Friday, January 31, 2020

One Month In - How Am I Doing?

You may recall that I set some pretty ambitious (for me) goals at the beginning of the year.  So how is it going one month in?

The Good:
"meditating every day"  I have done this!  I was pretty well established with my weekday morning practice, so my main challenge here was finding a way to meditate on the weekends.  Initially, I thought that I would meditate first thing in the morning like I do on weekdays, but this literally never happened.  Turns out, I really enjoy sleeping in and getting a lazy slow start to weekend days, and there is no part of me that wants to start the day on a meditation cushion.  So I have been doing it before I go to bed on weekends, and it has gone perfectly so far.

"I mostly just want to keep working and hoarding money for the future" I had nine days of very busy call this month, so I have done a lot of hoarding of money.  It's lovely for the net worth, but I would honestly like to do a little less earning and a little more resting.

"I want to keep building on the friendships I have."  I've also been doing this!  Even though it's been a busy month, I've made time to go with friends to see our local queer choir, to visit my godson and his family, to go for dinner with my brother, and to go out for dinner and a play with my mom and her partner.  (I think there has been more?  It's a bit of a blur.)  For an introvert who has been busy with work, it has been about the maximum amount I can expect of myself.

The Not As Good:
"I would like to work on keeping up with everything."  This has been very mixed.  One of my proposed ways of achieving this was "just doing the shit now", and I have definitely incorporated this approach into my life, to good effect.  I am constantly trying to spend a few extra minutes to do all the nagging little tasks as they come up, and as a result I'm getting a lot more done without it feeling overwhelming or like a giant burden.  And I'm worrying less about missing things.  Perfect example - I got an application for reimbursement of a work expense, which isn't due until April.  My initial instinct was to put it in my to do pile (I had three months to do it, after all), but instead I took the five minutes required to fill it out, put it in the return envelope, and put it in the mailbox.  And now it's done, and I don't have to worry about missing the deadline for getting money back.

The biggest challenge has simply been that work has been really busy.  In addition to nine busy (and really emotionally exhausting) days of call, I had a week of teaching, and I've taken on a new volunteer position with a national organization (You know.  Because that helps with burnout.)  I've worked at least part of one weekend day every week since the beginning of the year, and still things are slowly starting to build up.  It's frustrating.

And as for my "go to work earlier and stay later" approach?

Ha.
Ha.
Ha.

When I was writing my original post, I had the (utterly ridiculous, I don't know where it came from) idea in my head that I sometimes go to work late or leave early because I'm lazy.  This past month has reminded me that it's actually because I'm tired.  I have a limited number of productive work hours in me every day, and once they are finished, there is no value in me sitting in front of a computer trying to work.  I need a mental break.  So those days when I leave early are usually because I'm mentally shutting down and ready for the day to be over.  And the days when I arrive late are usually because I've been suffering from insomnia and have allowed myself an extra hour to catch up on some sleep.

This has been an important reminder to not be too hard on myself and to extend myself a bit of grace.  I am human, and I can only do so much.  It's also a really important reminder to set boundaries and to not apologize for doing so.  At the moment, I'm having to set some boundaries on fun things in my personal life, but I'm hoping as the year goes on and my call schedule settles down a bit that the boundaries will be more towards work.  I've also firmly decided that I'm going to give up a volunteer commitment at the end of the year (I reeeeealy should've given it up at the beginning of the year, but I got talked into agreeing to another year), which will free up one precious evening every month.

The Total Nope:
"I'm aiming for a regular practice of four yoga classes per week"  At best so far I've made it to three classes in one week.  Things have just been busy, and in some cases (call) I've had to skip yoga, and in other cases (social life) I've chosen to skip yoga.  Part of me is sad, because I really do love it and am seeing a lot of progress, but I'm also making peace with it.  I have a really full life, in mostly good ways, so it's okay that I'm not being absolutely perfect at everything.

So that's the one-month check in.  As for February?  I have three more weeks off call (yay!), during which I'm fully intending to get caught up on everything work related (plausible if I do some work on weekends), after which I have one week on, one off, and one on.  Ugh.  I'm intending to keep up with the daily meditations, as I do think they help keep me present and calm, even though my brain feels squirrely while I'm doing them.  I'm going to try to do three yoga classes a week, as I think it's more realistic than four right now.  And, perhaps mostly importantly, I'm going to keep learning from the process and being kind to myself.  I'm actually doing pretty well at things that are hard, and I deserve to be proud of myself for that.

9 comments:

  1. You're doing really well! Just be careful not to slip into any old patterns, but I think you are very aware of them.

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    1. The old patterns come back, but less than before. It's an ongoing learning process.

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  2. Sounds like a great start to the new year, friend. I'm jealous of your yoga routine. I have been fairly good about riding my bike but haven't ridden in the past couple days. Tomorrow, I start again!

    "This has been an important reminder to not be too hard on myself and to extend myself a bit of grace. I am human, and I can only do so much. It's also a really important reminder to set boundaries and to not apologize for doing so. "

    Amen! This is perpetually hard for me to do, but showing grace to ourselves is almost always the right response when we fall short. We are human. It's okay to not be perfect.

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    1. It started off really good, but the last week has sucked. I think I threw a lot of energy into January and wore myself out! I'm really thankful that I can get away with not working at all this weekend (might even go home early tomorrow).

      I absolutely love my yoga practice. I think I may actually try to do the four days a week after all....it's just so good for my mental health.

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  3. "I have a limited number of productive work hours in me every day, and once they are finished, there is no value in me sitting in front of a computer trying to work."

    THIS is the lesson that I am working on learning this year. Thank you for sharing your practices, it's nice to have company in the process.

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    1. It's such a hard one, especially when society keeps telling us to work harder and achieve more. But eventually we max out...I'm trying to learn to stop before I hit that point.

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  4. I can't believe you gave yourself a total nope for yoga!! Three days a week is still amazing and way better than zero! Also having read this blog for a bit I know getting any exercise in has been a challenge, so congrats on making it happen!

    Also a gentle thought: Is "keeping up with everything?" possible? Realistic?
    Even reading that sentence kind of stresses me out. Maybe you have something more specific in mind (which you by no means have to share on the internet) but if not would it be helpful to pick a couple of priorities that are more measurable? Maybe just me, but I've found just embracing the fact I can't stay on top of everything and prioritizing accordingly has helped more than feeling bad about all the things I haven't gotten too..

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  5. How's the yoga going this week?

    You're doing great with these goals. Super impressed at how consistent your meditation practice is. I tried it last year but fell off the wagon, and since then I've been telling myself that running = meditation. Not sure that's really true, though.

    P.S. Game tomorrow?

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  6. Sounds like you're doing a good job with your New Year's Goals. When I set goals, it takes a few weeks to figure out if they have "sticking power"; that is, was it even a sensible goal to begin with? And for that reason, many will lapse.

    As for the talk about burnout and mental exhaustion....it sounds like you work pretty hard and have a lot going on in your life, otherwise. I'm impressed that you sent that refund off so quickly, those kinds of tasks can sit around for months for me.

    It's nice that you talk about limits on your time and energy. A lot of people say (including Marie Forleo, who I heard say this most recently) "if it's important enough to you, you'll MAKE time for it." Being able to do it all is a fantasy.

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