Monthly Review: January

Here is my monthly review for January. If you want to read December’s, check it out here.

Meta-note: I am actually thinking about stopping weekly updates and monthly reviews. I’ve done them for over a year and they fit a certain sort of linear structure that I’m not sure will fit nicely into my life in the next few months. My January review is here, but definitely considering leaving some flexibility in the next few months for what forms of blogging are working for me.

1) What went well this month?

  • Enforcing boundaries. So, I often think our cultural narrative around enforcing boundaries is a bit played out, but in January I basically did not GAF re anything someone else wanted me to do. Unlike my usual self, I bailed on all sorts of plans and I…didn’t feel bad about it at all. I took the time and space and energy that I needed for myself.
  • Coffee shops. I’ve been working from home a lot but have developed a nice routine related to the coffee shop. I go to one about a twenty-minute walk from my apartment, and do some work there for a few hours, and walk home. It’s become very relaxing.
  • Working through a book I’ve been loving on how to work less. Related to the topic on my mind at the moment, I’ve been really enjoying the exercises in this book and what I’ve been learning.

2) What didn’t go well this month?

  • I sort of want to say pregnancy, but it doesn’t feel fair. Pregnancy has been hard this month for sure but it’s not not “going well.” It’s going as it should.

3) What did I work on last month and how did it go?

  • Feeling at ease around baby prep. This was eh. I don’t know that it’s really an achievable goal to feel “ready.” But I do think we are done with buying stuff, which is nice.
  • More single-tasking. This has been okay…it often goes hand-in-hand with coffee shop activity. I have been taking to turning my phone onto airplane mode when I want to do focused work which helps a lot, but definitely not something I’m excelling at.
  • Nourishment. This continues to be my guiding star, and likely will continue to be for the future.

4) What am I working towards?

  • Day-to-day and moment-to-moment presence. The next month will probably be beyond anything I can imagine. I want to give myself the space to experience it as it comes, rather than needing to understand or digest or judge what’s happening.

Monthly Review: December

Here is my monthly review for December. If you want to read November’s, check it out here.

1) What went well this month?

  • Learning a new way to relate. I set an intention this month to not argue with my family at all. They have been in a space of providing an overwhelming amount of advice that I often resisted. This month, I set an intention of relating to that in a new way — just listening to the feedback, but not really reacting or responding to it. It’s been pretty transformative.
  • A nice morning routine. I’ve developed a very nice morning routine — meditation, stretching, using my light box. It’s long but gentle and leaves me in a good state of mind for things to come.

2) What didn’t go well this month?

  • Work productivity. I’ve been so unmotivated and disinterested. Some of that is just physical, but a lot is lack of buy-in and a sense that I’m sort of just waiting to go on leave.

3) What did I work on last month and how did it go?

  • Nourishment. This went really well. I’ve structured my weekends in a very relaxing way and have worked from home every other day or so which really helps my energy level.

4) What am I working towards?

  • Feeling mentally good around baby prep. I’m in the final stretches of pregnancy and we’ve started to buy some things and put them in place — a bassinet, a carseat, some clothes, etc. I want to feel mostly finished and at ease in the next week or so instead of feeling stressed around everything I need to get done.
  • More single-tasking and less internet browsing. I set a soft intention for January 1st to be a bit more focused in the moment. I’ve been having very consistent daily meditations, but there’s a lot of noise in my head. I want to live in the present moment a bit more.
  • Nourishment. I want to keep this as an intention because it’s so helpful for me to decide which activities to partake in and how to treat my time.

Monthly Review: November

Here is my monthly review for November. If you want to read October’s, check it out here.

 

1. What went well this month?

  • Cementing a morning routine. I’ve been on a very solid 5:30 AM wake up with a very regimented but joyful morning routine. It includes meditation, stretching, using my lightbox, etc — and still getting to the train early before all the delays usually start. Then I leave work right around 5.
  • Moving forward on baby stuff. For months and months, we have put off buying or thinking about anything practical related to the baby. But this month, we took a birth class and bought all the big picture items without turning into insane consumerists and buying a lot of stuff we don’t think we’ll need.
  • Creating intimate time. Because we don’t spend anytime at all together in the morning, R and I have settled into a really nice and relaxing evening routine. The highlight always involves an in-bed cuddle and trying to feel the baby kick. It makes me pre-nostaligic for when the baby will be out.

2. What didn’t go so well this month?

  • Obligations. Despite our best intentions, it seemed like a month full of one obligation after another. I don’t know how to make this not happen, and December is shaping up to be much of the same. I’m seriously considering just refusing to make any plans at all for 2019.

3. What did I work on last month and how did it go?

  • Whatever I want.  I feel like obligations have overruled this intention. Something to definitely keep focusing on.
  • An iron-focused diet. This hasn’t been going that well…I have been taking iron supplements but don’t feel like it’s really working. I do feel like I am increasingly sluggish, so it’s probably something I should keep emphasizing.

4. What am I working toward?

  • Nourishment. With only two months of pregnancy left (!!!), I just want to spend time being true to myself and thinking only about what’s good for me, R, and the baby to come.

Monthly Review: October

Here is my monthly review for October. If you want to read September’s, check it out here.

 

1. What went well this month?

  • Engaging in my winter routines. I always have some level of seasonal affective disorder, so it’s been helpful to start using my lightbox, emphasizing salmon and sardines, and making sure I take a long walk every day. Doing this early, and without resistance, is always good for my mental health.
  • Daily meditation practice. This has been simple, but very grounding.

2. What didn’t go so well this month?

  • Work travel. I had a long work trip this month and just didn’t structure my time or my diet very well. I really struggled to maintain any sort of routine or balance, partially because it was very rainy and I dreaded leaving the hotel.
  • Weight gain. I have gained a ton of weight over the last month…it’s interesting because asides from my belly, I don’t really look bigger but it’s sort of troubling. At the same time, my diet is generally healthy and I’m still consistently working out so I’m not sure how troubled I should be about it.

3. What did I work on last month and how did it go?

  • Enjoyment and nourishment. I suppose I have been emphasising this more so but because the pace of my overall life has been slower, the pace of my nourishment has been a bit slower too. And that’s fine. Most weekends are a mix of socializing, pure leisure, and errands which has been a good balance.  
  • The sabbath. This has been going okay. I have been doing better with keeping my phone off, or at least keeping off the internet of my phone, for full weekend days, though work travel always seems to reset this practice.

4. What am I working toward?

  • Whatever I want. With only three months of pregnancy left, and thus three months without a baby, I pretty much just want to focus on doing whatever I want, whatever that is.
  • A iron-focused diet. I want to emphasize the iron in my diet and hopefully get my iron levels back to normal.

Monthly Review: September

Here is my monthly review for September. If you want to read August’s, check it out here.

 

1. What went well this month?

  • A commitment to no commitments. After feeling overwhelmed and over-scheduled, I decided to just stop making commitments. That has meant turning down most weekend plans, especially those not in walking distance, and refusing to plan anything in the future. This has been so nice for my state of mind and stress level. Instead of busy, busy weekends, I’ve been spending a lot of time at home, enjoying time by myself and with R. I feel like I’ve been able to soak up the pre-baby moments.

2. What didn’t go so well this month?

  • Food choices. I was very, very hungry for a lot of this month. Often, that left me eating all of the healthy food I brought for lunch and then filling up on junk or free snacks. I give myself some leeway here, but also it’s nice to emphasize food as a way to nourish my body.

3. What did I work on last month and how did it go?

  • At-home productivity. This has been great. R and I made a master list of pre-baby errands and have been slowly working our way through it. We’ve probably already done 60% or so of the list. Having a master plan has been great for focusing our efforts and for feeling like the list itself is tangible and can be completed. Plus, crossing off an item gives me so much satisfaction.
  • Maintaining/increasing mindfulness. This went great. I’ve just been interested in doing less, so have had a lot of time to practice this.

4. What am I working toward?

  • Enjoyment and nourishment. If I could, I would just choose to spend the rest of my pregnancy napping, eating, seeing friends, or hanging out in a hot tub. I want to continue focusing on activities that replenish me, rather than feeling like I have a lot of things I have to commit to doing.
  • The Sabbath. Recently, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of practicing the Sabbath. I’m not particularly religious but I do like something about the rigidity of it and the disconnect from the rest of the grind. I’ve been making a list of Sabbath-like activities that we could do, and one of them has been not checking any internet at all on my phone. This is something I want to keep up and see if I can develop into something more focused.

Monthly Review: August

Here is my monthly review for August. If you want to read July’s, check it out here.

1. What went well this month?

  • Re-discovering my mindfulness practice. I had been feeling very disconnected from my mindfulness practice this summer. I stopped my daily sitting and basically just stopped being mindful altogether. I couldn’t figure out if it was hormone related, heat-related, or something else. I didn’t force myself and this month got really into practice again. I started reading this amazing book, Mindful Birthing, which I love. It’s a childbirth-focused class of the eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction program R and I did and feels really right with my philosophies and mindset. There’s a whole set of working through pain practices in there that I am (kind of!) excited to try.
  • Weekends of leisure. After a busy July and with an upcoming busy September, it was so nice to have almost every weekend free this month. We went to Maine, went to the beach a lot, and had a lot of free time. I found myself enjoying it even more because I know we won’t have free weekends like this in a long time, and it was a nice way to connect with myself and with R.

2. What didn’t go so well this month?

  • Working out.  I have kept up my standard exercise routine – two days of lifting, a day or so of yoga, almost daily stretching, and walking a lot. But man, has it been hard to recover. I decided, though I have been crushing my deadlifts recently, I’m going to drop my weight down and go to higher reps in all my lifts. I can complete every workout, but the recovery time has been getting longer and longer and I’ve had more feelings of – I just don’t want to do this. So I’m going to take it a little easier and listen to my body. I started this in an open level yoga class yesterday where I opted out of just about every advanced variation. Normally I would have a lot of ego around that but I focused on being loving and mindful of where I truly was at the moment, and that was a nice practice to add-on.

3. What did I work on last month and how did it go?

  • More intentional time usage. Honestly, I’m not sure how this went. It’s not really a thing I’ve been thinking that much about. I almost see it as I’m not using my time as well/efficiently as possible because I’m…just really tired. And that’s fine, isn’t it?

4. What am I working toward?

  • At-home productivity.  I have completed 40% of my pregnancy (!!), and am starting to get a little panicked about all the things I have to do/want to do to prepare that we just haven’t moved forward on. Basically getting our apartment in order, having whatever furniture we deem necessary, having maintenance do some basic repairs, etc. I want to do a house walk through with R and just make put everything on a giant list that we can focus on.
  • Maintaining/increasing mindfulness. My daily practice has been great, and I want to continue mindfulness in other daily activities. I’ve been doing this pretty consistently on the subway instead of listening to a podcast or reading, and while walking, but want to focus on incorporating 1-2 more mindfulness practices into my life (maybe mindful eating and something else).

Monthly Review: July

Here is my monthly review for July. If you want to read June’s, check it out here.

1. What went well this month?

  • Recreating routines. My office re-opened so I started commuting to work again (which was annoying but also helped make sure I woke up early and packed lunches), I re-started my workout routine and haven’t missed a day since, and I’ve just generally had a little more structure and normality to my life. 
  • Intuitive eating. After almost instantly gaining some weight in weeks 5-8 of pregnancy, I became worried about my trajectory. This month, I ate almost exactly what I wanted but focused on the healthiest options and walking a lot and thankfully haven’t gained any more weight. Intuitive eating has always been a bit of a challenge for me, but I feel really tapped into it right now.

2. What didn’t go so well this month?

  • Yoga.  I have had this strange resistance to stretching and yoga recently. I don’t know if it is related to pregnancy but my body feels very tight and achy and I’m not doing anything to relieve it. All I really want to do is get massages or lay in a bath.  

3. What did I work on last month and how did it go?

  • Better structure and routine. This went great!

4. What am I working toward?

  • More intentional time usage. I have had large windows of time where I can’t figure out what to do and end up on my phone or just not enjoying myself. I want to be more intention here — what would be nice to do with the 2 hours between dinner and bedtime? What would be nice to do on summer friday? What would a nice weekend day look like?