Self-Care January

I am a person of lists. And goals. I love lists of goals. Even lists of lists of goals. So when my friend @thenewchrissy declared that she would be doing monthly challenges for 2019, I jumped on board. We share a lot of interests and values but I modified her a few of her challenges to fit my needs.

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A lot of folks start the year with Dry January. It makes sense considering the overindulgence of the holidays but I wanted to start the year off on a different foot. With only a few weeks left in my maternity leave, I wanted to focus on just enjoying it and relaxing as much as possible before it was back to the grind. Thus Self-Care January.

Self-care on maternity leave (especially at the end of one without pay) is not spa days or days alone in self-reflection or girls weekends. It is a 30 minute bath at the end of the day with a magazine. It is going to the grocery store alone and walking the aisles very slowly. It is choosing not to fold the laundry and painting my toenails instead. It is getting outside everyday.

Having a reminder that I needed to make time for myself was really helpful as I faced going back to work. The prospect of going back to work has, in my experience, been worse than the actual return but it’s still painful.

It’s hard to be present even in the parts of my job that I enjoy (which is the majority to be fair) when I’m aware of all the things I’m missing at home. Is he smiling right now? Is he cooing? Is he thinking about rolling over? (Yes, yes and not yet.) I race home to divide my time between two amazing, demanding children. One who wants cuddles and to be nursed. Another who wants to read books or tell me things like “I ride in Dada’s truck” (it’s not fascinating but it’s still cute). On my first week back of work, Haines was sent home from daycare with a fever and I was ecstatic to spend the following day with him. With Austin safely tucked away at my mom’s, we watched a movie, took walks and played hard. I loved it.

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Still at the end of the day, I was ready for a moment of me. I went to bed at 8. Best self-care decision ever.

February’s challenge is Snail Mail which I’m really looking forward to. I used to be an excellent pen pal but now I’m incredibly inconsistent. This month is going to be an opportunity to get back into one of my favorite activities.

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Live with Focus

There are a million things I’d like to accomplish this year. I’d like to get outside more, save all my money, make all my food from scratch, establish a thriving garden, excell at my job, concentrate on making my time at home quality time with my family, write more often, put myself out of my comfort zone, go hiking, get back in shape, travel to new places and so on. But let’s get real. A year may seem like a long time but days and weeks pass by in the blink of an eye. The year that we have a brand new baby is not the year for lofty goals. It is not the year I’ll hike the Applachian Trail or start making my own pasta. It’s a year to soak in this time with baby Haines and survive our lack of sleep.

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But how do I stop making pies?!

 

Regardless I am the time of person who creates goals. I need focus and plans to guide me. This is most likely a fault that speaks to me being a control freak but…one thing at a time. This year we spent New Year’s Eve in the hospital so it was not a time for a resolutions (although how about no more trips to the hospital in 2017?!). My time at home on maternity leave was a foggy blur of sleeplessness and long walks. I’m back at work and back in a routine and starting to find a tiny sense of focus.

I really just want to use my time wisely and purposely. I don’t mean that I won’t watch TV or check my Instagram feed (FYI- taking Facebook off my phone was a great choice) but I don’t want to let myself get lost in it. I’m going to make my lunch for work at night so I can enjoy my baby cuddles in the morning without stressing. I’m going to go out with friends or go off by myself so that I can come back and better appreciate and be more present in my time with my family.

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This guy is pretty hard to resist.

 

To keep my focus I’ve determined 4 activities/goals.

Me: Be Patient

It starts with me. I want to have more patience with myself and others. I don’t need to accomplish everything today. Like many women, I put an unreasonable amount of pressure on myself to excel and worse, be perfect. It’s past time to get rid of that inclination. Time to slow down, communicate more often and more kindly.

Community: Get Involved

Contributing to  my community has always been important to me but often it gets pushed to the back burner. I need to move this up the priority list. It’s a value that I want to impart onto Haines and there’s only one way to do that.

Finance: Reduce Debt, Reduce Stress

It’s well known in my family that I put a large focus on financial security (some might say too much…) and I’ve let it cause my unnecessary stress in the past. While I don’t want to do that I do want to get to the point where we are making more strategic decisions when it comes to our finances and reducing our debt.

Travel:

This isn’t a deep and life-changing goal but getting outside my immediate surroundings has always proved to be key for my sanity. The one thing I’ve wanted to do since returning to North Carolina was visit the mountains in the fall. So far two falls have passed and we haven’t made it. This is the year! Fall leaves, I won’t miss you this time! It’s also a part of my home state that Haines won’t get as much exposure to in our beach town and I want him to see all the beauty of our state.

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Winter in Wilmington, NC

I’m Back!!

It’s almost a month since I last posted anything. I thought about blogging alot but I’m sure you can understand when I say, weddings come first. Especially when it’s your own. The event pretty much took over… everything. I’m planning on blogging about it when I get a little more distance from it. But in the meantime the first 15 days of marriage are going great!

To get myself back in the mode of blogging regularly I’ve accepted Yepindeed’s November blogging challenge. So expect to hear a lot from me this month! Obviously November started yesterday so I’m already a little behind. Yesterday’s topic was my November goals:

1. Finish wedding thank you notes.

2. Create an acceptable level of chaos in the apartment. 500 square foot apartment + 2 people + no closets + wedding gifts = a lot everywhere all the time.

3. Start job hunting. I’ve already started training my replacement at work (Kat 2.0) so it’s time for me to start putting my feelers out. The husband (upgraded from Alaskan boy) has already started his hunt. Scary!!

4. Successfully complete this November blogging challenge.

The last eight months of being engaged have been pretty hectic so I don’t want any more goals than that. I’d also like to start cooking more but I’m not prepared to make that a goal.

Let the blogging begin!

Bring it 2013!

It’s been a little while since I last wrote. Let’s be honest, it’s been quite a while. I’ve been avoiding you. I could blame it on the holidays (went great, thanks for asking), the boy, apartment hunting (finally ended today) or my oh-so-hectic social life (LIE!) but the truth is I’ve felt like I have nothing worth saying.You know that moment when you put pen to paper or you rest your fingers on the keys and you think,“Nope. Nothing there. I have nothing to say.”
PULL IT TOGETHER, SELF! It’s blogging. People bullshit through blogs all day. I’ll do my best.
Let me tell you about 2012 and all I accomplished.
1. None of 2012 goals which were:
a. Develop 5 creative writing pieces and submit them to magazines
b. Take Spanish classes
c. Take business classes –learn to make a business plan
2. Changed jobs at the same company twice:
a. Research Project Administrator-a role I didn’t really enjoy but love, love, loved the team I worked on.
b. Human Resources Coordinator- a role I really like although I wish I was learning more. One thing at a time! It’s lonely only working with my manager but I really like her so I think it’s for the best.
3. Moved to this awesome apartment with a view of the Austin capital. It’s older, big and beautiful. And I’ll be moving again at the end of the month. My roommate’s getting married. Married people, you’re ruining my life.
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I hate moving. Shoot me now. Anyone want to buy a couch?
4. I rode in the MS150 which is a bike ride from Houston to Austin to raise money for MS. I’m doing it again in 2013. Unfortunate side effects of this ride:
a. I got in way better shape than I have ever been in thus raising the bar for me.
b. I then stopped exercising after the MS150 and gained all the weight back plus some.
c. I now have to do it all over again. All I can think about is how cold it is (Texas cold = 50F) so I don’t want to exercise. But riding 166 miles is hard and I should really buck up and get on a bike. Like right now. I want to be like this:
This could be me.

This could be me.

Because I was entirely unable to accomplish a single goal for 2012, I feel it would be ridiculous to set any 2013 goals. So come on 2013! I have no focus or purpose- bring me whatever you got!

Dream Big, Dream Hard, Dream Long

I had a customer one night at the bar who told me how as a young man he had dreamed of getting a VW van and driving across the world. And so that’s what he did. For two years he left everything and just picked up, flew to Europe, got a van and started driving. It was his dream and completing it left him open and free to explore new possibilities. He asked me what I was doing to work on accomplishing my dream. What was my dream?

Great question.. what is my dream? This is a monumental and defining question. And surprisingly, it’s one I find most people can answer very easily. One friend wants to be an adventure guide. Another wants his own ranch with horses. Another wants to be a great musician.

But I, somehow, am left from this vast array of individuals with dreams and goals. While I was once an incredibly passionate individual full of ideals for politics, literature, art and film; I am now left tediously considering every opinion, every action, every thought. I don’t know where my passion lies except in humanity, travel, great books and movies. And where does that lead me? Where should I go from here?

Welcome 2011!

It’s a brand new year ladies and gentlemen! (Ha!, like there’s multiple reading this blog.)

I rang in the new year at a party with friends and strangers alike. Keeping with my new year’s tradition (this is not my choice, simply my bad luck) of not kissing at midnight I cheers-ed my neighbors with champagne in plastic cups and felt the promise of new possibilities that 2011 could bring.

Just kidding. At midnight obviously I was drunk and headed outside to get a cigarette even though I quit smoking a couple years ago. But let’s be honest, who brings in the new year with good habits? It’s the holidays. Your family stressed you out. You ate way too much. You didn’t exercise once. And your liver is screaming, “You’re going to regret this tomorrow!!” Ssshh liver. It’s New Year’s Eve. Who cares!?

Fast forward to January 2nd. Hangover is over. Sleep deprivation is dealt with. The replaying and reenacting of all bad choices and party’s hilarious events is pretty much played out. Time to get serious.

Time to go the gym, spend more time outside, quit smoking, rid your house of junk food, and remember to call your mother. Or whatever it is you’ve “resolved” to do this year.

I personally hate New Years Resolutions the way I hate diets. It’s all done insincerely, without much determination and certainly without the dedication to see those resolutions past a couple weeks. Don’t diet, change your lifestyle. Don’t just write a resolution, mean it, want it, want to change your life. Reinvent yourself.

But alas, as happens with most fads, I end up participating in some way. And certainly the start of a new year is as good time as any to reconsider the way I live my life and question the path I’m on. What can I do to to improve my life, better my perspective, make my life more meaningful?

So here am I again, going with the grain, being a sheep and all that and writing myself not resolutions but goals.

Goals for 2011:

Write: I should be blogging or writing in some form at least 5 days a week. If I want to really get better than this is the only way.

Explore: Pick something about Austin each week to explore. This is obviously also part of the whole blogging thing but some things need to be reinforced or reminded.

Put Myself Out There: Accept invitations. Invite new friends to dinner. Find somewhere to volunteer. Join a book club. Talk to people at yoga. Keep in touch with old and new friends.

Exercise: Find more ways to be outdoor. Do more yoga. Push the limits. Bike more.

Find a gosh darn job.

What are your goals for 2011?