It’s that time of the month again. Yep, the time when I pop up and talk about my goals and how I’ve achieved (or haven’t achieved) them.
So September was a successful goal month. No Soda September took off amazingly and I stuck to it. No Sweets October was more of a crash and burn for me. I’m going to start by making excuses. While October is a fun and exciting time of year, it’s also the same time when my school kicks into gear. It’s right around the start of intense projects and midterms. On top of that, October is when the weather finally gets a bit crisper and people begin to get into some kind of holiday spirit, whether it be Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Christmas (even though it’s way too early for that). That means candy and baked goods. AND I know 6 people with birthdays in October that I couldn’t just not celebrate with…
Somehow, swearing off sweets was a bust. I know that I made the conscious decisions to break my pact, but somehow I feel like I fell victim to the timing. Of course, just because this month didn’t work out as well as far as health goals go, I definitely want to implement the no sweet mentality as I move forward. Instead, maybe “less sweets”.
Ah yes, but as we end October and open the page to November, even more temptation will be afoot. Yet, this month, I don’t want to focus on health goals quite as much as before. While health is still very important to me, another aspect of my life has fallen to the wayside as my time becomes consumed by school and work and other obligations: my mental health. I’ve mentioned before that I wanted to take more time for myself. I wanted time to sit down with my journal. I wanted time to think about how I was feeling. Unfortunately, I’ve sort of failed on that front as well.
Lately, my mind has been building pressure. Personally, I’m not the most in-tune with my emotions and how I’m feeling. Sometimes it takes me a really long time to realize something is bothering me and at that point, some of that discontentment has been internalized, meaning it will come back to bite me in one way or another. Thankfully, I’m not dealing with any trauma or tragic event, but simple, every day stresses, when not addressed, can culminate into this mind eating monster. And it doesn’t help that when my internalized issues come out to play that I try my best to figure it all out and therefore overthink.
So how do I fix this? How do I set a goal that will help me battle myself? Well, first of all, I can’t so I won’t. If I tackle the issue myself I know that I’ll just dissect it until I have nothing left and I’ll have absolutely nothing to show for it. But I can set tiny goals. As I’ve said before, long lists of goals or goals that are extremely big projects can make accomplishing such goals almost impossible. I need to take this one step at a time.
Step One: Journal More
I know I’ve already tried this, but writing really is my sanctuary. When I write for myself, whether it be poetry or a to do list, I feel this release of energy, this catharsis. Last year, I wrote almost every day. Sometimes, I wrote more than that. I was very in-tune with what I was thinking because it was all right there in front of me. Somehow, writing makes it much easier to figure out my own buzzing mind. Journaling everyday can seem impossible with my schedule, but the reality is that all I need are a few moments. I can journal extensively if I want to, but just jotting down a few thoughts will suffice.
Step Two: Exercise More
Wait, what? I thought I said I was focusing less on health this month… Well, that’s true. However, I know that when I lead an active lifestyle, I’m significantly happier and less stressed. There are tons of studies out there about the hormones released when you exercise and how they effect mood. Being fit is just another great side effect. I really want to try and move more, whether that be dancing around in my room in the morning or going out and doing rock climbing with friends. Fitness doesn’t have to happen at a gym. In fact, I prefer it out and about.
Step Three: Go Outside More
Speaking of which, going outside is another thing that truly calms me. Now that I work and have school, I barely ever get to sit outside or go on walks. Specifically walking in a place that’s far away from my personal stress-inducers helps, like in a forest or at a local park. Being outside in the sun is so nice and relaxing. It even becomes a spiritual experience when I get to be surrounded by nature, which helps immensely with my overthinking issues.
Step Four: Meditate More
This is something I’m not really used to at all and I’m not sure if I’ll be good at it. Meditation is a great way to center the mind and try to collect all of your thoughts or, depending on what type of meditation you do, completely disconnect and dismiss your thoughts. I’ve heard great things about taking a few minutes in your day to sit down in silence, unplugged, and it’s definitely something I’ve been wanting to try for a really long time. Perhaps I’ll get really good at it!
I understand that this month’s goals are a little different, but it’s definitely something I need to focus on. Mental health is so important and, I feel, a very fundamental part of an overall healthy lifestyle. Hopefully my efforts will be more successful this time.
Here’s to taking a moment for me