Friday, 29 December 2017

New Year's Resolutions (Cliche but Necessary)

It's the 29th December 2017 and I am planning which changes to make in 2018. You might want to get a chair and a cup of tea because this is going to take some time.


My health has been pretty terrible for a while now. I constantly have colds, like literally every 2 weeks or so I will come down with apocalypse-grade lurgy that renders me all but bed ridden for days. I am done with being sick all the time. DONE. So I'm going to try and do something about it. I've always been a bit of a sick-note when it comes to colds and what not - it's a family trait unfortunately - but I keep thinking back to the one time - about a year, 3 or 4 years back now - when I actually caught very few colds and the ones I did catch were only mild and short lived. The main things that were different about my life then were 1) I ate more healthily, 2) I exercised regularly and 3) I was less stressed in general. It's well known that immune systems are boosted by good nutrition and regular exercise and that stress damages your ability to fight disease. I may not be able to do much about stress (although I am going to try) but I can definitely do something about the other two and that's got to help, right?


I have allowed myself to get into absolutely appalling eating habits. I have lived on junk food and what I call 'filler food' - not necessarily junk, but stuff that fills you up without necessarily being nutritious, for waaaay too long. I am aware that this is a combination of comfort eating and convenience eating, as well as a bad habit. It needs to stop.
Image result for foodMy weight is not technically a problem if you look at things like NHS BMI targets etc but I am over a stone heavier than I was when I was healthy, and as I have Ehlers Danlos syndrome, that extra weight is bad because it's causing me to have hip problems again. So whilst my main target is just to improve the quality of what I put into my mouth, if that results in me shedding a few pounds it's a bonus.


Biggest new year's resolution cliche ever, right? I need to get my arse in gear and get moving. I hate exercising outdoors (apart from walking, that's OK) so this part of my resolution is going to have to involve going to the gym. I have one at work, which is cheap, and literally 3 minutes walk from my office, so I have literally NO excuse not to go there. Other than feeling a bit sheepish and embarrassed when I rock up for the first time in 2 years immediately after New Year and start exercising, thereby proclaiming to the entire gym community (which includes various people I work with on a daily basis) that why yes, this is a new year's resolution, feel free to judge and laugh etc. But I guess I will just have to suck that up and get over it eh?

This one is a little bit out of my control because there are various things going on in my life which are very stressful but also unavoidable and all I can really do is ride out the storm. However I have decided that it must be possible to at least minimise my stress somewhat. I'm hoping that better food and regular exercise are going to help. I'm also going to make a big effort to get more sleep (I am a terrible night owl) and also to give myself permission to switch off from whatever stressful things are happening and do something fun for myself at least once a day. I'm going to try and keep blogging, because that's fun and therapeutic, and I'm also going to try and get back to writing. I'm going to read regularly, because I love reading and it's hugely escapist, but it's fallen by the wayside these last few years.
One thing I want to spend LESS time doing is playing on my phone. I can literally lose HOURS scrolling through social media and in between the interesting updates from friends and family there's also a lot of negativity and pointless crap. It's actually really depressing and draining, not to mention addictive. Instead, I'm going to play video games, because in similar fashion to phone-scrolling, you can switch off your brain (the part that worries) and just focus on playing, but in a fun way rather than a 'look at this picture of a starving puppy/ guess what terrible thing a politician just did again/ here's a news article about some kids who got murdered' way. It's important to be aware of these things, but not to the extent I flood my brain with it 24/7/365 and end up depressed and distraught at how shitty the world is - even if you try to help, there's always one more terrible thing that's out of your control and it gets to you after a while. I need some down time.

Image result for time managementI'm also going to try and practice better time management at work. One of my biggest stressors recently has been having to achieve miracle-grade levels of work with insufficient levels of staff. This is through no fault of my own, and is unlikely to change any time soon, but I tend to get overwhelmed and lose focus, then spin my wheels doing stuff that's less important, which wastes time and makes things worse. I see some A-grade use of calendars, white boards and to do lists on my horizon, to help me stay focused. As well as forcing myself to delegate work, which does not come easily to me.


Image result for appearanceOne of the little things that always used to help me with stress was taking some time to pamper myself. I've let that slide. I'm going to try and fix that because I know how much better it makes me feel. I'm not going the whole hog and becoming high maintenance but I am going to make the effort to do my hair, nails, make up, to actually bother with jewellery, and to wear clothes that I like and which make me feel good. I'm also going to make an effort with my skin as I have basically done nothing for the longest time and I deserve not to be dry/spotty/whatever any more.

I have pretty significant hoarding tendencies and have done my whole life.  Not "Hoarders" TV show grade hoarding, but enough to be an issue. It was terrible when I was a child. I've got a lot better since then but I'm far from perfect and it gets worse when I'm stressed. And I've been stressed for the last 3 years, so yeah. My house could definitely do with some work. I find that very overwhelming to deal with so I've been putting it off but I need to do something now because it's on the verge of becoming a really big deal. I've recently been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome which is a big part of the problem tbh - one facet is that I get very easily overwhelmed if I don't have 100% control of my life, and decluttering items that I've previously dealt with by careful stacking and hiding in cupboards etc can be messy and overwhelming!! So I'm going to need to do it gradually. It's also very difficult for me as I also tend to get very attached to everything, but that's another thing I'm going to have to get the hell over because otherwise I'm going to drown in my own junk by this time next year.


This is a big one and significantly linked to my hoarding tendencies. I waste waaaaaaayyyyy too much money buying crap I don't need to try and make myself feel happy (and really just achieve adding to the pile of things I need to declutter as well as adding to my debt mountain). I realise that this is a problem. I am going to try and do something about it. Miracles take longer (especially when dealing with a problem that's taken years to build up) so I am not going to set my sights too high and start talking about being debt free within a year or any tosh like that. However I am going to set myself a challenge: No Unnecessary Purchases for 100 days. Henceforth to be known as 'The Great No-Buy'. Starting the 1st January, before I buy something I am going to have to think: do I really need it? Do I have something else that I could use instead? Obviously things like food and medicine are still allowed, although I have to try and keep expense there to the minimum (I am a bit of a food hoarder and tend to buy things 'for later' or 'just to stock up' and this is not going to be allowed during the no-buy. I am going to try and use what I already have instead). I can still get new school shirts for the Boy when he can't fit into the old ones any more. I can still buy shampoo when I'm out of shampoo - but I have to use up all the stockpiled shampoo first, or come up with a really good reason why I can't. I can't buy new make up because it looked nice/was a colour I don't already have.

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