New year, different challenges

And I started the new year with a break from blogging and so closely managing my life. Which was good, because work is super busy right now and I think I would be way overwhelmed if I was also trying to *do* something every day. I’m feeling overwhelmed as it is.

I have been incorporating different things into my downtime and my daily habits from last year’s experiment, though, when I can. I think that the experiment broke some of the road blocks in my head about the amount of time needed to do The Things, or maybe just loosened up my approach to them. It funny because I remember spending more time working on something on-and-off in my student days. Maybe someone convinced me somewhere along the line that I didn’t have enough time to work on things in the evening.

This weekend, I’ve been painting again, which is nice. I’m working on a sunrise over the Mediterranean from December. And I’ve been having tickles of writing urges – poetry or thoughts about a couple of my existing stories. I’m thinking I’ll take my laptop into the living room in a moment and work on something (I’m currently waiting for a layer of colour to dry on my canvas so I can build on it).

I’m looking at my journaling exercise writing and trying not to lose that plan. I have to keep doing my self-care so I can continue to move forward and build toward my goal of taking a new chance and reshaping my career.

I took some exciting training last week at work that made me remember one of my potential options for career reshaping – knowledge translation. I might look into getting more involved with it, and practicing it, so that I have a solid basis. I feel like it’s one of the things I’ve been working towards without really realizing it – communicating appropriately for appropriate audiences to help people access more knowledge.

But first, I have a big project to see through, which is stretching me in uncomfortable ways, and I have another big task to do by the end of the month. I will be asking for at least day off at the beginning of March to maintain my self-care.

Just a quick update with some hope, some struggle, and a reminder that we all need to take care of ourselves. Especially this winter with the cold and the snow, which can wear on the psyche, especially in the dark months. Keep looking for the light, and incorporate some hygge to see you through. I’ll be putting on a stew this afternoon, and maybe some fresh beer bread. :) Happy Sunday!

So long, September

In a nutshell, I’d say that sugarless and sober was a success. It’s unfortunate that the rest of the month was so stressful. But I think I’ve proved to myself that the discipline isn’t what I lack.

Sober was easy. In my life, I don’t think I’ve ever really felt like I “needed” a drink (unless I’m forgetting something). When I’ve been stressed or grieving, alcohol hasn’t been my vice of choice.

Sugarless was a bit more challenging, but again, the discipline was there. Even if I was going for a coffee with a friend, I’d opt for the straight milk and coffee latte, rather than the fancy one with syrups and whatnot.

But during the power outage aftermath of the tornado, I did stop being strict about it. It was just so that I wouldn’t be avoiding perfectly edible food that otherwise would be fine, except for there being sugar as one of the ingredients.

Also, I was tired. This month was a lot. There was a lot going on, and a lot of exhaustion, stress, and then having to throw out everything in my fridge and freezer after 53 hours without power. That sort of just broke it for me. I decided that Sugarless September was done last week. And I enjoyed that Blossoming Rose tea latte.

But again, funnily enough, as I’ve come to realize at the end of most every month – the change had felt good. I will probably maintain a fairly sugar free diet, focused on fresh fruit and vegs, with good protein sources, and light on the breads and pastas.

What’s on tap for October? I had been toying with the idea of Educational October, where I’d sign up for those courses I had planned on doing (and finish the one that has been languishing for years). Except I’m still tired and there are still two weeks to go on a big deadline at work. So I think I’m going to go with Optional October.

Optional October will mean that every day, I will choose one thing to do – yoga, meditation, reading, art, journaling, gratitude exercise, heavy workout, staying off social media, sugarless, sober, and yes, even working on a course or two. This way, I’ll be able to work in some of the things I’ve learned this year about what makes me feel better, and I’ll still have a goal, it just won’t be as strict.

Pre-holiday madness

I believe Radiohead said it most succinctly, “You do it to yourself, you do, and that’s what really hurts. You do it to yourself, just you, you and no one else.”

Ugh. So in an attempt to get my lead author responsibilities out of the way before I leave on my two week vacation (more on that later), I’ve been pushing myself, working overtime, as well as trying to accomplish all the outside-of-work things. Like baking for holiday celebrations at work, or going to the gym, or socializing. All of which I said to myself, “Self,” I said, “You can totally handle this. There are more than enough hours in a day. Ha ha ha! I dare say, it will be child’s play. Perhaps you should consider adding even more things!” (Imagine that transitioning into a British accent halfway through, because I sure am).

Unfortunately, it seems that the lead author responsibilities may not get fully resolved because of more than just not having two full work days to round out this week. I’m also waiting on the organizers to inform me of a few things and they are likely just as frazzled as I am. So I am doing my part and then, that’s all I can do.

I just did a bit of self-care and declined my husband and our friend’s invitation to join them in a post-game pint. Sitting, wrapped in my favourite fuzzy blanket, on the couch is pretty much what I want to do right now. Not that socializing with them would be taxing at all. But my body is crying out for me to just take this moment to relax and stop. So I’m multitasking by blogging while I sit. Because I’m apparently terrible at relaxing.

Two more days… Two not-entirely-full-because-of-meetings work days to finish everything and then we are on our way. Then two more family Christmas dinners, a friends brunch, hopefully a big movie… Some last minute laundry, cleaning and packing… And we’re on our honeymoon!

We didn’t take a honeymoon after the non-wedding in April, and we wanted Christmas Day to be for us this year, so what could be better than to plan a getaway that was for us over Christmas?

So we’ll spend Christmas in Paris, and then fly back through Iceland to ring in the New Year with almost 24 hour darkness and a trip to the Blue Lagoon spa, hopefully under starlit daytime skies. I’m beginning to get excited about it. :)

I may have time to share our experiences, but I won’t promise because it is supposed to be Us time. :) But I’ll post photos etc when I can.

And just because I started with it, here you go.

Pretty walk

I promise I’ll do a real post soon – I’m just trying to get my yoga exam done most nights (on the last question!). Busy busy!

But I took a nice, crisp autumn walk at noon today with a couple of colleagues. Here are a few pictures.

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I believe this is a portion of the Rideau River, if my geography is correct.

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Parliament Hill on the horizon.

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A “little” bridge back to the campus we visited today for our workshop.

Breathe. *Breathe*…

Inhale.  Exhale.  Slower.  Think about it…

I’m in the final weeks leading up to my break, and I’m winding up.  Not just winding up my work so that it will be organized / more complete / easier to deal with for the person who is going to steer my workload for me during my absence, but I’m also winding myself up.

I shouldn’t.  Really.

I know I have my stuff mainly arranged – just one more call to make and some money to exchange.  Heck, I even rummaged through boxes and found my Europe plug converter kit and tossed it in my newly liberated suitcase.  Tonight, I picked up the slightly water resistant, new, zip up black fleece hoodie which will be my base layer for “jacket” type needs.  Ireland things are gathering together!  They’re organizing!

But I had to take a couple breaks today at work to just breathe, walk away and get myself a little calmed down.  There are a number of things going on right now that might be the source of this bother, not just trying to get things worked out and beautifully organized so that my replacement can basically peer into my brain and understand my files without me being there…  I’m a recovering perfectionist, and I’m scrutinizing my own files and finding faults and oversights, and that bugs the heck out of me.  Plus there have been difficulties with the files…  Anyway, that’s enough of that.

During one of those breaks, I continued the little bit of tidying / taking down my decorations in my office (my replacement will sit there and they may want a different decor).  One of the pieces of paper I took off of my wall was a reminder that was shared with me by a friend some years ago (the date stamp on it was 2008!)  It was about positive goals, and how focusing on what you really want will bring it to you, but focusing on the negative things you don’t want will also bring them to you.  It was a good reminder for me to keep looking at the positive things and moving towards those.

So tonight, I had a nice, fresh, chickpea salad wrap for dinner.  I did some chores and then put another layer of paint on a canvas I’m working on.  I listened to The Rural Alberta Advantage all evening, and now I’m updating my blog with a bit about me stressing and trying not to stress.  I just had a quick phone conversation with my boyfriend.  And I’m about to turn in.

But not before I share this with you – my boyfriend introduced me to The Rural Alberta Advantage, and I really really enjoy them.  So I am going to share them with you.

The Rural Alberta Advantage – Drain the Blood