We are through the first month of 2017, which as usual was a never ending slog of a month. However, like all things, January also passed and it’s time to recap January goals and plan for February…
It’s fair to say that my expectations of January were pretty low. The aim of January is to survive it with as much sanity as possible. However, given that it was January, it was a pretty good month. I went out a bit (dinner at Christina and Fred’s, cinema), I babysat the nephews in the hell that is Gambardo’s and saw Ben and Laura’s new house. I bought seeds for the allotment, did some planning for next year and got a haircut. There was wine because January is not the time to give up strong drink. There was also another bloody cold and having to wrestle myself back into a consistent workday/weekend routine. I did it and as it always does the consistency of it and the calm joy of a tidy house worked its magic and I started sleeping better. Not well, just better.
My goals were pretty basic too.
- Use Bright Light Therapy Headset every day. I was given a bright light headset for Christmas. I’ve started to use it first thing in the morning. When the alarm goes off, I put this on for the prescribed 12 minutes and then I get up. This is something I want to do every morning to see if it has an impact. I did this every morning, it didn’t make me like mornings but I did notice that I was significantly more cheerful and less grumpy, even on days when I was completely exhausted and sick. So I’ll continue with this probably until the clocks go forward.
- Get out of the house by 7:30am on workdays. I get to work by 9am every morning, but the day goes better if I get into work earlier and have some time before people come in and start asking me for things. So I’m committing to getting out of the house in time for the 7:56 train in the morning, which will get me in the office by 8:30 at the absolute latest. I aced this and was in the office early even on the days when it took an hour and a half to get to work (tube strike)
- 10pm lights out on schoolnights. This really goes with the ‘get out of the house’ goal. Christmas holidays really mucked up my sleep patterns so I need to reset them. I need to sleep train myself again. This also means no screens after 9pm and making sure that ‘bedtime’ starts before 10pm, so I’m already in bed at 10pm. I had absolutely no trouble with this at all. Go me!
- Daytime walk in the park. I want to start walking more again. I really enjoyed it in 2015 and it sort of fell by the wayside in 2016 as I didn’t feel that my foot was up to it. So this month, I’m going to commit to a lunch time walk (providing it’s not raining!). 30 minutes in Regents Park, which is just next door to the office and kills three birds with one stone; I get a walk, I get outside in the daylight, and I get out of the office. I was doing really well with this until I caught that pesky cold and I knew that if I left the office, I wouldn’t come back! So 50% successful.
- Drink two litres of water every day. I’m pretty good at this usually but I didn’t drink enough water over Christmas, so I just need to get back into the habit. 100% success rate with this one, and I felt much better for it too, didn’t stop me getting a spotty chin as PMT ramped up but you can’t win them all!
- Yoga. I need to make time for this more consistently. When I do, I feel better, but I tend to let it slide. So I’m going to commit to 4 times a week and see how it goes. I signed up for this so that should help. This was another 50% success, it didn’t seem to help with my sleeping and I need to make time but there was a night when I hoovered rather than get my mat out. Mmm, need to give that some consideration.
So that was January. Overall, I feel pretty good, these things did help me focus on the overall picture and I’m back into better routines and the flat is tidy and calm. When it came to deciding if I was really too tired to get a chore done or just couldn’t be arsed, I opted for doing it if it was going to take less than 30 minutes as a result, I hoovered, cleaned the bathroom and did the ironing on schoolnights and felt much better for it. The 30 minute rule also meant I spent more time on looking after me, stretching if I couldn’t face yoga and attending to my hands and feet which were starting to look dry and sore. So the emphasis on a couple of small things, led me to be able to tackle another couple of small things that made me feel better overall.
I have a challenging couple of months ahead, with the battle between what I want to do (read, drink gin, stay up late and allotment) and what I have to do (go to work, not spend all of my money) and other things that need doing. With that in mind, here’s are the goals for this month (and yes some of them are the same as last months!)
- Use Bright Light Therapy Headset every day. As I said this worked better than I expected and I really don’t care if its a placebo effect, it’s a good one.
- Get out of the house by 7:30am on workdays & 10pm lights out on schoolnights. This made a huge difference to my day to day experience, I’m still tired but the consistency of it is good for me and it really helps me at work. It’s also mean, that even when the trains have been playing up, I’ve been in the office before my manager which means I can get a head start on my work.
- Going for a walk at least every other day. I didn’t do so well on this in January but even on the days that I didn’t get out during the daytime, walking was good for me. So that might be getting off the train or bus a bit before my stop and going for a walk. Or walking to Paddington from the office, the smog is a concern right now but I’ll work it out!
- Stretching. I fell over on the ice last week and the next day I was really stiff and sore and had to spend a while stretching, this is something I have to do consistently if I don’t do anything else.
- Defrost the freezer and clean the oven. That stuff needs doing regularly and although I did it before Christmas, it’s time again.
- Make marmalade. I’m down to one pot of marmalade from last year, so it’s time to make some more while seville oranges are in season.
- Weed top of plot and plant new rhubarb crowns
- Sow leeks, cavolo nero and sweet peas
- Weed beds and prep for spring
- Work out what to do with the ‘rubbish’ pile now I can’t burn it!
I want to generally focus on the flat a bit in February. One of the perculiar blessings of adulthood is how much of it is about keeping on top of things. I’ve been saying for years that as I child, I thought adulthood was going to be about eating ice cream and staying up all night but actually its about keeping on top of laundry and getting enough sleep! Last year taught me that in the summer the allotment will take up a huge chunk of my energy and time so I want to spend some time trying to get into a fail safe routine for the flat that means it doesn’t descend into chaos and filth in the summer! I also want to make better use of the food I have before I buy more. I’m good at using up what’s in the fridge but I need to look in the freezer and cupboards when menu planning so I’m not over buying, which also makes the task of defrosting the freezer easier!
February is a short month so I really think that’s enough to be going on with!