Health seems to have been on my mind a lot recently. Maybe it's a kind of internal spring cleaning or maybe I'm panicking as I approach 50. Early in January I wrote about my health goals for the year so here's an update.
1. Healthy work. I'm lucky that my job is mostly enjoyable and very engaging! With everything else going on over the last few months my part-time hours have allowed me plenty of respite at home to readjust to a 'new normal' without my dad. For this I'm very grateful.
2. Healthy relationships. Losing my dad at the end of January has taught me a lot about relationships. It's taught me
- not to take other people for granted
- the amazing kindness of friends and family
- the importance of self-care in order to be able to love others
- that life is short and is for living
- to make more time for my husband as it's all too easy to let the romance slip (we have booked a weekend away in May)
3. Healthy finances. Our main priority is to keep our grocery shopping under control this year. Whilst progress was made in this area last year there's always room for improvement. My motivation is to waste less money; have more room in my cupboards, fridge and freezer; prove to myself that I can stick to a budget; and to use the saved money for savings and fun things for the family. Last month I set a budget and carefully recorded my grocery spending. I stayed on or under budget every week. I think the success was due to sheer determination to stick to my goal and realise the dream of having some spare cash to save and enjoy. My determination meant that I was more disciplined at stock taking, menu planning and sticking to a routine of shopping on the same days. I also avoided my favourite but expensive store. All of this took a lot of time and it became a priority over other domestic tasks like cleaning (which can always wait). Our meals have been just as yummy (especially those not made by me), our diet just as healthy and our kitchen cupboards less full. I've learnt that saving money and sticking to a budget requires determination, planning and time.
4. Healthy food. My efforts to try to improve the quality of my diet by eating more protein, good fats and less sugar have been hit and miss. It wasn't easy with all the hospital visiting in January. My diet really suffered and I consumed far too much caffeine and gourmet crisps. However, I'm getting back on track and gradually reinstating healthier choices. A great new source of inspiration is the lovely Sarah Britton who writes a blog My New Roots. I'm itching to try her Ginger-Pear Mint Smoothie (which also includes avocado). She has a new book out too packed full of inspirational and healthy recipes. During Lent I've also been moderating my alcohol intake to just 1 glass and having more alcohol free days. This has been successful and something I'm going to continue to work on. Looking back at previous health goals I realise that it's been over a year since I drank diet drinks and I've also recently given up sweeteners. It's good to look back at old goals and measure some progress although some habits do seem to take longer to form (flossing?)
5. Healthy mind. Trying to find sanctuary in this digital age (did I really write that) has also been erratic. I need to set limits to my online time, establish a more relaxing bedtime routine and also to practise meditation more regularly. There's 30 days in April so I'll let you know on how many of those days I manage to meditate. My husband is also meditating and we're finding it helpful to be able to share our progress.
6. Healthy body. My aim to run at least one half-marathon this year is going well (my last one was in 2007). I've been running twice a week since January and I can now run for 1 hour and 20 minutes. My goal of running a half-marathon is definitely motivating me. I enjoy every run once I'm out the door and I'm feeling better both physically and mentally than I was before I upped my training (I was previously running once a week). Walking with my husband is also becoming a more regular habit. He works from home and goes for a daily 25 minute walk during his lunch hour and I join him whenever I'm free. Walking side by side is a great way to share some time and switch off in the middle of the day.
7. Healthy consumerism. I've made some recent wardrobe purchases with my birthday money. I've also been given quite a few books as presents as reading is really helping me to unwind at the moment. These new additions have led to some mini-decluttering sessions which I'll update you with soon. We've also been spending a small amount of money on garden supplies for growing some veg this summer. Other than that I've made no unnecessary purchases. What I'm doing well at resisting are all the lovely but expensive home accessories I see online. Glass cloches, double sided hanging frames, designer wallpapers and gorgeous throws will have to remain on Pinterest for me. I could so easily buy these things but realise I don't actually need them. The simple/rustic/ look can be expensive and I could easily be seduced into spending money on it. I think I'll have a restyle of my current home accessories instead and maybe get creative with some homemade wall art as well. And if I do well at restraining myself from purchasing simple accoutrements I may well treat myself to some paint as I'm feeling the urge to repaint our walls. Freshly painted walls - the simplest look of all. The kitchen is first on my list. Gosh, it feels good to get my want list off my chest.
Oh, and I cut my own hair this weekend. Several vlog tutorials and 40 minutes with some scissors and ta-dah not a bad result! I will definitely cut my own hair again when it needs it. Cutting hair is a fairly simple skill and one I'm trying to master. Do you know I felt just as good afterwards as when I visit a salon. Which just goes to show that it's not spending money, sitting in a plush hairdressers or being pampered that make me feel better - it's just getting a new look. It was also a relief not to have to discuss holidays, be encouraged to buy expensive hair products or asked if I needed any foil highlights (I don't as I'm growing out my hair colour and letting in the grey gracefully).
Did you set any health goals this year? Do you still get spending urges? How are you getting on? It's always lovely to hear from you.