snow globe

A Check-Up

Elina December, SelfCare

We are ten days into December and I decided it’s time to check up on how everything is going. Because we are almost at the end of our year I want to share with you how my life looks right now.

So if you read my previous post you might know that I’m in a ‘finish strong’ operation. I decided to do this because I looked at the goals I’ve set for myself for this year and although some of them I achieved, others were kind of stagnant. Meaning there was a palpable improvement in some areas of my life. 

I did manage to improve in three areas over the course of the year are:

Exercise

I’m moving more and I love it. We got ourselves a Samoyed (Maya) this year and come wind, rain or snow I’m outside for at least an hour each day. Maya needs a lot of exercises and so we divided the recommended amount of time she needs to spend outside with my husband.

Then I also got my Viking. It’s a Peleton-like stationary bike. I got it from a thrift store and it’s a vintage model. I call it the Viking because of the handles that remind me of the Vikings’ horns on their hats. And yeah, I name almost everything… When I do ride on it it’s usually for half an hour to good music and then I do some stretching exercises. I love love love yoga.

This is a huge improvement in comparison to last year when I occasionally went out for a walk outside and occasionally did yoga.

Then I’ve also got off sugar, dairy, and caffeine. Three of the major addictions I had. I’m glad to say that I’m in my third month off the stuff that I craved every day. And that’s a major improvement for me. I can’t say that it did much for my weight because I guess the weight itself wasn’t really my priority. It does creep slowly down but very very slowly. I can’t recommend this to anyone because it’s definitely not an easy thing to do. 

Mental health:

I redefined self-care this year. I used to consider self-care self-indulgence. Chocolate and coffee were my self-care go-to- foods. The thing is I’m not saying that it’s bad to eat chocolate or to drink coffee. I just don’t believe that instead of dealing with my feelings that I should eat or drink them. I had this unhealthy habit of doing ‘self-care’ whenever I felt overwhelmed or down. I know now that it’s not really self-care but a toxic relationship with food. The real self-care for me is writing in a journal whenever I feel overwhelmed or exercise whenever I feel restless or books whenever I feel bored, and bullet journal to track it all and map out my next move.

Meditation, self-reflection, going to sleep on time,  and practice of being present should be considered the real self-care.

All of this will keep your spirit healthy and will give you more energy than any sugary-energy-promising-fizzy-or-not-fizzy drink. Ultimately all these things help me to be less snappy, to be present and to enjoy my life more.

Relationships:

It’s been a very interesting year for relationships for me. I definitely improved my relationships with my family members. On the other hand, I took a step back from family members with whom I had toxic relationships. So all and all I would say that it’s been a good year on the relationship front. I’m in love with my husband more than ever and I have a good relationship with my son. And although both of those require constant neverending upkeep I realize how lucky I am to have to do that work.

Finish-the-year-strong-operation:

The point of ‘finish the year strong’ operation was for me to set tentative steps into fulfilling my goals and have a leg up for the next year. I tackled three areas: body, career, and family. 

I wanted to do something for my body every day, I decided that it would be exercise on my stationary bike and a plank challenge (I’m already ‘planking’ for 1 whole minute). I really like exercising because it makes me feel strong. I used to have a very weird relationship with feeling strong. In my mind men had to be strong and women well… didn’t. It’s a laughable belief I realize but I did have it for quite a while.

Then I also wanted to improve my website and be more consistent with posting on Instagram so I thought up a challenge for that. Also, I wanted to enjoy doing all kinds of fun stuff with my husband and son so I thought out the ‘cozy’ challenge. I also wanted a weird and fun challenge so I thought it would include reading 13 books till the end of this month. 

My career was something I was struggling with for a while. Being self-employed can be very scary and I found myself in a rut.

This is where the stagnation was and I really wanted to bring a change into this area. I was trapped in my paralyzing fear of my own making. Really there was no rime or reason for this.

So I decided to do something about it. I wanted to give new life to my Instagram and website and what better way to do this than a 30-day challenge? If you read my previous posts you’ll probably know that I love 30-day challenges. I find that it’s long enough to get the feel for something and short enough not to find it daunting. So I thought it would be great to release an illustration and a new blog post every day. And up till now, it’s been great! I enjoy creating something new every day. And I love to write so these two challenges are definitely a success.

Then I always say that December is my most favorite month of the year. Yet, each and every year I only remember three days. It’s December the first because of our tradition of decorating the Christmas tree and Christmas and New Year’s eve. This December I decided I wanted to thoroughly enjoy each and every day of my favorite month and do so with my family. That’s why I started the ‘cozy’ challenge. It’s basically a list of things that I should do one for each day to enjoy the month of December. A Hygge-like challenge. Ten days in and I’m thinking of making a list for every month. It’s really been so fun to do all of it and sometimes challenging but in a fun way. It certainly requires a bit of planning but I really don’t mind. 

The other challenge that I’ve talked about in yesterday’s post is reading 13 books till the end of this year. It’s certainly a challenge but I think that I’ll manage this. I’m always reading some kind of a book and because I wanted to see if I can do it I set the number of books so high. But maybe it’s not at all high for you… But it is for me so I’m definitely enjoying this challenge.

So this was my check-up. I hope you have enjoyed it. I’m certainly enjoying my favorite month of December and all of the challenges that I set for myself. 

Oh, I almost forgot today’s illustration prompt was snow-globe. My husband told me that this is his favorite illustration. It’s definitely more intricate and challenging than the other ones I’ve made.

Wishing you lots of Hygge-filled days.

Elina