What’ve I been up to?

Heavens, my. Lots.

I’ve been working on my health. With two young kids, it’s easy to overlook upkeep on yourself- and I’ve been guilty of that. My diet, sleep, and most other aspects of my life have been, to some degree or another, compromised in sacrifice to my kids. I regret none of it. That said, it’s not sustainable, and it’s not in the kids’ best interests long-term. My interest in improving my health started this summer, when I had my tonsils removed. I’d been getting sick as a result of them for a while, and I was sick of loosing time to something I could have dealt with. Out they came. It wasn’t the most painful thing I’ve every done/had done to me- but given the physical traumas I’ve had, that may be a viewpoint shared by few. It was 10 days of not-fun. Turns out it’s been totally worth it.

So here’s what else I’m doing:

1. Diet. I’m eating better. Breakfast every morning, Almond milk instead of dairy. Solid, healthy lunches. Cooking more (and ordering out less). Cooking with better quality products. I’ve cut out soda (except as a very occasional treat). I’ve cut out juice. I drink water and tea- and I’ve cut way back on the sugar in my tea. And I’ve cut down my tea consumption- and never after 3pm.

2. Sleep. For a number of reasons, my sleep patterns have been a mess. I’ve always dealt with some level of insomnia- when it’s really bad, I can’t fall asleep. Most of the time, I fall asleep just fine, but can’t stay asleep very well. Over the summer I was finding it very difficult to sleep past 3am or so. As a result, I’ve cut way back on caffeine. None after 3pm or so, and less during the day than before. I’m down to two good-sized cups of tea most days. I’m also using an app called “Tonic” to help track my sleep. It doesn’t track my sleep cycles, but I use it to plot sleep/wake times. Then I can track the hours of my sleep.

3. Exercise. I’ve been really bad with this. I haven’t been in the gym for a very long time, and it’s showing. It’s hard with the kids to get time, and my schedule is only getting more complicated. But I’m determined to do what can be done. I’ve been using a standing desk for two years now, but my current rooms don’t have them installed- just in my office, which I’m rarely in anymore. I’ll have to fix that. Also, I’m going to workout. Somehow. Maybe early-morning. Maybe mid-day. I’m not sure yet, but I’m going to.

4. Tracking. I’ve been interested in the Quantified Self movement since I first read about it several years ago- and before that, the life-logging movement was pretty interesting too. I’m not in a position to life-log these days, but I’ve been investing more time and effort in the quantified self aspect of things. So far, this mostly includes using Tonic to track several aspects of my days- and allowing my to export and analyze that data for trends. It’s an incredibly flexible app, and if you’re looking for something to help track any aspect of your life, it’s worth a look. I’ve also been looking into using an activity monitor to do more detailed tracking. I’d been excited about Nike’s Fuelband, but $150 is pretty stiff, and it’s got limited uses. The Jawbone UP is pretty neat- it’ll track more than the Nike, but it has no display to show you how you’re doing mid-day, and to do anything with it, you have to plug it into your phone. Also: $130. The new FitBit gets really good marks- wireless sync, sleep tracking, calibration… but I have an iPhone 4, and it needs at least an iPhone 4S to wirelessly sync. Really? That’s lame. As of just this morning, I’ve backed the indiegogo startup of the Misfit Shine. It’s tiny, waterproof, adaptable, has a very, very long battery life, and will wirelessly (and interestingly) sync with my phone. I’ve pledged $79 for a Shine with a clasp and sport bracelet. It’s supposed to ship in March. I’m really, really doubtful of that ship date, but I’m also really, really excited for it to come.

I’ve also been working on other stuff- a new presentation, some new video work, some new writing, some work on my much-neglected studio, and a new revived interest in minimalism. The kit I carry around has shrunk considerably. The gear I use has changed a bit. It’s the nature of the passage of time- the more I learn, the more things change. I’ll be posting about these things, soon.

Here’s to a new year full of fun, research, thinking, doing, and adventure.