.”

It’s not nearly has philanthropic, but at the playground I pretend-played with a kid and we gave each other ice cream, milkshakes and smoothies. I do it with my own kids all the time, but I’m weary about playing with other people’s kids (you never know how psycho other parents can be).  But this little boy joined my kids at the pretend storefront and I couldn’t ignore him.  At first his parents didn’t seem ecstatic about him shoving his hands into the wood chips and making small piles, but when they realized that it was all harmless fun, they started to play along too.  Then it became a lesson of sharing and manners, and of course – kindness.

As an aside, I was proud to see my kids so welcoming to this little boy.  Their openness to include him led the way to fulfill today’s task.

Day24
“Make a personalized playlist for a family member or friend.”

Do you have kids that have opinions? Especially about music? In the car this past month my kids insisted that we keep it on the radio station that was only playing Christmas music – my ears are still ringing. The rest of the year, my two kids have the same taste as their dad – either 80’s pops and ballads or current kids’ bop. Meanwhile, my vibes are more 90’s hiphop and R&B. And it’s tough, because we have Sonos playing all day long at home.

So today, instead of making an actual playlist, I let my kids listen to what they wanted – Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, One Direction, Justin Bieber, etc (although I have to admit that the latter two have some catchy tunes). It was killing me not to switch stations or fast forward through songs before they realized what I was doing.  But now that they’re asleep I’m restoring my ears with some quality Bruno Mars and The Weeknd.

As a parent you’re constantly trying to teach your kids how to be the best version of themselves.  But the best way to teach them is to practice what you preach. The past three days I was was more conscious about being kinder, and as a result, I felt happier.  And so were my kids.

Happy mom = Happy home


Want to read all 30 Days of the Kindness Challenge?  View the Overview page HERE

KINDNESS: Day 19-21/30 – Doubling Up

Doubling Up

From the beginning of this PopSugar 30Days of Kindness Challenge I was afraid that it wouldn’t be demanding enough.  On Day16-18 I found that the tasks were actually a bit more difficult that I assumed.  Then Day19-21 I was at the other end of the spectrum and felt like I should be doing do more.  So over the next few days I doubled-up and challenged myself to do two acts of kindness, as small or big as they may be.

30DayChallengeAccepted.com Kindness

Day19

“Write a letter of appreciation to someone who positively influenced you.”

I felt a little awkward about doing this one, but once I decided on the person, the words flowed easily.  The person I chose is a former colleague, technically my superior when I started my career.  We got off with a rocky start, but over the decade we worked together, everything changed.  I learned a lot from her and am proud that even after 4years since I’ve left that job, we still reach out to each other, professionally and personally. It’ll be interesting to see her reaction to my email when she returns from her trip.

Adding to today’s challenge, I wanted to leave a token of thanks to our mailman.  But instead of just leaving an envelope addressed to “Mr. Mailman”, and decided to call the local post office and find out his name, and wrote out a card for Robert too, thanking him for his services.  Sometimes words carry more weight than money.

Day20

‘Volunteer at an animal shelter, soup kitchen or nursing home.”

I would love to do this, and what better day to volunteer my time than during the holidays.  However, I’d like to bank this for another time during the years when volunteering is at a lull.  I’m not much of an animal person, so I started looking into soup kitchens and nursing homes to see what my options are locally.  And hope to get my kids involved with this too.

Instead today, I decided to agree to be my friend’s date to a dinner of which neither of us knew many people besides the hosts.   I’m fortunate enough to have a non-mommy friend who makes sure I get me-time, and going out sans kiddos is something I need more than I realize.  Spending time with her and being around other adults without being distracted by one of my kids was a relaxing evening out. Also, made sure to bring a bottle of wine for the host. Mama taught to me never go to someone’s home empty handed.

Day21

“Give up your seat for someone else.”

Ever been to dim sum? How often do you get a table right away? Never. So while our party of 6 waited for our table in the tiny waiting area, I was surprised I was able to get a seat and offered it to my youngest child, until I saw a elderly lady and redirected my son and we offered it to her instead.  My small attempt at teaching by example.

This task felt minimal though. So for dinner, instead of trying to manipulate getting take-out since we had my cousins over, I decided I wanted to cook for everyone instead. I feel like family dinners are so important.  I grew up having dinner in front of a TV so when we built our house, I made sure there was no TV in the dining area.  I also have a ‘no devices at the table’ rule, and my kids are the first ones to remind anyone who has their phone at the table to put it away.  Tonight we enjoyed a BlueApron meal of chestnut fettuccine and a side of acorn squash, grilled lamb chops and Ahloo Quay (burmese chicken and potatoes), as well as each other’s company.

Kindness and courtesy are synonyms, and I think that’s where I feel torn. I’d like to do more acts of kindness that aren’t also acts of common courtesy. Writing a heartfelt letter is definitely not common, while offering your seat is. So some days, I will want to double-up.

 

Want to read all 30 Days of the Kindness Challenge?  View the Overview page HERE

KINDNESS: Day 16-18/30 – Stop Overthinking

Stop Overthinking

They didn’t seem so out-of-the-box, but they actually were.  I thought Day 16, 17 and 18 of the PopSugar 30Day Kindness Challenge were going to be a breeze.  I go into it oversimplifying the tasks then upon execution I start to overthink it, so instead of just enjoying it I’m making a bit of a mess.

30 Day Challenge Accepted Kindness

Day16
“Leave a funny note or a little bit of cash in your favorite library book.”

The note I left wasn’t that funny, but it was fitting.  I enjoy reading and am lucky enough to have a library that carries the latest releases in a section called Star Readers which only allows you to borrow a book for 7days.  Coincidentally today is the day so I’m supposed to return this book.

This week’s read is by my favorite author, Jodi Picoult – “Small Great Things”.

Here’s my review: Read It!

And here’s the non-funny post-it note message I left in the book for the next reader:

Loved this book’s message.
Sharing one of my favorite quotes:
“The one thing we all have in common is that we are all different.”
Enjoy the book!

Day17

“Put stray grocery carts back where they belong.”

I tried, but those Costco employees are so efficient!

Instead my act of kindness today was, again, through one of my kids.  My younger one has been doing soccer for a few seasons now. He’s still preschool age so I don’t expect much, but he loves this weekly intramural activity and his coaches do a great job with the crazy munchkins. As a gift for a holidays, we gave the coaches lottery tickets.  It took a lot of self-control for my little guy not to do all the scratch-offs himself!

Day18

“Let a car merge in front of you and give them a smile or a thumbs-up.”

Today I meant to complete Day13’s task – to bring treats to the office – since today is the last day I’m scheduled to go in this year, but I didn’t have a chance to get treats.  Ironically, when I walked into the office there were brownies, candies, nuts, cookies and more already laid out.

So I decided to go with today’s assigned task, although it seemed so mundane.  I’m an aggressive driver, but I am also courteous. Today I didn’t have much of a drive – just the 1.3miles from my house to the train station, and back.  So, I let whoever needed to merge, merge. I pulled to the side to let cars coming the opposite way down our narrow streets pass. I let pedestrians cross.  All with a happy wave.

 

These past three day’s tasks seemed easy peezy, but they weren’t because I kept feeling like I waa going about them all wrong. I was scared to leave that note in the library book – worried the librarian would see it when I returned the book and scold me for “vandalizing” (it sounds silly now that I said it aloud).  I tried to put the grocery carts back, but I went at the wrong time (in the morning, when the carts aren’t hapharzardly scattered) and with my little guy in tow, chasing down stray carts in the cold didn’t seem as fun in real-life. And I thought I was a nice driver already, but purposely being extra-patient nice driver was actually difficult! I have places to be!

 

Want to read all 30 Days of the Kindness Challenge?  View the Overview page HERE

KINDNESS: Day 13-15/30 – Half Way Because I’m a Cheater

Half Way Because I’m a Cheater

I feel like a cheater. This 30 Day Kindness Challenge by PopSugar has been easy, but because haven’t been following each day’s challenge to the T and still counting it as ‘completed’.  I’m going to prove it again right now with Day 13, 14 and 15…

30DayChallengeAccepted Kindness

Day 13
“Bring treats to the office and share with all your co-workers.”

Definitely going to do this, but not today because it’s the weekend.  It’s also my birthday and fulfilling my old-lady wishes, my husband, kids and I are staying home in pjs, all day, doing absolutely nothing. I’ve never been one to plan a celebration for myself or enjoy the spotlight, regardless of what day or milestone it is. I’ve even hidden my birthday on my social media profiles.

I would prefer to be a complete hermit and go device-free for a day, but I can’t ignore the well wishes from family and friends who remember.  So while it sounds effortless, my act of kindness was to thank each and every person who sent me a happy birthday message via Facebook, Instagram, text, etc. because while I don’t want the attention, I appreciate it.

Day 14
“Donate blood, or sign up to be an organ donor.”

I haven’t donated blood in so long. I used to do it all the time in my 20s, so I’m very happy to do this.  I easily found a local donation center and set up my appointment for Day15. I’m so excited. Wish I looked into this before!

Now onto Day14’s act of kindness.  It was through my daughter and comes with a little story:

Her martial arts school was having an Nerf War event and admission was one toy – a donation towards their toy drive. She wanted to go and I wanted her to go, but I was also nervous because she would be on the small side compared to the big kids from the older classes. Unfortunately I let my fears get the best of her. The morning of, she decides she no longer wants to go and it broke my heart. I felt like the worst mom in the world.  Then she quickly mended it back together when she asks if she could still go to at least drop off the toy for a kid in need. This happy ending continues…

I said we could go only if she could try to participate for at least 5 minutes and if she felt comfortable to give me the thumbs up and stay. She never gave me the thumbs up because as soon as she got on the mat, she was off having fun with her (taller) friends.

Day 15
“Help someone carry their bags.”

Found no one to help carry bags for, but I went for my blood donation this morning and also scheduled myself up for a plasma donation next month. I’m so happy to know this center exists because now I don’t have to wait around until I see a sign for a blood drive.

I mentioned on Day 0 that I was afraid this challenge wouldn’t be much of a challenge. I mentioned on Day1-3 that I was already cheating on the challenge. I mentioned it on Day7-9 that perhaps because I’m a mom, some of these tasks are standard operating procedure.  I mentioned on Day10-12 that some acts of kindness are on rotation. Now here I am, halfway at Day 15, still cheating away.  But what this challenge has done so far is made me aware of the day going by and realizing that I haven’t thought about someone else’s needs or feelings (beyond acts of common courtesy). That in itself puts a drive in me that I feel I’ve been missing. That I’ve needed.

 

Want to read all 30 Days of the Kindness Challenge?  View the Overview page HERE

KINDNESS: Day 10-12/30 – What Comes Around Goes Around

What Comes Around Goes Around

Day 10, 11, and 12 of the 30 Day Kindness Challenge were fun.  They weren’t out-of-the-box acts of kindness, but each brought me back to a memory of someone doing this to me. And what goes around, comes around and goes right back around again – because I’ve paid it forward time and time again.

30Day Challenge Accepted Kindness

Day 10
“Offer to babysit or pet sit for someone for free.”

Offering to babysit for free is part of being a mom. So, been there, done that.  Especially when one of you children is a social-butterfly and babysitting is more like a playdate.  It’s a win-win for everyone – moms and kids.

The first time someone offered to take my daughter for a playdate, I hesitated.  Not being a kid-person myself, I never thought people did that.  Now, it’s common practice within my mommy-friend circle. I am happy to watch their children whether planned or last-minute, regardless of who initiated.

Today I supported another mom in a different way, by supporting her small-business.  (Disclaimer: I would’ve done this even if I wasn’t doing this challenge.)  Earlier this week while running errands I remembered I should pick up holiday cards for my kids’ teachers, coaches, etc.  but I didn’t like any of the selection.  Then I remembered about LemonDropPapers.com, a line of beautiful stationary created by a mom I met this year. So I reached out to her today and within an hour placed an order for cards directly via text picked them up from her home later that evening.

LemonDropPapers.com

Day 11
“Call a loved one you haven’t spoken to in awhile.”

I’m a true Sagittarius. My group of friends is quality over quantity. So any chance I get to spend quality time with a quality friend, I take it. That’s why whenever a friend asks me to do something, I say ‘yes’ before even thinking ‘no’. This tasks works for me.

I’m not much of a phone-chatter.  I’m awkward on the phone, even worse with Facetime.  I’m more of a text’er/emailer or talk in-person.  For weeks I’ve had a dear friend on my mind that I hadn’t talked to in too long. Both of us are now moms to two. Due to both of us moving, our homes are separated by two rivers and an island.  It’s too easy to let time and space allow you to drift apart. Today I texted and emailed her, and she responded right away saying she was happy to hear from me and we made sure to set up a dinner date for next month.  😊

Day 12
“Give someone an unsolicited compliment.”

All day long! I’m happy to do this.

Years ago, in my 20’s, when weekends were about going to clubs/lounges and frolicking amongst strangers, I remember this life-changing moment:

I felt the girl next to me at the bar looking at me.  I prepared to receive a catty remark, but instead she says to me, “you have beautiful hair.”  She immediately erased by RBF, and together we flagged down the bartender to finally get our drinks.  I’m pretty sure she wasn’t hitting on me and she didn’t seem drunk.  But regardless, her simple kind words lifted my spirits.

Since then, I’ve found myself less hesitant about genuinely complimenting someone, friend or stranger.  Whether it’s telling the librarian her nail polish worked great with her skin tone, letting my friend know that her jeans are a great fit on her, or reminding my husband that he’s handsome.

Today I didn’t get out much because my older came home early from school sick with a stomach bug. So she was the receiver of all compliments today.  (Today and every day!)  Even after puking and running a fever, she truly is beautiful and kind-hearted.  She is a cooperative patient and I’m so lucky to have her as my daughter.

I loved the Kindness tasks for Day 10, 11, 12. They remind me of the principle of karma – cause and effect.  Once someone was kind to me, as a result I wanted to pass along those positive feelings.  I hope that I’ve touched someone with my simple offer to watch their kid, with my belated hello, or with my uplifting compliment so that they felt inspired to do the same to someone else.

 

Want to read all 30 Days of the Kindness Challenge?  View the Overview page HERE