For the reasons why I decided to put myself through a happiness boot camp, see here. For the first three spheres in my boot camp, Parenthood, Marriage, and Work, see here, here, and here.
I knew from the outset that SELF would be one of my spheres. I am not good at taking time for myself, or prioritizing things that are good for me but not necessarily immediately useful for the family.
I have a great life. I needed to work on my attitude to make sure I could see that.
My three resolutions for SELF are:
- Make Time for Exercise
- Be Mindful of How I Eat
- Act How I Want to Feel
Make Time for Exercise
I completely fell off the wagon when it came to running. Stopping for the FET in late October meant I never properly restarted when it got dark and cold. And then it was dark and cold for so long.
I originally thought of making a resolution regarding running, but I don’t know what’s going to happen over the summer. If we do decide on one last round of IVF, that will certainly interrupt things again. So I opted to keep it general. This will probably make it harder to keep, but I figured that any level of exercise (above and beyond the daily walking I do when I’m out with E.) would be an improvement. I can always tweak it in the coming months if I find it’s not working. I’m thinking of borrowing a pedometer from the library to see how many steps I take in an average day.
To keep this resolution, I have to make time for exercise four days a week.
Be Mindful of How I Eat
I’ve lost count of how many of my friends have aggressively changed their diets over the last couple of years. I have friends who have gone paleo, gluten-free, and vegetarian. I have other friends who have embraced a low-carb/ketone diet, or have given up grains, or sugar, or processed foods.
Many of them have been thrilled with their new lifestyle and with their results. And I’m happy for them that they’ve found something that works.
When I sat down and looked at my diet, I kept hitting one stumbling block.
Nothing I can eat or not eat is more important to me than family dinners. And a family dinner, for me, is one where we all sit down together and we eat the same food.
E. has been eating the same food as us since he first started eating solids (one of the advantages of baby-led weaning). He’s come out of his pickiest stage (we are also pushing him a little bit more to make sure he at least tries everything) and is becoming, if not adventurous, a solid eater.
So some nights we have pasta, because E. loves it, and some nights we have pizza or a meat pie, because Q. loves those, and some nights we have a vegan stir fry, because I don’t want to eat meat every night.
On the whole, I think we have a pretty good balance. We eat meat probably three or four times a week, and the meat we buy comes from our farmers’ market, so I know it’s from pastured animals. We eat only whole wheat pasta. We do most of our baking with whole wheat flour (although not all of it). And 95% of our food is homemade. We make our own bread, salad dressings, pizza crusts, soups, curry pastes, pasta sauces, sausages, etc.
I don’t want to give up anything that’s going to require me to eat differently from my husband and my son at supper.
So I didn’t set myself any strict food rules. I decided instead to be mindful, because a lot of the time my eating is mindless.
I don’t need to go back for seconds. I’m in the habit of doing so because everything Q. cooks is so delicious.
I don’t need to buy sweets or treats. If Q. makes something, I will eat it, but there’s no reason to be buying candy, cookies, pastries, etc. from shops.
I don’t need to eat cookie dough when I’m baking cookies with E. (This is a super tough habit of mine to break.)
I don’t need to make lunch in five minutes or less. I have enough time, given I’m at home, to plan a menu. Just because E’s having a tuna melt doesn’t mean I need to as well.
I don’t need to finish E.’s leftovers, or eat a snack just because he is. I’ve reached my adult height.
I know I feel better when I don’t eat much sugar, but I’m not willing to cut it out entirely. But I know I can be much more conscious of when and how I eat it.
Act How I Want to Feel
A number of books I’ve read, including Rubin’s, have discussed the idea that if you want to feel more affectionate towards someone, the key is to just start acting in a more affectionate manner. If you hug someone more often, you’ll have warmer feelings towards them. The same can be applied to most emotional states in your life.
The night guard is making a huge difference. My jaw hurts so much less and it’s much more obvious to me now when I start clenching it during the day. But needing the night guard in the first place was what made me realize I needed this resolution.
It’s too easy for me to act stressed when I’m not really stressed.
Stressed and slightly frustrated seems to be my default mood of late.
This resolution is meant to help me change that pattern.
I’d like my default state to be calm, loving, relaxed, even if E. is driving me crazy and I’m having trouble with the dinner.
I’m tired of bottling up tension.
This will be a tough one for me, but I know it’s worth it.