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.

Morning Pages

Have you ever done morning pages? A few summers ago, I worked my way through The Artist’s Way (a terrific book, by the way). I honestly can’t remember that much of what I learned, but one thing really stuck with me: morning pages.

Morning pages are meant to be written first thing in the morning, before your brain has gotten overwhelmed by the world and is overly analytical. They are three pages, stream of consciousness. You are not allowed to edit and you are not allowed to read back.

The point is to push your mind into a space it might not enter naturally. For me, the first 300 words come very easily. I write about where I am, my mood at that moment. But then there is always a period of push…what else is on my mind? What’s really going on? That’s where the morning pages provide a lot of their value. By pushing to three pages, you start to understand patterns of your mind. Are there things that come up again and again as parts of your life that you are unhappy with? Are there dreams and desires you mention frequently?

I have done morning pages on and off now for a number of years, and I always find the periods when I do them are some of my best, because I feel very aware of my state, myself, my desires.