A good week

This week has been really full, but an excellent week over all. I’ve learnt some useful things and travelled to some interesting meetings and have hung out with people of all ages.

This week I travelled to London, Bristol and Crewe. I led possibly the most nerve-wracking meeting I ever had and survived, which was important – it was an excellent test in controlling nerves, proving to myself that I feel better if I am well prepared and that I can drive an agenda very well.

I read lots of public transport, I gave myself time for planning things at work, each of the journeys felt very productive. In fact the whole work/not work split in hours felt good this week, with me being flexible as needed and intentional about that flexibility.

I met some brilliant women all older than me with a sense of fun and a curiosity about life. I hung out with a group of 20 somethings, all young enough to be my children, chatting about life this week whilst learning to knit. I sat in a room of Scout leaders with years of experience and boundless enthusiasm and skills between them. I caught up with some old friends.

I saw some theatre from a new young theatre group, I have listened to podcasts galore on driving commutes, I’ve hung out with my Mum and both the children. And I have practised some yoga every day and spent a bit of time journalling and stuck to pretty healthy eating all week.

I’ve managed to fit in a nap and have bought a new outfit for a party – one that definitely stretches my comfort zones but it feels really fun. And I have a brilliant weekend to look forward to.

All in all a week where I am hugely grateful for volunteering in church and scouts, my job which never fails to interest me and the decision to send the offspring to Stage2 Youth theatre, start yoga and go to Slimming World.

The week even included free lunch.

Relishing a rest – and catching up

The promised review of last year never transpired, mainly because I went on holiday and did what I should do on every holiday – rest. I am still on leave from work this week and am determined to make the most of it and really rest in an attempt to build up immunity to the lurgies which envelope us at this time of year.

I have, however, spent some lovely time reviewing last year and what has gone well and what I need to work on a bit more this year. I know, it’s a fairly arbitrary time to make resolutions, but I love doing so, so any excuse works for me.

The holiday gave me a chance to reflect on what worked in 2018 – I missed this blog (a good sign I felt), I finished a couple of books to reach my reading target for the year, which had been a big increase on 2017’s target. I am still not a prolific reader, but averaging 3 books a month feels good to me now, as I started with an average of about 0.25 books per month.

I spent a lot of the holiday walking up and down hills, so my increased fitness was really obvious to me, as was my more controlled intake of food, so the Slimming World/running/yoga combo has done me the world of good.

in reviewing my year , I really appreciated my attempts at reflecting on each day. I experimented with a sentence-a-day type of journal, which worked intermittently. But where it did work it was great – a lovely record of things that have happened over the year, brief, but obviously what felt most important every day. People always seem to be important, as does resting. Both thoughts have influenced the choice of 2019’s goals. More on those to come. Depending on whether I ever get back to full speed.

Counting up the small steps

It’s that time of the year when the days are feeling much shorter, we are losing the battle against the falling leaves, the weather forecasters are warning me how chilly it is out there this morning.  Winter is close. The year is drawing ever closer to its end, it will be time to sum it all up very soon.

This year has been one of a lot of big changes in our family, but also some tiny changes.  Tiny changes which became strong habits. Simply by keeping going.

The first is a gentle exercise programme.  I say gentle because it started with a wearable gadget – in my case an Apple Watch. The aim is to close all the “circles”, which insist that I exercise for 30 minutes a day, burn a certain number of calories through activity and stand up at least once an hour. It was a relatively easy step to make it as easy as possible for myself and putting some actual exercise into place – a short run, a long walk, or some yoga are now a feature of most days.

The second is a healthy diet.  Last year I got fed up with being obese, I wasn’t unhappy, I was just uncomfortable with sore knees and asthma difficulties.  Slimming World was my route of choice, as it encourages small changes , encouraging a healthy diet based on fruit and veg, less saturated fat, a good balance of food types and regular meals.  I am now a normal weight and have built up some healthy habits.  We plan all our meals, we enjoy cooking new recipes.  Cooking a meal from scratch is now as habitual as shoving a pizza in the oven.  One very useful habit is not eating biscuits or cakes at meetings.

The final gentle habit is budgeting.  A podcaster I listen to mentioned a programme called You Need A Budget (YNAB).  It has been hugely useful in our household as we moved from being generally clueless and somewhat careless with our decisions on what to buy or not, to being much more in control of what we are saving for, what our financial aims are (they’re still very frivolous, but at least they’re actual aims) and when we might get there.

In that end of year review I need to remember the many tiny steps which have helped make this year a success overall.  And not to beat myself up that they’re not dramatic, just small and effective.  There’s a lot I have not achieved, but some crucial things that I have.

close up of salad in plate
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