It's Sunday evening, I have my fuzzy fleece on, and fuzzy pj pants - perfect for a Big Fuzzy Goal update, right?
1) January work....stuff: As noted in the last post, the teaching part of January went well. And the two weeks after that - chock full of parent meetings, scheduling, planning, negotiating, organizing, problem-solving, tidying, and errands of all-sorts actually went well too. With the exception of one or two days where I was doing a lot of waiting for other people to get back to me (NOT my favourite situation) my stress level was actually quite low. Maybe after 5 years I've finally figured out that it doesn't pay to have an expectation that I should do 10 things well in the time it takes to do 3-5 things well (or less, depending on a variety of factors). Maybe I'm learning to have reasonable expectations and agonize less as a result. It also helps that I have a fabulous team who not only can get things done but can identify what needs to be done with very little prompting.
2) Revontuli (knitting): More beautiful than ever and coming along nicely. I'm on the second big ball of yarn. Knitting makes me feel warm and fuzzy on the inside.
3) Persistent Physical Ailment: Has shown improvement overall in the last 3 weeks. Phew. I still have bad hours, which sometimes extend to bad days, but overall the pain is less frequent and goes away more quickly and more completely. I have done the following to address:
a) I had an ergonomic assessment at work, leading to adjustments in my work space and the purchase of a wrist rest and footstool (they have not yet arrived, so I am using a Yellow Pages as a footrest - finally found a use for that thing they deliver every year.)
b) I am to keep a log of symptoms which I will start tomorrow (I swear).
c) I have the website address of an acupuncturist that comes highly recommended and I know where the nearest chiropractor/massage place is.
That counts as doing something about it, right?
4) Piano: Thanks to 10 minutes of practice a day, give or take, I have actually gotten quite good at one song. Wow, I have a sense of accomplishment!
5) Journey: Have started information gathering / self-awareness process.
6) Staying focused on positive things: I'm feeling pretty good about what I've done with the year so far, and we're just one month in. So I'll focus on making the next month as good as possible. The key for me is taking care of health/priorities and focusing on what I can do in the present, versus agonizing over what I couldn't do, what's beyond my control, what's pushing my buttons, blah blah.
Now, here's some progress I've made toward a goal that wasn't even on the Big Fuzzy List, although it's something I've tried to address in various ways for years.
I've been preparing my own lunches for work!
Okay, that might not sound very impressive, but the background is that when I'm under any kind of stress, I lose my appetite. When I lose my appetite, I stop eating. My job is not extremely stressful all the time, but teaching in general creates tension inside me, so I'm almost always dealing with some level of stress. It's been an challenge, ever since I embarked on this career, to motivate myself to eat regularly and in a healthy way before and during work. The very worst times were right at the beginning: during my practicum I ate nothing all day all week. In England I had a cup of tea and a small yoghurt in the morning, and then nothing all day. In the evening I would empty the refrigerator. Needless to say both those periods in my life led to crisis. I've gotten much better at managing the stress/tension since then, and I've also gotten better at my work, which has reduced the stress. Still, I haven't gotten to the point where I can say with confidence that I take good care of my health while I'm at work.
First breakthrough this year: I've stopped working through my lunch break. I actually go to the staffroom and eat something. Often I only have 10-20 minutes, but that's enough to have a moment to myself and eat something. I've been buying food at the cafeteria, which is affordable and meets my needs fairly well (I rarely finish eating what I buy, but anything is better than nothing.)
Second breakthrough: The cafeteria closed during exam break. So I had to fend for myself. I wasn't looking forward to this, thinking of other times I'd brought food to school and didn't want to eat it. But I've learned a few things:
1) if I eat breakfast, I'm much more likely to be able to eat lunch. You'd think if I skipped one meal I'd be hungrier for the next, but the opposite is true. I've been able to eat both breakfast and lunch more consistently because of insight #2.
2) It's difficult/unappealing to eat lots of one thing, but much easier/appealing to eat small amounts of many different things.
I actually took my inspiration from an alumni student family. The mom told me she taught her daughter to prepare her own lunch by requiring her to include every food group. Brilliant. I follow that theme, and it inspires me to be creative, and makes me feel good that I'm balanced. I either buy items in small packages or I put them in small Tupperware. I'm probably paying way more for the small package items and I've developed a weird obsession with finding Just the Right Tupperware, but I don't really care. I'm enjoying putting together my lunch and breakfast and I'm excited to eat it.
3) The one issue was I was spending an extra 20 minutes or so every morning putting together lunch, and this is an issue because I get more stressed if I'm rushed and don't have time to sit with my book for a few minutes. During exam break it wasn't that big of a deal because I didn't have to be on a tight schedule. But now that I'm teaching again, I'm preparing what I can beforehand. I don't want to put together sandwiches or salads the night before, because they should be fresh, but I can wash vegetables and fruits and pack them (in just-the-right-size Tupperware of course). I can boil eggs. I can even dig through the Tupperware drawer and set aside the container for salad/sandwich so that I'm not hunting for a lid at 7:00 am.
So yes I am pleased with myself, and I am looking forward to Eating My Way Through February. Positively going to Devour all those goals.