April 5, 2022

Hi there, did you miss me the past few days? I have been helping a friend move all weekend as well as celebrating her birthday, so we have been really busy and I didn’t post for two days. Many of my coaches say if you are trying to form a good habit, you should have the proper environment, be consistent, and never miss more than two days in a row or you will break the habit. This led me to discuss some of my daily habits to stay consistent as I start out developing my new authoring duties. 

 

Reading Habits

Last week, I discussed my brain and memory coach, Jim Kwik. He taught me the reading habits I would need to increase my reading speed, focus, comprehension, and retention (Kwik Learning Online, 2022). On average, people who complete his 21-Day Kwik Reading Program, will be able to read one book a week, equal to 52 books a year! 

 

How do I accomplish that? First, I count the number of chapters in my book of the week, divide by seven, and I know how many chapters to read each day. Because I keep track of my words per minute, I do a practice read to test and see how fast I can read each page of the book. This will help me determine how long I will need to set aside to complete the reading task. Next, I pick the best reading time of day, usually noon for me.  Finally, I put the daily reading time on my weekly calendar and set notifications there, my email, and on my phone’s alarms. The skill of faster reading helps me with my book writing research and building my writing habits. 

 

Writing Habits

Similar to my daily reading habits, I pick times of day that work best for me. Since I am developing my writing habits to be a skilled author, I write multiple times a day, but need to spread it out or my brain gets fried. Mornings and evenings are my best times to write. I like to leave the afternoons for movement in nature. 

 

The morning writing habits are pre-planned so that I know what to focus on. I have three topics, 25 minute writing intervals with five-minute breaks in between. This is called the Pomodoro technique (mentioned in Jim Kwik’s “Limitless Book”). Since 2015, I have been using the Pomodoro technique with my 3rd grade students, with two glass timers made by Esington, a 25 minute and 5 minute glass timer with gold spheres. 

 

My writing space is set up with exactly what I need to complete my tasks. All distractions (cell phones, TV, people, etc) have been accounted for and are not present. Music may be playing in the background or other white noise. 

 

There are snacks and water or tea for my 5 min breaks. Before I begin, I meditate, practice breathing exercises, and channel the spirit. Sometimes, if I am inspired and motivated, I will double my writing time and repeat the Pomodoro technique. 

 

The evening has been reserved for my reflection writing which is unplanned writing, free writing, journaling, and gratitude lists. My timer is set for 10pm, I meditate a few minutes, then I write for about 20-25 minutes. Bedtime is usually between 10:30 and 11:00pm to keep my sleep consistent, which is the next habit I will discuss. 

 

Sleeping Habits

My coaches explain how sleep is just as important as your daily tasks. Your sleep routine should be consistent so that you can recharge and have the right amount of energy to get through each day. On a daily basis, I like to go to bed no later than 11pm and wake up no later than 8am. 

 

Generally, I sleep about 8 hours per night and sometimes I need more due to my EDS disability which causes fatigue. There are many days when my body needs naps for 1-2 hours. Sometimes, I will be so exhausted, fatigued, or experiencing PMS, I will fall asleep if I sit down or blink too long. I have gotten good at listening to what my body needs and following the signs it gives me. Which leads me to what I drink and eat. 

 

Drinking & Eating Habits

Water is my favorite element. Maybe because I am a Scorpio (water sign) or perhaps because I love researching water with Masaru Emoto books. My fitness coach told me to take half my weight, turn pounds to ounces, then drink that much water daily. They also mentioned drinking natural spring water or alkaline water, preferably in a reusable beverage container (not in a single use plastic bottle).

 

I have a reusable 40oz stainless steel hydro flask that I fill about three times a day with filtered faucet water. That is way more water than recommended, however, I do intermittent fasting and drink water the times I am not eating and each time I wake up. For the past four years, my eating times have been between noon and 8pm, and my body has adjusted nicely to this eating lifestyle. 

 

For other beverages, I usually drink one cup of coffee in the morning, some green tea while writing or reading, and a cup of chai tea in the afternoon. About noon, I make my green smoothie which includes the following: one small banana or half a large, one-third cucumber, 3 baby carrots, half a pineapple ring, one slice of mango, one slice of apple, and one healthy pinch of baby spinach. I also add a greens blend antioxidant powder with nutrients from food I do not eat often such as: spirulina, beets, green coffee and green tea extract, camu camu, acai berry, turmeric, and maca root.

 

My breakfast is a green smoothie, so I guess I skip lunch. Throughout the day for snacks, I will have more fresh fruit or berries, pitted dates, and a variety of mixed nuts I buy in bulk and mix myself such as: walnuts (brain food), pistachios, cashews, peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pecans, macadamia nuts. For dinner at about 7pm, I usually have some meat with vegetables and a source of carbohydrate (noodles, bread, taco shell, tortilla), and cheese, I love cheese! Although, I am leaning toward more cheese substitutes, I have not jumped on the meat substitute boat yet, but I will get there. 

 

Alcohol Habits

As for alcohol, I used to have an unhealthy drinking habit on and off for about 20 years (21-41yrs old). On my health journey the last four years (I’ll be 45 this year if you did the math), I have learned the toll alcohol has on my family, health, and lifestyle. I have not quit drinking just yet as I am learning and growing on a daily basis, on a forgiveness cleanse, and have given myself grace during this stage of my life. 

 

Nowadays, I will consume a malt beverage such as beer or hard seltzer water on occasion (one or two days a month). I have leaned away from hard liquors, and will eventually lose the desire for all alcohol as I ascend on my health journey. Alcohol has zero healthy nutrients for the body, causes bloating, disorientation, chronic health issues, and often crude drunkenness, among a handful of other concerns. I would like to say I have put that stage of drinking behind me to make amends with my family, improve my health, and have a loving lifestyle. 

 

Exercise Habits

Exercise is my least favorite habit. Now that I think about it, I listed my habits in order from most favorite to least favorite. I know movement is necessary, so I have positive triggers to help me stay motivated to move. For example, when I wake up, I like to go outside and jump up and down for a minute or two. During my five minute breaks, I put on some of my favorite dance music. In the afternoon, I make it a point to go outside for a nature walk, sometimes I drive to that location, usually a park. 

 

Music is my motivation when I exercise, it moves me without hesitation. Any dance music, from any culture, usually gets my hips moving. I also set timers throughout the day with positive affirmation reminders accompanied by a song that reminds me of that affirmation. The affirmation lifts me up, the music moves me, and the exercise is good for my body maintenance, blood flow, and energy.

 

Conclusion

These are the healthy habits I am forming to assist me on my writing journey as a developing author. I picked up these habits while on my health journey from several friends, authors, coaches, and mentors, which I will mention in upcoming blogs with book reviews, as well as conversations with health experts and naturopathic practitioners. Stay tuned as I learn how to set up my new email list this week! Thank you for reading.

 

Sending lots of love and gratitude,

Dr. Jaime Brainerd

2 Comments
  • Cheryl
    Posted at 17:55h, 05 April Reply

    I seem to be on a similar journey. I have been using a modified pomodoro for my cognitive projects, writing and reading. Due to my aphasia, I started for 10 minutes and when I have a good day, I can extend that to 20 minutes at a time. I too love putting music on to dance to. Thank you for this post.

    • Dr. Brainerd
      Posted at 01:28h, 07 April Reply

      Hi Cheryl, I appreciate you sharing your story. You just taught me another great reason to use the Pomodoro technique, thank you! I don’t know that many people who use the timer method, but I am positive they would work with all sorts of learning abilities and disabilities. Dance on!

      Sending lots of love and gratitude,
      Jaime

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