I tend to be the type of person who does not make resolutions for the new year. They stress me out. I do, however, usually create goals plans for the coming year. It’s less stressful because it’s less “I NEED to do this” and more “I WANT” to do this.
For 2018 I have created some plans, and even a couple of goals. One of which has already been achieved. (That will be a separate blog post in the near future.) I noticed something interesting this year though.
A little history first: Late last year, I transitioned from bullet journaling to an actual planner. The Happy Planner by Me and My Big Ideas has become my planner of choice. It’s more fun and a lot less stressful for me because I don’t have to worry about creating a new spread every single week. With my planner, I can just write down what I need to and I can jazz it up with colour and stickers as much or as little as I want. It’s working beautifully for me.
And now, back to the interesting thing I noticed: Since I joined the online planner community I have seen the intriguing trend of choosing WORDS to live by in the new year. I think this is such a fun idea. You can choose your words and live by them in whatever way works best for you. I decided to jump on board with this trend. Why the heck not, right?
I have chosen three words for 2018:
2018 is the year of taking care of myself. This is the year of focusing on my personal creative endeavours, of taking care of myself both mentally and physically in every way possible, and learning to truly love and accept myself completely for who I am. I feel good about this. I think this will be a great approach to the year.
The final three months of 2017 were a bit of a whirlwind. A lot of reflection took place, some changes in priorities as well, but mainly, a very sick kitty took up a lot of my time and money.
On top of that, my mental health has been a treat to deal with this year, and the holidays kicked my ass.
But let’s take a quick look at what my 2017 was like. As always, there were many ups and downs, and several changes that took place. It was a hard year, not unlike any other though.
My low key board gaming 31st birthday party was awesome
Huxley joined the fam
I was able to attend my cousin’s wedding in Manitoba and see a lot of family we don’t get to see around here near often enough
I took my first proper vacation in almost a decade!
I met the Internet-friend who has been a solid place in my life for the past year and a bit in real life
Tobi finally reached a healthy weight
I was promoted at work
I didn’t pay down much in terms of debt
Huxley had to make 2 trips to the vet in 2 months and cost me a lot of money
My mental health took a hard tumble in the fall, though things are better now
The ups far outnumber the downs for what may very well be the first time ever. Aside from witnessing the state of politics down in the United States, I can say that it was not a bad year.
There were a few changes that took place in 2017 for me personally as well. They were more mindset shifts than anything else. The first was that I decided to sell my DSLR camera. As much as I love photography, I just couldn’t keep a piece of tech like that around making me feel guilty for not using it. Ultimately, I made the decision to sell it and focus more on writing than on photography. The second change, also a mindset shift, was regarding future plans. New rules have been put in place that make it much more difficult for someone like me to get a mortgage. I’ve decided instead to focus on enjoying life and making it easier on myself as much as possible. I still love my apartment, and I don’t think I will grow out of it any time soon, so I will be sticking around here a good while. The other major change was Huxley joining our family back in February. He has been such a joy and I love him so much. I can’t imagine home without him!
I learned a few new things about myself as well. I learned that the state of my mental health has a huge effect on my every day life including managing important things like my finances. In light of this, I have come to understand that self-care needs to be a very important part of my life. My plans for 2018 encompass this. Those plans include a strong focus on taking care of myself first and foremost – the ways I intend to do this include fostering creativity as much as possible, working on self-love, and making sure self-care is a part of my daily routine. My other more “practical” plans include paying down as much debt as I reasonably can, saving $1000 and keeping it saved, and the big one: BUYING A CAR! It will be a significant added expense, but it will pay for itself by making my life significantly easier as well. I’m almost 32, and as much as I don’t love driving, I’m ready to not have to struggle to travel around the city or make arrangements to visit friends in the next town over weeks in advance! It is something that will make a huge different in my quality of life on a daily basis. I call that worth it!
So here’s to a happy and healthy 2018 to all of my friends, family and readers.
Happy New Year! I wish you all the best in 2017. I am feeling a lot of positivity about this coming year and am looking forward to seeing what it brings. In the meantime, I bring you the last installment of my little self-care project. 100 Things I Love, has been really uplifting, and I have found that I have generally been able to keep a more positive attitude versus before. I am calling this self-care project a success!
Watching my friends’ and my sisters’ kids grow up
A freshly tidied space
Scented candles that smell like baked goods
Scarves – I hate having a cold neck!
A nice hot bath
That I can take medication to help manage my depression
Super hero movies
My antique desk
Being able to play PC games again (It’s been years.)
Organizing my clutter
Coming home after time away
Sleeping in my bed after I’ve been away for a night or two – it really feels amazing
Being able to drink tea from a travel mug!
A sense of accomplishment at the end of the work day
Writing when I can; when I feel inspired (however rare it may be)
Curling up in bed right before I fall asleep when I am good and tired
The amazing friends I have in my life
Coming up with this list
And there you have it. 100 things I love, complete.
My special style of clutter
Mmmm… Gingerbread scented!
2016 was a heck of a year. There were a lot of changes, and a lot of things that stayed the same. I started a new job, and as a result I made an amazing new friend. The new job also resulted in working at the first job I’ve ever felt appreciated and respected. She is truly wonderful. I finally started loving living alone, and that has resulted in being able to focus on things I wasn’t able to before. My best friend moved across the country. I am thankful however, that we are able to keep in touch thanks to Apple! I had a health scare with Tobi, but we weathered it and she is healthy now, aside from the continuous issues she has had to deal with for most of her life.
I have big plans for 2017 though. I plan to travel! I plan to meet people! I will be starting my house savings. I will be improving things around my apartment, a plan for which has already been set in motion. I will be taking better care of myself and my health as well. I have many goals I have set out to accomplish. I am excited for these things, and will of course be sharing what I can.
I know it’s been a little bit since I last published for this project. Family Christmases got in the way! I have a break from gatherings now, and thought I would continue on.
Welcome to Part 4 of the 100 Things I Love project. Reflecting over Christmas and being away from work made it a bit easier to come up with some additions for the list, which was pretty awesome.
Any kind of cool nerdy coffee mug
My TARDIS collection
Wiggling my toes in new warm grass
Sitting around the table chatting with the family after a big holiday dinner
Sitting on my back patio/landing reading a book in the sun
Finishing the latest project
Wayne’s snickerdoodles – Gluten Free and AMAZING
Quiet days to myself with no expectations
When plans go off without a hitch
Feeling prepared (this one is helpful for my anxiety too!)
A glass of ice-cold water
A nice, brisk walk.
Having a library card
Collecting Classics (the books, that is)
Learning to manage my money effectively
Treating myself from time to time (It’s just good self-care.)
I hope you had a great holiday! I did, for the most part. I find it a bit more difficult these days to really get into it as the majority of my family are adults or are nearing adulthood. There is less emphasis on the excitement of gift-giving, and more on just being with family. Don’t get me wrong, it’s really great. It’s one of my favourite parts of the season. It’s just hard to get pumped up and in the “holiday spirit” when that’s the case. I am back to work for the rest of this week, and then we are on to New Year’s Even this weekend. I have plans to go see some friends and spend the night playing board games and eating and drinking lots of wine. I am very much looking forward to it. I hope you have some exciting New Year’s Eve plans as well!
Welcome to part three of my self care project. These are items 41-60. This bunch was quite a bit more difficult to come up with. It seems to be more difficult as I get deeper into it. The rest of these are going to be a challenge to come up with!
Hand dyed wool
Geeky memorabilia – autographs, pop figures, art, etc.
Leaving work early
Travelling to new places
Sleeping in general
My comfy green wing chair (It’s vintage!)
Not having to cook if I don’t want to
Adult colouring books
Pen pals – the old-fashioned kind!
Receiving letters and packages in the mail
Sleepy kid/baby snuggles (while babysitting)
Tabletop game nights with friends
Video gaming with friends (World of Warcraft, Path of Exile)
Wrapping gifts for others at Christmas
My Batman coffee mug
It should also be noted that today is my blog’s anniversary! I have been active on this blog in one way or another for five years. It feels like a real achievement!
I’ve been publishing mainly regular life and personal posts and I’ve also been thinking it might be time to change things up a bit. I want to write a bit about self-care.
Self-care is the thing I never knew I needed until I started seeing my therapist in August 2014. With her help I learned that self-care is key to managing mental illness, especially anxiety and depression, as is my case. It’s also something I’m not very good at, or at least feel like I’m not very good at. Self-care can be as simple as taking a nice hot shower after an especially trying day, or curling up with a good book on a weekend afternoon. Simply put, it is taking the time to check-in with and look after yourself.
Some of the things I do for myself are take baths in the evening, read, play World of Warcraft, and have a regularly scheduled weekly movie night with a dear friend of mine. She struggles with her mental health as well, and the movie nights keep us both social even when we are having a hard time getting through the day. It also gives us both someone who is there and supportive. Basically, it helps us to both feel like we’re not alone and going through things on our own. The movie nights have gotten me through some pretty tough times.
The point of this post is something of a self-care exercise in itself – something outside of my ordinary realm of self care. I can across it on Pinterest, in a pin about practicing self care when things are especially tough, and I think it is a beautiful idea. The idea is to compile a list of 99 things you love. I’ve decided I am going to do this… with a slight modification just because of my own idiosyncrasies: 100 things I love.
I am going to create a list of 100 things I love. I wont share them all at once… It might get overwhelming, and it might take me awhile! I will probably share twenty or so at a time as I come up with them. The goal is to remind myself and maybe you as well, that there are great and beautiful things out there to keep us going. For those of us that live with mental illness in our daily lives, it is something important that we shouldn’t forget.
It’s been two months since Life Reboot Take Two was published on May 15, 2016.The first few weeks were off to a great start, especially regarding food and eating and physical activity. I made it to 10,000 steps in a day for the first time, and actually lost about five pounds! Alas, in June and early July it all fell apart. June was the busiest and most stressful month of 2016 for me, and it really had a detrimental effect. I gained back the weight I lost and then a bit more as a result. I also had some very frustrating issues with my Fitbit which now seem to be resolved. I struggled a lot with having no real consistency in my routine. I wrote the final exam for my CIP course on July 4, and took a few days to recover. This week I am ready to get things back on track. Let’s take a detailed look at how I did with each item I put on my list:
Drink less pop
I did really well with this in those initial few weeks. I only had at most a 591ml bottle once a week; usually just a can. This was in comparison to 2-3 per week or maybe even more. Unfortunately, during June it all went out the window. I turned to pop for a caffeine boost over coffee. It was less intense and I was out of coffee for most of the month anyway. It was just a bad scene all around.
Goal: Get back down to a maximum of one can of pop per week.
This item went completely the opposite way of my first item. During the first few weeks I read a few pages here and there, which was already more than I was reading previously. It seemed like as I got more stressed, the more I was inclined to read. By the end of June I had finished three books, and made a good dent in The Goldfinch as well.
Goal: Read 100 more pages of The Goldfinch by the end of July.
I tried, but didn’t write quite as much as I’d have liked. I worked at journaling a bit, but I didn’t have a whole lot of luck. Through June, I stopped writing completely aside from jotting down the odd to-do list. I picked up with the journaling a bit post-final, but not by much.
Goal: Write a minimum of half a page each day in my notebook, publish one more blog post in July.
I have not been sleeping better OR more all along. The more stressed I got the later I stayed up and the more poorly I slept.
Goal: Find a sustainable bedtime and wake up time and keep it up for one month.
Practice better self care
I really need to do a better job at this. It just isn’t happening at this point.
Goal: Take a minimum of 10 minutes each day to check in with and look after myself.
Eat better foods in more reasonable portions
I did great initially, but again, fell off the wagon once the pressure mounted. I started taking the easy ways out again – ordering take out and the like. I’m still not completely comfortable with cooking for one, and that needs to happen as well.
Goal: No more ordering in/eating out in July and no more than twice in August.
I got off to a great start with being more active and I really enjoyed it. I started with my main focus being a 10,000 step per goal. That went pretty well until around mid-June or so, when I started encountering some serious issues with the accuracy of my Fitbit. Step goals faltered then, but according to my phone I was still managing about 7000 steps each day without really trying. I even added some periodic workouts. This has continued to slow down and decrease though as it has been quite hot and not exactly ideal for walking.
Goal: Work back up to 10,000 steps a day, 2 workouts per week (yoga or otherwise).
July 11th was the first day I really focused on turning things back around. On that day alone I grocery shopped, cooked a healthy dinner, did a workout, wrote a bit in my notebook, didn’t drink any pop, and read a few pages of a new book borrowed from a coworker. I am working now to find a new balance, and hopefully one that sticks. I have been writing on a daily basis since the 11th. It is just journaling, but we all need a starting point right? This is a good sign!
I had a lot of other thoughts over this period of time that seem rather pertinent to this reboot. Firstly, that I am thankful for my coworker and super awesome need-friend Jen for being so supportive through all of the stress and whatnot throughout June. I was struggling and had it not been for her, I don’t think I’d have managed nearly as well as I did. I am going to try a new approach going forward: smaller goals that work toward the main goals of this reboot. I am hoping that smaller concrete goals will be more effective than the all-encompassing goals of the reboot as a whole. These smaller goals are what I wrote down after my recap of each large goal above. I may even come up with some small daily goals to keep me even more motivated.
On another note, this week I am one year single and on own. Some of the memories popping up on Facebook right now are hard to see. I am keeping my head up however, and doing well overall. I have my home (which I love), I also my cat (whom I love arguably more than life itself), I am doing the things I want to do and that make me happy, I am happy at my job (even if it does get stressful at times), and I am (mostly) happy with myself. I have nothing of substance to complain about!
Anyway, stay tuned for another update in the near future!
About six months or so ago, maybe more now, I was inspired by Wil Wheaton to reboot my life just as he did his. While he has been successful overall, my own reboot was dismal. I have fail pretty miserably on all but one item: using my phone more appropriately. Yay for me, I guess?
I’m feeling worse physically than I did when I set up my original version of this. This time I desperately need to start making some massive, very drastic changes in my lifestyle. It’s time to genuinely live for myself and my health and try not to let my anxiety and depression get in the way of things like I did last time. It’s funny (funny-frustrating not funny-haha) that these are things that will help me improve my overall mental health, and yet my mental illness doesn’t want me to do these things. Mental illness, especially depression is an asshole, yo. But this is my time to win, to beat this asshole for real. I want to not only feel better, I want to BE better, and happy and healthy in my body. It was a huge eye opener for me when I realized that doing laundry was a struggle for me when it wasn’t not so long ago. I really wanted to cry about it, but didn’t and I won’t. I’m fixing it instead.
As a first step in fixing how I feel, I want to try this again. Sadly though, I’ve really been beating myself up a lot over it, and the self-loathing is hanging like a massive dark cloud over the whole project. I hope that writing about this will help me work through those feelings, I know I can’t possibly be the only one struggling with this sort of things. I’m really hopefully that writing about both the struggle and my progress will help me work through the whole larger problem – working through severe lack of motivation due to depression…anxiety…illness…feeling bad physically…etc…etc…etc…
So, let’s start with a new list of things in my life that need rebooting:
Drink less pop
In my original reboot, I had “drink less pop and coffee” on the list. I was drinking far too much of both. Caffeine in the coffee was doing bad things to me, and pop is…well, pop. It’s basically a ton of sugar and is completely detrimental to what I am trying to accomplish for myself here. Looking back, I was actually very successful in cutting back on coffee. I now only drink caffeinated coffee periodically on weekends or on especially bad mornings, while I normally drink decaf coffee most of the time I choose to have a coffee. The struggle now is cutting back on drinking pop. I drink far too much of it. I am having a can or a bottle of it two to three times a week. That is far too often. My goal is to make pop more of an occasional beverage, rather than a regular one. I intend to replace it with water and/or tea. I have started buying lemon to spice up the flavour of the water, and the majority of the teas I have are decaf and/or herbal and overall very healthy. I also intend to increase my daily intake of water to approximately 2 litres ideally. Putting less sugar into my body should have a multi-faceted result: decreased anxiety, and helping jump-start weight loss. Drinking more water should help get my metabolism going as well as decrease water retention. I struggle with swelling hands and feet periodically. The whole change should be a winning one.
This one was on the list for my original reboot as well. I’ve been trying to read more for ages, even after it was apparently my original reboot was an utter failure. It has been shockingly difficult even though reading has been one of my favourite things since I first learned how to read. Over the past months, I did start paying attention to possible reasons WHY I was reading as much as I would like. I came to a surprising realization, something I didn’t expect: I spend a lot of time in front of the TV watching/catching up on TV shows. Somehow TV had become a higher priority than reading. I’ve also developed an annoying habit of starting books and then forgetting about them. I think, to be successful with this list item, I need to focus on changing these habits. I need to and will be focusing a lot less on watching television and more on trying to read a few pages here and there when I have a free few minutes. I also plan to finish the books I’ve started and forgotten before I move on to the rest of my to-read list. I have high hopes I will be more successful with this list item since I have pinpointed the major issues that were curbing my potential success in the past. Next will just be making time regularly to pick up my book/e-reader.
I have had a bit more success with this list item relatively recently, actually. From early March to early April, I actually participated in a 30-day writing challenge. Over those 30 days I wrote at least a few lines every day and it felt great. I haven’t done quite as well as that since the challenge ended, but I have found myself putting a lot more planning and passion into posts for my blog, with some of them taking days or even weeks (like this one! I’ve been working on this post for close to a month now!) to be written to my satisfaction. I guess you could say I’ve been feeling something along the lines of “inspired”, and when it comes to writing from and about life. I also think the quality of my writing has greatly improved. With this list item, I would like to start writing at least a few lines each day, as well as publish posts to my blog on a weekly basis at least. It’s a tall order for me, but I think it is something that will be easy to keep up with once I get into a routine. I’m excited to pick things up with this because it’s another thing I love.
I feel like the general consensus on this one is no one seems to get enough sleep or good quality sleep. I can definitely say I am one of those people who doesn’t get nearly enough good quality sleep. I’ve been working on that in general because sleep is super important. I’ve been trying to get to bed at a reasonable hour, and not consume any caffeine of any kind (if I do that day) after noon. I have noticed some improvement, but I feel like I still have a long way to go. I plan to try some different things to try and be successful with this list item – they include aromatherapy, and creating a bedtime routine to stick to. I am also hoping that I will be able to find a way to keep track of the quality of sleep I get. Adding these, or variations of these to my plans for better sleep will be a winning combination.
Practice better self-care
This is something I don’t do well with. I never seem to take great care of myself and it’s something that causes me a lot of problems along the way. Not practicing self-care leads to breakdowns related especially to my anxiety; it leads me to isolating myself from my friends and family when things get bad, it leads to not eating well, not sleeping well, and a boatload of other things. It’s just not pretty when I don’t practice self-care regularly. So, for this list item I will be putting more effort into self-care; doing things that are good for me, good for my body. In putting together this new collection of things to reboot in my life, I did notice an interesting overlap: all of the things I will be doing fall under the umbrella of self-care in one way or another. Adding the specific list item though, creates intention to work harder at it in the other ways that are not included in the list. I need to remember to do more things that make me feel good about myself: hair appointments are a perfect example. If I don’t love my hair, I am definitely less happy with myself. I love experimenting and trying new things with my hair, so it’s something that is important and therefore something I can’t forget to do. There are other things, but this is a very easy example. I am also going to revisit the list of self-care items I developed with my therapist, as I found it very helpful. Self-care needs to be a priority and I intend to make it happen!
Eat better foods in more reasonable portions
This exact item was on the previous list. It makes its return because I have failed this one miserably and continue to do so. Living on my own has made this one incredibly difficult because it is SO hard to find the motivation to cook for one. I’ve done tons of reading on ways to make it easier but they haven’t done a thing to motivate me. At this point, I think I have to find/develop the motivation from within. This is going to be hard. It also seems, through a bit of research (admittedly though, not a doctor diagnosis) that I may struggle with disordered eating, so this list item is two-fold: eat better by cooking more for myself, and create new healthy eating habits by overcoming this disordered eating. I don’t think this item will be easy for me at all. To help me get started though, I made myself a colourful little poster with a list of reasons why I should cook for myself at home rather than order take out. I think it is a good jumping-off point for me. The first step is to get me to stop ordering and cook for myself. I’ll admit though, this item may be one of the most difficult.
This final item was also on the previous list. It’s also another item I miserably failed at for a number of reasons. For one, I am not an athletic person. I’m much more the clumsy type. And the biggest reason: again, with the lack of motivation. I’ve done many things in many attempts to get moving more. I bought a gym membership. That was the biggest step I’ve taken toward exercising more. Turns out, I do not enjoy the gym and therefore hasn’t worked out so great so far. I am going to give it another go though, I think. Most recently though, as in within the past couple of weeks, I think I discovered the key to keep up my motivation to move. I am in a fitness group on Facebook, and not only are they very encouraging, but a large number of people in that group swear by their Fitbits. About a week ago, I decided to see what all the fuss was about. I installed the Fitbit app, which can still be used with just my phone and no device linked to it. I found it to be excellent. Through my phone it was able track basic stats like steps taken (as long as I keep my phone on my person) and distance travelled. It was really neat to see. Having these stats at my fingertips seems to be the key to keeping me motivated. I also participated in my first couple of challenges. I was in a challenge last Thursday with seven other people, and WOW, all I wanted to do was move! It felt fantastic. With the success of it using my phone only, this weekend I went out and bought an actual Fitbit device. I mulled over which model to get for several days and finally settled on the Fitbit Alta. I’ve been using it since Saturday afternoon and I LOVE IT. In the short time since I’ve been using Fitbit I have already increased my average number of steps per day from 4000 to 5000. I have a long way to go to the doctor-recommended 10,000 steps per day, and I also need to start exercising and sweating much more frequently. The cool thing is Fitbit can track that too. Awesome! It seems that I have found the key to getting me to move more, and that is so important right now. It’s a great start to exercising more.
And so, there we have it: a new and improved life reboot list. I am going to keep track properly this time because I want to make real progress. I want to be happier and healthier, and it has become such an important thing for me. I’m 30 now, and if I don’t take control of things nothing is going to get better. I will continue to feel terrible, I will gain weight, my health will deteriorate… I don’t want any of these things to happen. My goal is to be the happiest and healthiest I have ever been and to develop new healthy habits to keep it going. Being successful in this, I will also be in a much better mental and emotional state than I have ever been and that is definitely something to look forward to. Here’s to my second stab at a life reboot!