Guest Contributor Donna O’Klock | Bed, Sweet Bed

I met an amazing woman the other day.

Her name is Donna O’Klock.  She is a writer, a blogger and an inspiration.

Her blog, “Sexy Past 60 – Living a Sexy Life at Any Age” is a culmination of profound thoughts about how we live, grow and thrive together.  And I just had to see if she’d write a guest spot for Rheum Warrior – her writing and philosophies simply resonated with me.

Donna says this: “My goal … is to inspire you to live healthfully and beautifully, and to think about life and aging differently.”

She had me at “inspire.”

Enjoy, my friends and fellow Warriors.

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I love my bed. I love the easy duvet and matching shams that I bought for it. I love the escape from aches and pains and stress that it affords me. Some days all I want to do is crawl right back into it, from the moment that I’ve crawled out of it!

It lures me, like the sirens lured the sailors onto the rocks…and to their deaths.  And to crawl back into bed as often as I want to would be a kind of death, a giving up, an elimination of any possibility of learning, or creating, or accomplishing anything else once I am comfortably nestled back into my bed.

Granted there are days when you’re not well and staying in bed is certainly the right thing to do. But there are times when it’s better left as a longing that will be satisfied when bedtime arrives. I’ve realized that sleeping more does not equal more energy. My tiredness won’t be satisfied, so I get up and get moving…and keep moving till bedtime. And to reinforce my determination, I make my bed every single day.

I was inspired by a post in the blog ‘Apartment Therapy’ entitled, “Make Your Bed! For Productivity, Profit and Peace.”  I’m a fan of productivity, of profit and especially of peace! The author admits that they hated making their bed, reasoning that they were only going to “get right back into it later.”  Reading an article in Charles Duhigg’s “The Power of Habit” changed their mind. According to Duhigg, making your bed every morning is correlated with better productivity.

Photo Credit: Mizone Alison

Photo Credit: Mizone Alison

How can doing something so simple, and so quick (3-5 minutes) make such a difference in your life? It seems that the act of making your bed is a way of developing a “Keystone Habit.”  Keystone habits are those feel-good tasks (like exercising and cooking good food for yourself) that can become habits, and spill over. According to Duhigg, changing or developing keystone habits “helps other habits to flourish by creating new structures, and they establish cultures where change becomes contagious.”  A keystone habit is, in essence, a catalyst for other good habits.

Karen Miller is a wife, mother, and Zen priest who has written “Hand Wash Cold” and “Momma Zen.”  She explained it this way; “The state of your bed represents the state of your head.”  I have to agree.

Gretchen Rubin, bestselling author and blogger (The Happiness Project) said, “I’ve written about the resolution to make your bed before and I’m bringing it up again. Why? To my astonishment, when I’ve asked people what has made a big difference in their happiness, many people cite the modest ‘Make Your Bed.’

Why does it boost happiness so effectively?

First: it’s a step that’s quick and easy, yet it makes a big difference. (When you don’t feel well, quick and easy is good!)  Everything looks neater and more peaceful. Outer order contributes to inner calm. (There’s that Zen idea again.)

Second: sticking to any resolution – no matter what it is – brings satisfaction. You’ve decided to make some change, and you’ve stuck to it.”

When you get up in the morning, still tired, the payoff for making your bed right away may not be obvious, but with practice it will become second nature.

Here are some tips to make making your bed a habit:

* Simplify your bedding…eliminate the extra, decorative pillows.

* Spritz with a delicious linen spray as you make the bed.

* Time yourself making your bed, just once. See?

* Treat yourself to new bedding.

* Hate folding fitted sheets? Buy two flat sheets and make your bed like hotels do.

* Add a vase of fresh flowers for yourself.

I think making our bed is a great jumping-off point for making small changes in the things we have some control over, that can lead to feeling better and happier.  Less sick, less tired, more sexy. Being greeted by a lovely, neat bedroom will be its own reward every time we see it, and a sanctuary for you whether it’s at bedtime, or on a “sick day.”

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Love this guest spot?

Make sure to visit Donna’s blog “Sexy Past 60 – Living a Sexy Life at Any Age.

Donna O'Klock - Sexy Past 60