Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Think before (155.4)

I don't like New Year's resolutions.  I really hate January and February--it's when my SAD is at its worst and I'm just ready for Spring by the time the holidays are over.  So this time of year is not when I feel spunky or motivated.  I do well just to survive until the sun and warmth return.

I have not felt great the past two weeks--not horrible, but I've had days when the moving-through-mud feelings have reappeared.  I think it has a lot to do with not being at work in front of my SAD light for 5 days in a row, when we were off for Christmas (it's bulky and fragile, and I didn't want to bring it home, but now I think that was a mistake which I won't repeat next year). 

I didn't run enough in December, either.  Running makes me feel better and think more positively.  When I only run once a week or not at all, which is what happened for 3 out of 4 weeks in December, I miss out on endorphins and the mental health benefits of exercise.  It's a chicken/egg thing--I feel sluggish, so I don't run, which makes me feel more sluggish.  A body at rest... a body in motion.

While I don't do resolutions, I still think about how 2013 can be different from last year. 

A few weeks ago I was struck by the idea of "think before."  I tend to have no filter when I speak, which can often be a bad thing.  I also tend to act impulsively at times (or, act not at all when I'm moving through mud). 

And because I often feel insecure about who I am, I tend to make my opinions known to others so I look more important or more accomplished or like an expert.

I've gotten a little better about this because of my therapy sessions last year.  I stopped trying to fix my mom and sister and stopped giving parenting advice to my friend Debra.  Keeping my mouth shut has helped my relationships and helped my state of mind.  I don't feel like it's my responsibility to fix anyone else's problems, and I hope that they feel like they can talk to me without me beating them up in the process.

But I still talk too much and too quickly and too judgementally, especially when it comes to my husband and my kids.  And myself. 

So I'm working on asking questions more, taking a breath before I answer.  Looking for the question behind the question. 

This is really hard.  And I have so much work to do to get there. 

I also don't think of other people enough.  I get so wrapped up in my needs and my problems, that I don't put myself in the other person's shoes.  I need to be more empathetic, especially (again) with my kids and husband. 

Think Before also applies to everything I put in my mouth.  Everything I buy.  Everything I read or watch on TV.  I am on autopilot much of my life, and I default to the easy choice.  Which, I suppose, is natural and part of how we've evolved to be able to deal with all that life throws at us.

But I'd like to live more deliberately and not be swept along under the influence of (bad) habits.

This is also very hard. 

I am lazy.  I like to sleep late, and I like to stay up late and read or watch TV to escape the day.  Finding the energy to be proactive and productive beyond the daily necessities of taking care of a family and working a semi-full time job can be a monumental effort.

The first step to change is thinking about it.  So I'm thinking and writing about it.  And hoping these ideas will manifest themselves through small, deliberate changes. 

I only lost 2 pounds in the past 30 days.  Now, I realize that I am WAY ahead of the game as compared to the average American who gains weight in December.  So I'm not complaining.  I know why my weight loss declined (I have been losing 4-5 pounds a month since starting OA--total of 20 pounds so far).  I had a Starbucks latte 4 or 5 times a week (an extra 350 calories each, while that's not a lot of extra calories, it is clearly enough to stop/slow weight loss).  I didn't eat enough home cooked meals.  I ate out a lot.  I ate dinner too late many nights.  I only ran five times.  I didn't get enough sleep and stayed up too late most nights of Christmas break. 

These are behaviors that will (mostly) naturally resolve themselves this month. 

I do have to consciously limit the number of times I go to Starbucks.  It has become a bad habit, an expensive habit; I went through this last year, and I know I can stop myself.  I just have to recognize it and limit myself.  The plan is to put $20 in an envelope for my monthly Starbucks allowance.  Just have to stick to it.

Training for the half marathon at the end of February increases now, and I can't do long runs well on weekends if I'm not running during the week.  So I have to run regularly if I want to succeed at the level I am shooting for.

Eating out at restaurants will slow down.  I have to be more deliberate about meal prep at home, too.  This is simple stuff, but once I'm out of the habit it takes effort to get back into it. 

I also haven't been doing my OA work, which I will begin again as part of deliberate changes to improve living my life with intention.

Even resolution-hating me acknowledges that it's a time to reflect and seek improvements in my life.


Jill said...

I think having a general theme for the new year is just as good as having resolutions, and I love your "Think Before" theme. A lot of the things you mentioned could have come straight from my head. I also feel like I need to get out of my own head sometimes and think more about the people around me, especially my family. The tricky part is finding the right balance between meeting my own needs while meeting their needs also. I want to focus on others, but I don't want to lose focus on myself in the process. None of it is easy, but I think it's a worthwhile chase. :)

Vickie said...

Light. Are you allowed to let yourself in work when it is closed? And can you get on the Internet at work? Because if the light is fragile, I wonder if you can go in for a couple hours on off days. You could do (home) paperwork like correspondence or bills. Or could read books or Internet. If you picked the right time so it didn't impact family or while you are waiting for kids, could work for you.

I have always admired people who truly think before they speak. This is an area where I really struggle especially when it is a situation (and it almost always is) that is anxiety related topic (for me). I have people (like one aunt) who set off my anxiety just by being in the same room with me. So I guess I am suggesting that when you find you do this, there might be specific reason behind the act. I also think it is probably habit too. Will be interested in reading as you work thru this.