Thursday, 1 February 2018

The January Review

The January Review

January has definitely been a tough cookie; we’ve endured five Mondays, wintery weather and a teasingly long wait til payday. Yet here we are, finally on the other side, well done, us!

Whilst my New Year's motivation did start to fade towards the end of the month, it was mostly productive and I even managed to avoid the January Blues.

Work/Life balance

Ahead of a work deadline, I worked late almost every day for two weeks running. When evenings are already short, working late can take its toll. On some occasions I have felt pretty burnt out, wolfing down dinner before collapsing on the sofa and falling asleep within minutes. I know that regularly working late to stay afloat isn't healthy or sustainable. What I need to do is get better at blocking out time to focus on one particular task or project and ignore everything else on my to do list. While multi-tasking is great, sometimes trying to do five things at once is counter-productive as nothing actually gets finished when home time arrives.

I've found that the small things really can help in stressful situations - a quick lunchtime walk for fresh air, listening to throwback playlists, yoga before or after work - and of course drafting blogs on the daily commute - have all helped keep me sane and positive over the month. 

Finding my fitness mojo

This hasn't been 100% successful but I've taken a step in the right direction. Late last year I naively signed up to a 10K race which I now realise is only 6 weeks away, oh dear. I thought after over a year of on and off running I'd find it a little easier - but no, it's just as hard as day one. 
It amazes me how some people can run a 10K with little to no training. I'm just not a morning person and working late in an already cold and dark January has meant I've only been able to run on weekends. 

But ahead of my race I have no choice but to leave work on time so I can step up my training. My plan is to kick off with 2-3 shorter runs a week ahead of a 10 kilometre run in my third week. My goal is to make it to the finish line come March and not feel entirely wiped out, let's not even think about a personal best at this point!

Alongside running, I have been stretching and fitting in quick yoga routines where possible. Yoga has been an effective way of clearing my head - helping me to slow down by focusing on breathing and posture. I can't recommend Madeleine Shaw's quick yoga videos enough - even ten minutes of her practice and helpful guidance helps my body feel less tense and mind calmer.

Gone Blogging Dry January

Dry January

Yep, I took on Dry January and despite nagging cravings especially over the last few days, I made it to the very end. My Dry January was originally intended to help me detox and embrace a month of fitness and healthy eating after a seriously over-indulgent Christmas. 

Sure I'm not a regular 'heavy' drinker but I do enjoy a tipple here and there, especially when out with friends and family. I could've easily given in to temptation and had a cheeky drink over the month but I stayed firm and stuck to a refreshing tonic water - or a pink lemonade when I was really pushing the boat out.

My willpower was particularly tested when I agreed to a first date during Dry January. I know this isn't a huge deal - non-drinkers of course go on dates and have a great time - I've just always found myself needing that bit of Dutch courage - usually in the form of gin! Dates can feel very nerve-wracking and in the lead up I'm always swinging between uncertainty and expectation. The evening was perfectly fine, no dramas or horribly awkward moments, there was just no spark. Even so, stepping out of my comfort zone was a big deal and I'm glad my stubbornness won out and I didn't break the drinking ban for a temporary confidence boost. That said, I am very much looking forward to a gin and tonic to reward my good behaviour - cheers to everyone who also took on Dry January! 

Making every second count

At the start of the month I was inspired by an instagrammer who kept a one second video diary of each day of 2017. So I created my own '2018 day by day' album to keep track of my daily moments over the year. After a few days I did realise that my clips were looking pretty repetitive, I suppose working Monday-Friday in an office has that effect. So rather than doing this daily, I'm just saving videos when I've done or seen something particularly memorable. January was pretty quiet plan-wise so I definitely want to do more in February - catch a show, discover something new in London and hopefully book a solo weekend trip away.

So there we have it - my January review in full! Dry January is done and I'm making fitness a priority in February - which goes hand in hand with restoring a normal work-life balance. How was your month? And what are your plans for February?

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