100 Happy Days 8 – a hand written letter

Today I wrote a long-overdue letter to my friend in Portugal:

Got a long way to go

Apart from that I’ve been busy all day. Done a lot of walking, which is good. And I got my hair cut! The medication has killed my ends far too much. Now they’re gone, and I’ve dyed over the rest to make it one colour again.

I know I have a long way to go before everything’s back to normal, but every little step lights up my day.



All change places

Three things I need to mention:

First of all, I’ve changed the name and tagline of the blog. The relocating writer has relocated, but not as far as was planned. I’m getting a lot better health-wise, but there’s so much more I need to focus on before I take the big step and leave my home town. So the blog has shifted focus a little to reflect my personal situation.

Secondly, The Happiness Project is on stand still. I am not ignoring the steps i have made so far, but i wont be adding to it. As my health improves I need to spend my time wisely, pace myself properly and give my attention to things that matter. That’s why much of my online presence has taken a backseat of late. I’m just following my instincts on what task I’d be most productive doing at any given time.

Thirdly, and finally, I’m going to start the 100 days of happiness challenge. Considering everything I’ve just said this might feel a bit odd, but it’s a light little piece of fun to keep my days varied. I already feel like I’m quite a cheerful person, and I never struggle to find the silver lining even on the worst days. but my friends who have already started the challenge post so many wonderful pictures on Facebook that I feel like joining in.

So watch this space.


Taking it slow

So I know I said I would record everything I did and work really hard and give myself no cheat days or excuses and blah, blah, blah…

But I’m going to take the assumption that “gets admitted to hospital for 4 days” kind of overrides that?

Don’t worry, I’m alright. I am taking things easy, resting up, pacing myself, and all the things a post-hospitalised person is supposed to do.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve spent the last hour since getting home fervently beavering away to catch up on my neglected internet accounts, now I really need to put some washing on, perhaps make some dinner… oh, and my bedroom carpet needs hoovering so I can start using that room for my packing! Because, you know, moving house within the next few weeks…

Taking it easy… right…


So far so February

First of all, using the Weight Watchers points system is definitely helping me be more disciplined. True, I’m not keeping to my allowance – I should be allocating myself 28 points a day, using the old points system. I have a book for that one, so I keep to it – I know it’s outdated, but for me it’s about keeping track of my food and moderating myself more than sticking to someone else’s rules. It encourages me to be sensible.

When I’m counting points, I CAN (and do) limit myself to, say, one piece of Terry’s Chocolate Orange, or one McVities Jaffa Cake. When I’m not counting I tend to eat a few. Yesterday I went over my allowance, and I’m already over today’s before we even hit evening meal time – although that’s because, in the early hours of this morning after a girly film night we got take-away. A cheese burger and chips equated to 16 points. That doesn’t leave much wriggle room.

But the action of having single piece of a Chocolate Orange and then returning it to the cupboard is great. I work best, personally, when the act of NOT doing something is still DOING something. Choosing not to have more chocolate means I give myself a lower point score, so I’ve not gone quite as far over my allowance as I would have if I’d eaten more, and that’s an achievement. I’m giving myself something else instead of chocolate, and that helps in my case.

I’m not trying to lose weight. I know it’s not something I can realistically worry about just now. But I’m still encouraging myself to slow down and think more about what I am eating. It’s a little too easy to tell myself that the medication will make me put on weight regardless so it doesn’t matter as much. I’ve had a period of letting that reasoning rule, but with my dose a little lower right now it’s time to try and get back on track.

The record journal has been great. I write down what time I take all my medication, and everything I’ve taken – so I know when I last took pain killers, or if I’ve needed an anti-histamine. I write down everything I eat and drink, with the points allocated to each item. And I record the exercise I’m doing, like yesterday when I used my peddles for 5 minutes while drying my hair, and today’s trip to the shops when I went to buy a photo frame for a piece of artwork I’ve been making (which I will photograph and post when I find my camera charger).  This kind of “nothing gets left out” approach is helping me stay organised and disciplined.

A great choice of film for me to have watched yesterday was The Devil Wears Prada. Really fits in with the theme of this month’s resolutions. I don’t usually pay much attention to fashion, admittedly. But I am curious to know what’s in season and what isn’t. I might start trying to take notice.

When I say I don’t really pay attention to fashion, it doesn’t mean I don’t try to dress well or select my own style. But I know things go through phases of being popular, and those trends tend to go over my head. Well, with this month being focused around image and style, it might be a good time to investigate.

I’ll add it to my list of things to do. But it’ll have to take a back seat to my chores right now – I have a few things to be getting on with.

Hope everyone’s having a good February!


February – how I wear myself

After a lot of thought, I chose this as February’s resolution. It’s ambitious, but I think it’ll set me up on the right path.

How I Wear Myself:

  • Eat, sleep and do right
  • Make the little efforts
  • Own my environment
  • Know my goals – practice makes perfect
  • Keep a record of everything

So this one’s going to need a little more explanation. First one makes a lot of sense really – I’m not expecting miracles with my medication, but I am going to start making a solid effort to eat better, sleep better and do more activity that keeps me moving. I know the recent weight and mobility issues won’t vanish overnight, and probably won’t shift at all until my immune system stops trying to kill me. But I’m still going to try.

As part of this, I have made a purchase from my wish-list – a set of fold-away peddles I can use at home to try and build up my muscle strength slowly. They’re better than I expected, and I’m going to try and use them every day while I’m doing other activities, such as reading. This will help me back on my feet, which will help me exercise more, which will help me get back to myself faster. In theory, at least.

Next, the little efforts. This is just small girly things really – painting my nails, for example. I love having nice nails, but I never spend the time fixing them. Or using skin care products more often. My face is still remarkably clear, but the medication has caused rashes all down my neck, arms and back. I’m hoping that some gentle conscious effort on my side will encourage this to clear up faster, and make some bounds towards my self esteem. I want to make those efforts, so I’m going to make the time for them.

Next, owning my environment. This is a rolling discovery from last month. I treat my possessions like they belong to me, but I’ve been doing it wrong. My belongings are mine, but so is my house. The space INSIDE my house is also mine. And choosing to have space instead of particular items is important. So is the presentation of my items, as I do plan on having people come to my new flat, and I want it to look inviting. So I’m going to try and start treating my whole environment, from bathroom to bedroom, as my huge belonging. I will be given the chance to decorated this new flat – choosing carpets and curtains, painting the walls. So it’s a good time to work towards a goal like this one. And I might not be able to take the flat until the end of the month, but that doesn’t mean I can’t plan ahead for this environmental ownership.

Knowing my goals is another one from January, linked to the little efforts resolution too. When I went through my clothes and got rid of 4 huge black bin liners full I had an image in my head. It was fuzzy and flexible, but it helped me to measure up all the things I came across to that image. Would the person I am aspiring to be, not as an unreachable goal but as a shift from something diluted to a more concrete and tangible me, have room for this particular thing in their life? If they would, then it an stay. Of not, then it can go. And tangible me isn’t like saying “I don’t want to be childish so everything youthful must go” – I have a few teddies. But only a few get to stay. I am being ruthless, but in a way that supports the final product, environmentally and internally. It all heads towards the end product – which isn’t a person who looks back and wishes she hadn’t got rid of this thing or that. I won’t get rid of anything I can’t bear to part with. But, if I’m really honest, there aren’t many things I can’t live without. And the rest I’m working through bit by bit.

The last resolution, I think, will actually be the hardest. Keep a record – and I do mean of everything. I’m not showing anyone. I’m writing very personal details in this little book of mine. But I am going to leave no cheat days. No times when I don’t count the points, or spend a lazy day and won’t admit it. I will write my sleeping pattern, my diet and my exercise. I’ll write all those little efforts and skin care products. I will record everything. And that way I have no excuses.

So February will be ambitious, but it’ll give me a focus. And it’s a focus I’m excited about. I have my little record book – not the same as my diary, this one won’t leave my flat or contain anything about appointments or tasks I need to complete. And, at the end of the month, I can look back and say to myself that’s how hard I tried. If I’ve gone nowhere it won’t matter – I’m not trying to lose weight. I know better than to wage war against steroids. But I’ll have written and recorded proof to myself that I’ve tried. That’s all the boost I need.

Roll on February!


Another little drop

Turns out the lowered dose of medication was too steep – I’m back in the danger zone again, but we’re being proactive about it and my dosage has been adjusted.

Still, it’s caused some setbacks in my month. I’ve kept up with stocked items and checking the diary – everything else has sloped off a little. But I’m no super-heroine, I’m only a human being, and I can’t expect the world from myself when myself isn’t up to it.

Fingers crossed the medication changes work and I end up back in perky-land. until then, we’ll see what happens.


Lots of little projects

So far January’s dive into clutter management and organisation has gone well. I’m well-stocked on shampoo and other essentials. My flat has been rearranged. And my diary is firmly in daily use. But, much as I am content with the tidy appearance of my living space, I know I can’t just let it rest. There’s so much more I need to get done to consider January’s resolution firmly tackled.

On top of this I have other projects and deadlines to hit. Lists have become my best friend. I’d lose track without them! I have three sets of things that need doing – my HabitRPG list, which contains lots of bigger things that might get done “eventually”, but aren’t always things that need doing right now. Some of those things have been on there a few months! But when they do get done I’ll be proud.

Then there’s my diary lists, which aren’t so much lists as a spare notebook. On the pages for days I’ve passed I fill the space by scribbling reminders for myself, which keeps me coming back to the diary and saves the paper I’d use for the same purpose.

Finally there’s Chrome and my Google Drive lists. Some of these don’t count – lists of things I need to watch at some point, for example. But one of these pages is my firm to-do list, and this contains all my Happiness Project things.

On here I have the dreaded shoe-clearance mentioned from way back when. I have a bowl of used batteries I need to recycle, and a box of old tablets I’m never going to need again – dealing with both of these is also on my list. Little steps towards less clutter. Some things, like booking my B12 injection, won’t take very long, while others could take a while – like clearing my inbox, a guilty list of thousands of things I know I’ll never actually read in their entirety.

But it all needs doing and, once it’s done, I’ve achieved something. That’s my motivation. I’m already getting much better at things, like trying to follow Gretchen Rubin‘s rule of, if it won’t take five minutes, just do it. That’s making small differences that add up to a big difference.

Today I’ve attended a meeting, been to the shops, been told I was successful in at least one of my voluntary position applications and written this blog post. I also finally got round to reading April’s chapter in The Happiness Project. But there’s still a lot I need to do – At least 4 pieces of writing on Deviant Art, one of which is due by Friday and the rest for the end of the months. A few pixel images for the guys over at HabitRPG. I’m half way through cooking my dinner, and I haven’t yet done today’s Duolingo French class. And, of course, I need to cram in some more exercise as well as that little shopping jaunt – although last night’s attempt nearly killed me! A bit too much too quickly.

We’ll see what we get done. There’s no rush, after all. I have the rest of the evening to suss it out.

Wish me luck!