So didn't quite make it to the very end of the last challenge, but given that it broke my incredibly long hiatus I'm still proud of what I did manage to do. So we're back for another, because it is summer break for me and that means way more headspace for self-care and my health.
Last challenged I wanted to work on rebuilding structure...
I had flexible goals that shifted from week to week. That seemed to work well, but it also gave me an out when things got hectic.
So I realize now I need to consider what the heck structure actually means to me now that my life has shifted again, so to me that means exploring taking some control over parts of my life that feel like they are lacking structure to support my goals. So these goals may look a little wonky, but the idea is to figure out how to take more ownership in my decisions, build up choices that help me, and to remember all the good things I am doing because it is so easy to not notice.
1) Take charge of your food.
- Take control of breakfast
- Keep your food log to the best of your ability
- One new recipe a week
I am ridiculously passive when it comes to food. I am blessed with a partner who loves cooking, does the majority of it, and also does the dishes because I'm such a disaster when it comes to handling chores. This is nothing new in my life, because I've been with my partner since 2011, but I have allowed myself to just go with it and that is incredibly unfair of me.
I constantly complain about having to watch my food intake and the need to eat healthier. My Mom was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes, and heart disease is rampant in my family tree. I have to do better. My life may literally depend on it in the not too distant future since I, unfortunately, continue aging. Yet I continue to go with the flow with what my husband cooks, which can be anywhere between tasty, healthy dishes to tasty, super unhealthy options. I am more than capable of cooking, and can do more if I want to see other options. And, you know, work on portion control because he always gives me half and I do not need as much food as he does.
He is totally on board with this, by the way. But I need to do more if I'm going to complain about our food choices. I have way more control than I think, and I need to put that into practice. With small, baby steps because I'm still easing back into challenges. Breakfast is easy during the summer because I'm not waking up at 5 and rushing to get out the door, and my partner does not typically eat breakfast. Food logging is important, but also a bit of a slippery slope for me that I have to be careful with, and c'mon, I can manage one new recipe a week, because cooking is awesome.
Week 1: Pass
2) Use your environment to develop structure
- Complete an "inspired" chore and add to to a rotation
- Keep going through boxes
Since we are currently house hunting, there isn't a whole lot of motivation to make our current living space more like a home. We never wanted to live in this apartment, but it was necessary when I changed jobs. Our old apartment, which we loved, was about an hour and a half away from my school, and while my commute was against the flow of traffic, it was exhausting to spend anywhere from 3 to 4 hours in the car. So we transferred to a sister complex much closer which was great on that front. Still, we aren't fans of this place and you can tell we're just waiting for the next step. That being said, chaotic environments are not relaxing or recharging, and since it is summer I have some time to put in the work not only to make the apartment more livable, but also to help us get ready for whenever we do make the house purchase (since we still have boxes packed from the previous move and all... )
The chore thing may be difficult to explain. Basically I am very good at ignoring a lot of mess and things that need to get done, but can typically fixate on one thing that I want to get done (all cleaning related in this case). So since I'm still getting this up on Thursday, I can share that I have been incredibly productive because I'm just doing whatever chore captures my fancy that day. After that I add it to a list and write down how often it should get done, and how often it is currently getting done. I'm hoping to learn something about my house keeping patterns and my motivation to get things done since I am getting ready to move into all sorts of behavioral modification with therapy. Wheee.
The boxes thing just has to get done, sadly. I'm going to hate it, but I'm going to hate it more when I'm moving a box to our new house that has been packed since our very first apartment in Maryland 8 years ago.
Week 1: Pass
3) Protect and reinforce your emotional/mental well being
- Keep journaling
- Continue moving forward with mental health stuff
- Practice empathy for myself
Clearly I am not shy about taking about mental health stuff. Not only is it my professional life, but I personally am dealing with a number of things where my brain can be a little wonky. A lot of my recent work has been moving beyond being angry and resentful about it and learning how to embrace it as a part of who I am, and how it doesn't cancel out all the wonderful things about me. Hell, some of the wonderful parts of me are connected to my mental health quirks, and what matters is how I function in the world with all those parts of me.
Last challenge I tried to find ways to be a little more in touch with my feelings, because I am excellent at shutting down when feelings become too complicated. Writing about it was great, even if that remains just a nice, private thing I do I want to include it in this challenge. The second point is already in the works, which is pretty cool, because advocating for what you need is really hard with anxiety. I'm gearing up to be re-evaluated so I can move forward with a more defined treatment plan (hence the behavioral modification mentioned earlier) that will hopefully help me make some more progress.
The last point is new, because my therapist may or may not have taken me to town over how hard I am on myself when I mess up. I mess up often, as humans are wont to do, and it quickly becomes a reason to not continue with my plan. Even though I logically know better that 100% isn't feasible (or healthy, depending on what is happening), my anxiety manifests in an awful inner voice of criticism and anger when I miss the mark, and it is only silenced when I give up. Thankfully I have come a long way in challenging my anxiety, and will hopefully continue to do so as I give myself the same benefit of the doubt I give other people. And, you know, tell my inner voice to solve it and just get back on the horse after falling off.
Week 1: Pass
4) Don't forget to have fun and celebrate
- Do creative things
- Share celebrations
- Continue taking risks!
Alright, last challenge I really didn't have a fun/creative goal. I am not doing to define what "do creative things" means, because the minute I make a project list I seem to develop some sort of aversion to doing it. That being said I have a ton of projects to finish, new hobbies I am working on, and I have big plans for my future craft room in my new house because what else am I going to do with the my now canceled-Disney vacation money? I kid, that's going to the house fund, but still. I sew, I cross-stitch, I want to make dice, and draw, and everything and anything. I am at my best when I am being creative, and often that anxiety stuff gets in the way of it.
As well as sharing it. I want to share the cool stuff I'm doing, because it is awesome. I'm running new tabletop RPGs for friends because we're looking to expand a bit beyond Dungeons and Dragons. Speaking of D&D, I am a member of an D&D-themed improv troupe. Right now we're streaming our shows by playing various games with one another. I was doing bar trivia. I have a weird, funky, nerdy life and I want to share that with other people because a) I get to make cool friends and b) I want to learn from other people and maybe help others who are interested.
So this goal is all about the fun stuff, which is especially important right now. Sure, things are starting to open back up again around here, but we're still in pandemic-mode and we gotta celebrate what we can.
Week 1: Pass