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?

Monthly Review: June

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

1. What went well this month?

Honestly, I can’t think of much. It was a hard month that felt off the rails.

2. What didn’t go so well this month?

  • Routine. For a variety of life reasons, it just felt like every structure in my life fell apart. Rhino and I were out of town for consecutive weekends, I had a week-long business trip where I could never leave the hotel, my workout friend and I had ZERO weekends we could both make, and my office was closed for a problem in the building so I was working from home everyday. And, there was an insane heatwave (reaching into the 100s every day) so even my usual long walks were difficult. I came out of the month just feeling so ungrounded and so unhappy.
  • Meditation. Because of strange timing, I had two weekend meditation retreats this weekend. And I haven’t meditated since. I feel totally burned out on the experience and like I never want to meditate again.

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

  • Mindfulness. Terribly. I never want to meditate again, though I have been fine with more general mindfulness.
  • Summer fun. I had a hard time enjoying myself just because everything was so busy and I couldn’t find any structure in the enjoyment. Without any disciplined time (working out, walking, eating well, productive work, etc.) it was hard to enjoy downtime.
  • Being accepting of where I am. This is fine. I have been self-compassion but I don’t know that self-compassion is what I need as much as structure and discipline.

4. What am I working toward?

  • Better structure and routine. I just really need this. I want to create a daily schedule for myself everyday that creates space for working out, the meals I will eat, my work hours, etc. I especially want this for working out because skipping the gym for me is a spiral that leads to doom. This is it. The sole goal for July.

Monthly Review: May

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

1. What went well this month?

  • Relaxation. We had 9 days off work and that was such a joy. We stayed pretty local but it felt so nice to have a real respite and spend a lot of time doing whatever we wanted. We swam in the ocean, took day trips, walked many miles each day, ate a lot of ice cream. It was just delicious all around, and we were also able to see a lot of family and friends.

2. What didn’t go so well this month?

  • Mental obsession. As my two blog readers know, I have had high anxiety over fertility. For some reason, though I can take most things as they come, I started to get overwhelmed with this fear that it would never happen. It was really, really hard to let these thoughts go.

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

  • New office routines. This went terribly. I hate hate hate my new office which is basically like working inside an HVAC machine. I have had real difficulty getting any work done in my office because of the noise, the lack of good lighting, and a non-working phone line for much of the month.
  • Self-compassion. I had forgotten this was a goal, but have been doing a lot of work offering compassion to myself. This has become almost an automatic behavior which is nice. I’m also much better at offering compassion to others.

4. What am I working toward?

  • Mindfulness. I have two meditation retreats coming up. One is silent (starting tonight!) running Friday-Sunday. It will be my first formal, silent retreat. The second will be more of a fun weekend retreat with my meditation friends at a cabin upstate. I’m looking forward to both, especially because both are phone free. And, I rarely take weekends out of NYC that aren’t to visit family, so that might be nice as well.
  • Summer fun. Everyone who lives in NYC knows the summer vibes are great. Our summer plans are pretty full until July 4th and then we decided we wouldn’t make any more plans so we maximize fun each weekend. Our weekend plans for the next month include a Vermont wedding, two meditation retreats (one silent, one with friends), and July 4th in CT.
  • Being accepting of where I am. This is linked to self-compassion, but I want to continue to be gentle with myself and aware of how I am doing and what I need. The concept of nurturing comes to mind — just treating myself with a loving friendliness.

Monthly Review: April

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

1. What went well this month?

  • Relaxation. I really enjoyed having time off this month from formal, standing, and scheduled activities. It was a real pleasure to be home most nights and get to choose an activity to do — whether that was social or not.
  • Morning pages. I re-started these in April and they have been a great way to kick-start my day and add in some brainstorming and reflection.

2. What didn’t go so well this month?

  • Over-training. I pushed really hard at the gym and it caused like five days of physical and emotional exhaustion. It wasn’t really worth it.
  • Obsessing over fertility. Anxieties about fertility were in the back (or often front) of my mind probably at least once an hour this month. Just a constant cycling. I know I am prone to getting really obsessive over health-related things and research and find all sorts of home remedies to “problems” until I am taking like 10 different pills a day.

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

  • Nothing really. I had wanted to take a month off from productive goals. I mostly did that. Mid-April, I really over-trained myself at the gym and had a full week where I basically just sat around, ate what I wanted, and watched TV. That was nourishing for me at the time and I naturally entered a phase with a little more drive.

4. What am I working toward?

  • New office routines. My company of 8 years is changing offices. This is really bittersweet for me and I frankly have some anxiety around what the new space will look like. At the same time, it is a terrific new start to some of the routines I want to put in place like…
    • Limiting the times of day when I can use the internet for fun/personal browning/news reading/etc.
    • Having a list of focus activities for myself I can work on if work is slow (e.g. taking courses, learning Japanese, etc.)
    • Being a little healthier — maybe taking two walking breaks a day instead of one long one, standing more, eating in the kitchen instead of just at my desk.
  • Self-compassion. The more I emphasize this, the better my quality of life is. Acknowledging what my mood is, accepting that, and then seeing what care I need from myself or from others, goes a long way towards helping my life not be totally dominated by my emotional state.