If you haven’t been able to gather from my absence in the virtual world, life has been a bit hectic in the Wallace household. I feel like this entire month passed by with the snap of a finger and yet surprisingly for having felt completely exhausted almost the entire month, I still managed to accomplish the majority of my goals. Here are some of the highlights of my month of well-being:
- I loved reading Drop Dead Healthy by AJ Jacobs. Not only did the book make me laugh out loud on more than one occasion, but it reminded me that being healthy isn’t just how you look on the outside, but how your body functions on the inside. It also served to remind me that health is holistic. While exercising and eating right (when I’m not in cookie monster mode) is a big part of my life, I also need to give equal attention to my mental and emotional health. If anything, I got a few ideas from the book on what to include in my own health regimens and I’m excited to start incorporating them into future monthly goals.
- The inspirational bedroom transformation is not complete but is certainly coming along. Not only did the room get a complete paint re-do, but I’ve been working on some decor projects as well. I bought a bright, cheery, and super fun rug that adds a healthy dose of spunk to the room. I also started a craft project that turns wooden block letters into yarn art (sounds weird, but looks way cool). I will admit I have yet to finish this particular project particularly because my loathe of crafting gets in the way of me actually finishing it, but considering some of my goals for April I figure I can carry this process over into next month. I’m also teaming up with a painter friend of mine who does phenomenal, original work for a reasonable price. The room needs a little bit of art in it and she’s my go-to girl so this particular item will be another thing I carry into next month as well. I keep having to remind myself that evolving is about relishing in the process and not always marking things off my to-do list. But while I like this rule of thumb for my year of self-improvement, I sometimes think I use it as justification for procrastination (more on that later).
- Between all the hustle and bustle, I still managed to carve out a lot of friend time this month. In particular, I hosted a couple of girls nights, a St. Patrick’s Day themed game night dinner party. and a few Skype dinner dates with my friends who aren’t close by. I have to say the friend love (and booze) was definitely overflowing this month for which I am extremely grateful.
- Also super exciting in the name of friend love – since I started writing more hand-written notes to my friends and family, I’ve been getting letters in return. This month alone, I’ve received four letters and I LOVE getting mail.
- Meatless Mondays have been my new favorite health regimen and something I’m going to continue to do. It usually means I end up going meatless for most of the week (no wonder there are health benefits) but I love that it makes me get outside my comfort zone and experiment in the kitchen a bit. Plus, it adds content for the blog and I can’t complain about that, especially considering my lack of other substantial content lately.
So there you have it – another month bites the dust! I almost feel like I could continue well-being part deux into April, but now that Spring is finally in the air I’m getting into nesting mode, which means I need to take advantage of the organizing and purging mood I’m in. Stay tuned for April goals!
It’s been a few weeks since I’ve had the motivation or will to write. Between travel, work, and mid-terms I’ve been depleted of any energy that requires me to use my brain if I don’t have to. In fact, I can sum up how I’ve felt over these past few weeks in two words: used up.
Knowing I need to take care of myself, I’ve been doing various activities to battle the burnout. I’ve made time for friends, hosted potluck dinners, worked out, and cooked. While my mood improved, it seemed to always be temporary and fleeting. I was starting to feel helpless and wanting to avoid a downward spiral I began doing some research. I came across this article on battling burnout and found it particularly intriguing to my situation.
What I found interesting about the article is that it relates burnout to the social and personal aspects of your life rather than just focusing on work. It breaks burnout into three dimensions: exhaustion, depersonalization, and inefficacy. While I don’t really feel disconnected, exhaustion and feelings of inefficacy – or reduced personal accomplishment – are certainly present. My biggest complaint over the past couple of weeks is that my to-do list is constantly growing. It doesn’t matter how much energy I exert in mind or body, I still don’t seem to have made a dent in what needs to be done. As soon as one thing gets crossed off, two more things get added to it and so on. I find it discouraging and in the end, I am less likely to even want to tackle what’s on my plate. So what does that mean for me? Well, I’ve become kind of snarky – a negative Nancy or complaining Connie as my friend tells me. And that’s definitely not okay with me.
Considering my third class ended this past Saturday, my school load will be a bit lighter which will help immensely (note to self: NEVER, ever take three classes again). Not having a weekend in the last two months dominated by school work has meant I haven’t had a lot of me time. So I spent this past weekend catching up on sleep and doing absolutely nothing. And it didn’t really help to be honest. Until I found an interesting passage in the New York Times which made me rethink my action plan: “Don’t assume you need calming down when you really need some revving up.” While I’ve been exhausted, treating that exhaustion with sleep all weekend just contributed to my feelings of helplessness. And the more unproductive I felt, the more I got in an emotional ditch. So once again, it all seems to be a balancing act….
After a tough February and what I know will be a trying March, I wanted to focus on my overall well-being this month – both emotionally and physically. Achieving overall well-being is an ongoing process (I mean, you are constantly at the whims of life) but I do know what good well-being feels like and I don’t feel like I’m entirely there right now. Knowing that though keeps me motivated to keep at the practice – which also happens to come at the start of a new month.
As you know, each month I set out actionable goals relative to my three intentions for the New Year. Below are the specific goals I’ve outlined for March and how they relate to each over-arching desire.
Find joy and fulfillment in creativity.
- Read a new book. Every month I choose a new book to read. This month it’s Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs. I chose this particular book because it’s about the ultimate pursuit of health: a well-lived life. I found that fitting for my month of well-being and it comes highly recommended by Miss Liz.
- Transform my bedroom into an inspirational haven. I carried this particular goal over from February as I still want to put my creative energy into creating a space that reflects the things I love, desire, and want in life. I want my room to be a source of inspiration to me so I’m hoping I can carve out more time to actually work on this project this month. And if I don’t – well, I’ll carry it over to the next month!
Give more love.
- Write hand-written letters. I always enjoying getting mail and I know my friends do too. Considering I now have a pen pal and several other friends scattered across the states, I plan on sitting down and writing some old-fashioned hand-written letters. Not only does it get you back to basic communication, but hand-written notes seem more personal and heartfelt than a quick email to say hi so I’m really looking forward to writing these.
- Host a holiday brunch. I usually aim to host a potluck dinner every month, but I want to switch it up this time and host a holiday brunch. In particular, St. Patrick’s Day is coming up and I’m dying to host a breakfast gathering where everything is GREEN. Not only is it cute, but it seems fun too. And I really love breakfast food.
Live a balanced life.
- Meatless Mondays. I originally planned on doing a weekly health challenge but I really didn’t want to set myself up for failure considering everything I have going on this month. Instead, I opted to choose one aspect of the health challenge and incorporate that into my weekly health routine. Meatless Mondays sounded the most appealing not only because it means I get to try out new recipes in the kitchen but also for the many health benefits it brings. In particular, going meatless once a week can reduce your risk of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. Given my fear of cardiovascular disease and cancer, I’m game.
- Use a quiet day. While at some point I would love to try a meditation retreat, I can’t quite carve out the time this month so instead I plan on using a quiet day. Similar to my technology-free day, I’m looking forward to the solitude and quality reading/journaling time I’ll get.