Turn it into something good

I don’t generally do New Year’s Resolutions. I pretty much agree with CGP Grey that resolutions are usually not good for anything except giving yourself a reason to beat up on yourself come March.

So, I have gone the theme route. My theme for 2020 is self-care.

The nice thing about that is that it is very broad and encompasses a lot of different kinds of activities. I have even already gotten started in a number of different ways.

For example, I am making some significant changes in my diet. I keep saying that I know exercise alone isn’t going to do it for me but then I keep ignoring my diet. I have also recently remembered that I need to cut way back on the carbs because my poor diabetic innards have trouble extracting nutritional value from carbs. So, says Dawn to Me, if you want to both lose weight and get your blood sugar under control, you need to stop this almost-nothing-but-carbs diet you keep falling into.

The thing is … carbs are cheap. That matters when you are a perpetually broke graduate student. But I think I have figured out a way to make this work for me. Part of that is posting this here to sort of make myself accountable. Another part is giving myself means and ways of checking in with myself to see how I’m doing with this. In addition to losing a bunch of the carbs, I’m aiming to get my caloric intake way down. Not in unhealthy or unsustainable ways. Truth to tell, it has a lot to do with being more mindful about when I eat and what I eat and how much of it I eat.

Mindfulness is another aspect of self-care into which I am dipping my toes.

I did a half-day retreat on campus toward the end of the year to introduce myself to mindfulness meditation and I liked it a lot. So, I have started my own rather haphazard practice of meditation. I don’t do it on a schedule. I don’t even do it regularly, if that has anything to do with commitments to time and space. I meditate when I feel like I need to and I remind myself to be mindful several times a day — whenever the situation seems to call for it. The immediate benefit I have found from it is that it has helped me to find a non-pharmacological way to combat my chronic insomnia. It has also already been a helpful technique for dealing with stress.

Beyond these, there are other things I’m doing. Getting myself out to the gym several times a week; I don’t feel like I’m in a position where I can afford to keep paying the monthly membership fees if I’m not going to actually use it. Making sure I take time to rest without procrastinating. Remaining conscientious about things like doctors’ appointments and taking medications. Maybe, before I’m done, I’ll even get a lot better about measuring my blood sugar levels on a regular basis. They do say, you get what you measure. Maybe one effective way to get my blood sugar under control will be to measure it like I’m supposed to.

There will be other things that offer opportunities for self-care at the year progresses. I’m signed up for a little mini-course on campus next month in which we’ll explore the techniques and benefits of therapeutic writing. I’m really looking forward to that. I’m paying attention to the things that I need from my relationships, and working to make those things happen. I will be opportunistic about self-care in 2020.

So yeah. I really believe themes are a much more hopeful, more positive approach than the self-imposed pressure cooker that is a New Year’s resolution.

Think about it. You may want to give it a try.