Starting this year, I’m going to do something a little different. Along with moving these updates from weekly to monthly, I’m also going to remove any judgement. No more wins, womps, or wobbles. Instead, I’m going to look for lessons. Because I’m coming to believe that labeling every experience as a “win” or a “failure” defeats the purpose of growth and improvement.
I started out the month going strong. It was the New Year. It was time to start training in earnest for that brown belt.
The last several weeks have seen me doing the bare minimum activity-wise. I would start the week, as ever, with good intentions. Then, get bogged down in busyness. Exhaustion played a part as well. Whether it was left over from December’s hustle and bustle, or simply a result of short days and ridiculously cold temperatures, doing anything but huddling under a blanket and shivering seemed impossible.
I had a forced couple of days off this past week, mainly due to a storm that dumped two feet of snow on us. I spent Monday doing absolutely nothing. I spent the day lounging in bed and reading JD Robb. I turned off the WiFi connection on my phone and unplugged for a few hours. I honestly think that did more for me than anything else.
Now that we’re coming to the end of the month, I’m finally feeling like I can start ramping things back up again. I think my body just needed some recovery time. It didn’t need to be pushed; it needed to rest.
LESSON TO LEARN: Listen to your body. It is telling you what it needs. Yes, exercise and movement are good for you, but so is rest and relaxation. If your body is telling you to slow down, listen. It will be the difference between a day or two on the couch, and a month in bed because you’re sick or injured.
I started out the month with a cleanse. I was calling it a sugar cleanse, but really it was more of a bread-and-junk cleanse. My food consisted of proteins, healthy fats, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains (rice, quinoa, bulgur, etc). Any processed items had to have a maximum of 5g of sugar, and 10g fat.
I was doing pretty well until this past weekend’s storm. When faced with at least two days of being stuck inside and -20F temps outside, I wanted comfort food, damn it. Not rabbit food. So breads, mac n’ cheese, and all manner of carby goodness went back on the menu.
I’m finding it difficult to come back around to the “cleanse,” but I am managing it in small doses. Salads and smoothies are back on the menu. Unfortunately, so are tater tots, but that’s a short-lived indulgence. It’s called balance.
Late last month I got my bloodwork results back from the insurance company’s lab. They were stellar. I actually qualified for a higher level of life insurance as a result. So . . . even though I feel like I’m struggling with things a lot of the time, I’m actually doing something right.
LESSON TO LEARN: You may feel like you’re not doing enough, that you could be doing more, or better, or be less lazy. But in reality, you’re doing just fine. So, maybe be a little kinder to yourself.
The second half of my editorial mentorship program starts up this week, and I’m excited to dive in. I took the “in-between time” to finish editing another manuscript for the course. I still need some work there, as I keep second-guessing myself and overthinking things. But I am improving, if not in practice, then in confidence. Which, as most people will tell you, is three-quarters of the battle.
I am hoping by late spring/early summer to be fully up and running, both as an editor and a writer. I want to make this dream a full-fledged reality, and I want it to come true in 2019.
LESSON TO LEARN: Keep plugging away at the things that are important to you. It may take longer and go slower than you want, but hard work goes a long way to ensuring success.
This month, I invested in a “happy lamp.” Winters are long, gray, and cold in Vermont. It can be difficult to find a happy place when you haven’t seen any significant daylight in weeks. I just started using it a few days ago, but I can already feel it working. I’ve got it set up next to my computer, so I can work while I get a dose of “sunshine.”
I’ve been very inspired by bullet journals lately. There is something about the creativity involved that speaks to me. In my twenties and thirties, I kept more traditional journals, spilling out all the mental sludge into those pages. Several years ago, I burned almost fifteen years’ worth of journals in a bonfire. Since then, I’ve been hesitant to start the process back up. Bullet journaling gives me a place to be creative while reframing challenging ideas into something more manageable.
In some bullet journals, people keep track of their mood on a daily basis. Over the course of the year it produces an interesting pixel-painting. I’ve started doing it, as I’ve been interested in seeing how my moods change over the course of a given month. It’s been interesting to note that my downswings seem like they go on forever, but they aren’t as bad as I thought.
As I mentioned in this post recently, I’ve been struggling with bringing my dreams into the real world. Dreams and goals are easy to deal with when they’re theoretical, because there is no success or failure. It’s simply a wishful thought. When you bring those dreams from theory to actual, the stakes rise. You’ve got to do something to make those dreams work in the real world. They can fail, or worse, they can succeed.
LESSON TO LEARN: Sadness happens, anxiety happens. Depression happens. Bitter, freezing, soul-sucking cold happens. Be grateful that you have access to medicine, to heat, to protection, to love, to wellness.
What is my final lesson? I think it’s this: YOU GOT THIS.
It would be my last thoughts of the post to you, as well. You, dear reader, have got this. Whatever it is that is scaring the bejeezus out of you, you got this. And maybe if we all keep saying it to each other, we’ll start to believe it.
You, my dear, beautiful soul, have got this.