Keeping this intro brief because there is a lot to go over in this post, but I decided that my blog goal for the year is to do thorough monthly recaps for every month. I’m not much of a weekend/weekly recap person, but I do really like reading and writing monthly recaps. So, on to my first one of 2017!
I started off January ready to put 2016 behind me and have a great new year. I was looking forward to the quiet that follows the whirlwind of the holidays as people get back in touch, life goes back to normal and routines can be developed. I set a handful of goals for this year that I can feel good about, and after half a year of listlessness, I was feeling ready to be productive and work toward something again.
Aaaaand then 3 days into the month I got sick. It wasn’t bad enough that I had to miss any work but it threw me out of whack for the rest of the week.
The next week it was once again Routine Interrupted, but for a good reason this time: we went to Mexico! We spent a couple days on a luxurious Playa Mujeres all-inclusive resort where our good friends got married on the beach. We partied the night away at the wedding, ate amazing food, played all day at the pool bar, and I sipped strawberry daquiris and mudslides on the beach. It was both fun and very relaxing.
After an extra day off for MLK Day, I returned to work as usual, thankful that not too much had piled up while I was gone. That Friday afternoon we had our annual staff celebration party. We went for drinks, Mexican and mini-bowling and ended up spending many hours (and PBRs) together, just talking. This was the day of Trump’s inauguration, and I felt it was very significant that I spent the rest of the day celebrating my coworkers and the important work we do.
That weekend the Packers lost the NFC Championship game in morbid fashion, which should have been my first clue that the January honeymoon days were over. Last week totally sucked. I was stressed at work to the point of crying in the bathroom one day for no real reason. The shitshow of the Trump administration has been more stressful for me personally than I imagined it would be, and I felt like I just couldn’t get away from it for a second – it was on social media, it was on the radio, it was on TV. I was distracted at work and I spent my evenings going down the rabbit hole of comments sections (just reading, don’t worry!) instead of recharging and caring for myself. Instead of using the weekend to regroup, my brain just continued to melt. I was a mess.
So I’ve been spending this week that straddles January and February staying busy – a healthy busy – while also insulating myself a bit so I can focus on self-care. I temporarily deactivated my Facebook account for the week and removed the Instagram app from my phone, and I’ve been trying to avoid news. Kevin and I even went to a real live grocery store on Sunday and I’ve been prepping and making all of my food this week – and it’s all pretty nutritious, too! I’m plugging along at reading again and I’m doing a much better job at sticking to my workout schedule. I’m still a little stressed at work because I’m just slammed with things that need to get done this month, but I think I’m managing that stress a little bit better and I’m definitely being more productive.
Oh, and I made myself a nice minimalist office this month!
And of course, these two hammed it up all month. Must be nice getting cuddle up and sleep and have no responsibilities all day…
So, in conclusion – January surprised me. This normally quiet month was busy, loud, and all over the place. There were warm beaches and frigid snow; there was relaxation and celebration and there was bleak stress; there were great weeks and terrible weeks. January was nothing if not full of life. And life, it goes on!
Goals/Resolutions Progress Report
- Grow in my minimalism practice: I created my minimal office!! Now…to make it last…
- Read 36 books in 2017: So, this is a tricky one. In order to stay on track for this goal I’m trying to read 3 books per month. I was a reading machine in January, but I actually only read one full book: Ta’Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me, a poetic and thought-provoking memoir of Coates’ experience growing up black in Baltimore and NYC, told in the form of a letter to his son after the Michael Brown shooting. I spent the first week of the month finishing a book I had started in 2016, Erik Larson’s Devil in the White City, historical nonfiction that combines the narratives of Daniel Burnham, architect of the 1893 World’s Fair and sociopathic (and disturbingly prolific) serial killer H.H. Holmes, who was killing dozens of people in his “murder castle” just outside the fairgrounds. Since I didn’t read this whole book in 2017 I can’t really count it toward my 2017 goal. I moved on from that book to Coates and then immediately started Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale, historical fiction about the different ways in which two sisters deal with – and resist – Nazi occupation of France during WWII. Unfortunately, I didn’t finish it by the end of the month, so I am going into February a little behind but hoping to catch up soon.
- Cleaning up my diet: Literally no movement on this until the last 2 days of the month, because we are just terrible at food prepping and grocery shopping. That said, I always tried to make good choices and avoid fast food amidst all that eating out! Ha.
As for running and building my mileage base, results are mixed. All of my runs are going well and feeling good. However, there were many missed (and outright skipped) runs, including a long run, and I feel like I got absolutely nowhere in establishing a routine. Maybe this is premature since I still have 5 weeks to get mileage in, but I’m getting worried that I’m going to be very undertrained for the Canyonlands Half in mid-March. It’s easy to dwell on the negatives (the holiday pounds I put on are still stubbornly clinging to my core, my paces aren’t changing much), but I’m really trying to focus on the positives (the fact that running feels good and easy and I’ve been able to add on mileage with no issue). Almost every day I have to remind myself that slow and steady wins the race: this is a six month process – and I am only in month 2. I have plenty of time to build up my mileage and get my speed back.
Improvements for February
Summarizing this month has given me some ideas for how I can improve next month. First and foremost, I need to take advantage of my wide-open schedule and work hard to get myself into a routine. I need to be better at resisting my laziness and being a little more productive. I loathe the busy work of grocery shopping and meal prepping, but it feels so good to eat nutritious homemade meals every day. It’s so hard to get motivated to work out on these cold dark winter evenings, but I feel so great when I get a run in and I need to do the work now to build a foundation for later. Laura wrote a great post the other day about inertia, how doing the hard work of building momentum now will make it easier to keep going later. I’m going to try harder this month at fighting the winter doldrums and taking care of my body. The work won’t do itself.
On a lighter note, we renewed our YMCA membership, and I want to start going to the gym in February so I can cross-train more. I think it will help alleviate my occasional boredom with running and give me a preliminary idea of how well I do on a training regimen that includes a lot of cross-training.
As for the rest of my goals, the only thing I can really prescribe is to keep up the good work!