Tags: new years

me with green hair

New Year's [Resolutions]

I don’t like the idea of “New Year’s resolutions,” because the very phrase calls to my mind something that someone works on for the first month or two of the year and then forgets about. It makes me think of how crowded the gym always is in January, and how quickly the crowds thin out, and how depressing that is, because it's a sign of all these people failing.

On the other hand, I do like stopping a moment to reevaluate my life upon occasion to consider adjustments I’d like to make, and so I do like “New Year’s resolutions” in that way.

So I don’t know if I would call them “resolutions” or just “intentions” or even just “hopes,” but I do have some things I’d like to work on in 2016, primarily to focus more on my mental and physical health. To accomplish this focus, I plan to develop a regular schedule and stick to it as much as possible:

  1. CWC is good for my mental health, so I plan to go to CWC regularly, including Tuesday mornings in the Art Room, which I haven’t done reliably in years. Art is good for my mental health, too, and I’m more likely to make time for it if I go to the Art Room, rather than assuming I’ll work on projects at home. In the past couple years, I’ve become pretty irregular about attending CWC (mostly due to health reasons), but I want to make it a regular schedule in my life again, the framework around which everything else is built.

  2. In order to go to the gym reliably, I plan to schedule it around other events in my life (for example, going to the gym directly from CWC on Mondays and Tuesdays). I plan to go 3-4 times per week, probably Mondays-Thursdays. (My gym is only open a few hours on weekend days, and they’re hours that aren’t very convenient for me.)

  3. In therapy and on my own, I want to make some inroads into my anxiety issues. This, I know, will be slow going, because there aren't any quick fixes, but I'm going to make a concerted effort to come up with some concrete plans to work toward this goal. For example, I have an Anxiety and Phobia Workbook that my therapist has repeatedly encouraged me to utilize, but I haven't had much luck with that. So maybe I can bring the book with me to therapy, and we can look at it together to come up with some ideas of things that might help me. I think it would help me if I set aside some particular time each week when I work in the book—once again using the idea of scheduling as a tool for helping me achieve my goals. I do much better with a schedule; without one, I tend to flounder.

    Note: As part of the "working on my anxiety" goal, I'm going to start working on my anxiety that's specific to bicycling. I tend to try to go all-or-nothing, and that isn't working, because when I switch to "all" (e.g., a night-time ride on a narrow street with lots of cars), I panic. So I'm going to work up a sort of "bicycling anxiety scale," and start at the bottom, and slowly work my way up. At the bottom is daytime biking on off-road paths or through our quiet neighborhood streets. At the top is anything that involves streets with lots of car traffic, especially if it's at night. So I'm going to just give myself permission to be afraid of streets with lots of cars right now, and decide that I don't have to make myself face them. I'll work my way up to it. Part of this particular "resolution" is stopping beating myself up for being afraid of things ... for the practical reason that it doesn't help. I'll work on my anxiety issues, but try to be realistic and compassionate with myself in the process. The key is to keep working on it, but gently.

  4. Lastly, I plan to continue with the daily mood charting I started while at La Cheim, but start looking at how the various elements I chart interact with each other. Right now, I chart a bunch of stuff (and have other stuff, like sleep and exercise, charted by my Fitbit), but I don’t actually look at any of the data or try to correlate it in any way. I plan to—just once a week—look at how all the pieces relate to each other. Is my anxiety better when I get more exercise? Is my mood better when I go to CWC regularly? Are my sleep and exercise correlated in any way? Do I have more emotional fortitude for biking on a week when I've been less busy? Stuff like that. I’m not sure if this is something I’ll do long-term, since I’m not sure how useful it will turn out to be, but it’s something I plan to try out.

There are some other things I'd like to do, as well—write more, eat healthier, be a better friend (i.e., flake less often)—but I'm going to focus primarily on my scheduling plan of CWC, gym, and anxiety work. I think that's plenty.

(no subject)

By mid-afternoon today, my vertigo had passed and I was feeling mostly fine. Weird. Debbie mentioned my breathing, referring to my problems with hyperventilation more than a decade ago, and that very possibly may have been the cause. In any case, it was weird. The worst vertigo I've ever felt. I could barely walk two steps without careening into the wall (or, evidently, the bookcase). And now I feel normal. My body is weird.

The year draws to a close today, and I my primary reaction is this: "Wow. 2013 sucked even more than 2012!" One hopes (or, at least, I hope) that 2014 will be less horrible. Perhaps there will be no dying cats. Perhaps there will be no bronchitis. Perhaps we will discover a solution to my persistent nausea (which a perusal of previous journal entries shows has been growing increasingly frequent and severe since early 2011). Perhaps no doctors will betray my trust through blatant malpractice.

Perhaps, at least, in 2014 I will not be diagnosed with significant damage to any of my other major organs.

Putting aside wishes for world peace and harmony and happiness, here are my (almost entirely) selfish hopes for 2014:
  1. comparative physical health (this should be fairly easy to accomplish)
  2. comparative emotional health (stabilize currently chaotic medications for mood and anxiety: avoid panic attacks, avoid hypomania, avoid depression, etc.)
  3. lower stress for Shannon
  4. complete and utter cat health (and perhaps even growing cat friendship)
  5. comparative house health (no major renovations or crises)
  6. improved physical fitness (seeing as it's in severe decline after more than a year of frequently debilitating health problems)

Here's wishing you all (and me) a 2014 full of every possible kind of health.
Christmas polar bear, winter

New Years

I'm ridiculously behind on reading my Friends List. I apologize. If you have big news and think I haven't heard it, please tell me in comments (or message me on LJ if it isn't appropriate for everyone's eyes).

I've also been ridiculously busy the last couple days, getting ready to fly to Florida tonight to visit my mom & brother, which is terribly exciting. Spending time with them is always a great treat (we laugh so much when we're together that we make people look), and I love to travel (I even love hanging out in airports, which Shannon says is completely crazy), but the packing and getting ready part always stresses me out a bit. I'm always sure I must be forgetting something important, or I've left something in my bag that is going to get broken or spill or otherwise cause disaster. I think I have these vague worries because many such problems have occurred in the past, which I think is probably pretty common among people who have travelled a lot. There's the time sunscreen exploded in the suitcases and coated all your clothes ... or the time you got to the airport and realized you hadn't brought the tickets (back in the days when people had physical tickets) ... or the time you didn't leave enough time for transit and missed the plane ... or the time you forgot to pack enough pairs of underwear ... or or or or an infinite number of little disasters. None of them are the end of the world, of course, but I always feel these little niggling doubts that I'm missing something, and I don't like feeling like I'm missing something, especially when the feeling is likely to be wrong.

So I've spent a lot of time today on packing and going through my list to make sure I have everything, and the iTouch is charged, and the audiobooks are not set to "shuffle" (this has happened to me before, and I haven't found any way to fix it on the iTouch once the book has already been loaded -- I can only fix it on my Mac before the sync -- and so the audiobook ends up completely useless while I'm away from home, because audiobooks aren't particularly enjoyable when the chapters are played in random order), and the things I will need in transit are in my backpack and not in the suitcase, and all that random stuff.

So anyway ... I'll be flying the "red eye" for the first time within the U.S. All flights to Europe and Great Britain fly overnight, of course, but that's a little different. You don't have to change planes in the wee hours, for example. On this trip, I'll have a 3-hour layover in North Carolina, starting at what will feel to me like 3 a.m. Luckily, it'll be 6 a.m. there, and so some of the stores and restaurants will probably start opening, and so I'll be able to explore a bit and stretch my legs. Also, the entire terminal apparently has free wifi -- woo hoo! -- and a pleasant relaxation area with very comfy chairs (including, oddly enough, rocking chairs) and sometimes live music on a grand piano. I'm curious to see it all, which is lucky, since I'll be there for 3 hours.

I'm not sure I said this, but I'm hoping you all have a happy 2013. I like new beginnings.