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.


Success! On to February…

Yay! Celebrating my successful completion of the 30 days of yoga with a feel good dinner of salad with a side of salmon salad (with dill pickles in it) and a kombucha.

I was able to maintain my discipline pretty well throughout the month. There really wasn’t any day that I wanted to skip it, though there were some days when it got going that I wanted to stop. But I didn’t and now I have 30 days of daily yoga (and a couple of days of doing yoga twice) in my new year. It feels good. I’m going to try to keep it up.

So, next month’s theme is Social Media Blackout February. According to Wikipedia:

Social media are computer-mediated technologies that facilitate the creation and sharing of information, ideas, career interests and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks. The variety of stand-alone and built-in social media services currently available introduces challenges of definition; however, there are some common features:

1 Social media are interactive Web 2.0 Internet-based applications.

2 User-generated content, such as text posts or comments, digital photos or videos, and data generated through all online interactions, is the lifeblood of social media.

3 Users create service-specific profiles for the website or app that are designed and maintained by the social media organization.

4 Social media facilitate the development of online social networks by connecting a user’s profile with those of other individuals or groups.”

“Some of the most popular social media websites are Baidu Tieba, Facebook (and its associated Facebook Messenger), Gab, Google+, MySpace, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, Viber, VK, WeChat, Weibo, WhatsApp, Wikia, Snapchat and YouTube.”

So, that means no Facebook, which is one of my major time sinks. Also no Twitter, which I’m not on that often any more (mainly because I got exhausted from all the snarky political posts). YouTube will be interesting, because if I want to keep doing daily Yoga with Adriene, I’ll have to use YouTube. Also, my husband and I watch educational things on YouTube like PBS Space Time and the Crash Course series.

One could argue that it depends on the intention behind it. I often find that I turn to my social media feeds automatically as some sort of mild entertainment when I’m eating or sitting on the couch with my husband while he watches videos related to his interests on YouTube. I’m also using it to see what my friends and family are up to, to give birthday wishes (because who doesn’t like seeing their notification numbers blow up on their birthday?), and to follow my science and deep thoughts feeds (and the memes feeds). It’s become… habitual, which is what made it a prime target for my theme-of-the-month goal. I estimate that I could reclaim a good 2 hours of prime brain time per day. What will I do with all that extra time? Probably complain less about having no time. ;)

But what do I really want out of it? To break a habit. To not dilute my attention day to day. To reclaim that time for something more meaningful and productive for myself, whether that’s more sketching, reading, writing, painting or spending more time connecting with my loved ones.

As an introvert, using social media for social ends does save me a lot of energy, but it also takes energy and it keeps a constant stream of “stuff” going into my brain. I’d like this to kind of be a detox for my brain, energy, and spirit.

So I’ll be putting a note up on Facebook tonight and deleting it off of my phone (by far the main place I do any of my social mediaing anymore).


Also in my last post, I mentioned making decisions about going back to full time. I kind of sat with the idea that I’d be going back full time for a few days, and then I switched my mindset to the idea that I’d be sticking with 80%. I was relieved by the idea that I’d be keeping my day to myself. So I said to my boss that I wanted to stick with it and she was supportive. I like that day too much. Let’s see what I can do with it. :)