2021 here I come

I have a confession to make. I have always been the kind of person who thought New Years Eve was horribly overrated. Although as a child I liked the idea of staying up, eating nice things and watching fireworks, as I grew older New Years Eve just lost it’s sparkle. It felt like just another day, on which I usually had to work, with too much food (too close after Christmas) and on which I had to force myself to stay awake until 12 o’clock, because it’s expected and you can’t sleep with all the fireworks going off anyway.

This year though… boy am I in the mood for New Years! The moment that clock strikes 12 I am actually going to be there, partying with the rest of the world. Why? Not because I think that a global pandemic will be resolved overnight and everything will be better. We are still going to be in lockdown until January 19th at least and until the majority of us have been vaccinated this virus is clearly not going anywhere.

So no, it’s not because of that. It’s mostly because I am looking forward to what the new year brings… and that is stability. As my trusty readers will know, I have had one heck of a year with a lot of stress and because of that CFS flare-ups. I cannot wait for a year that is emotionally and financially stable. In which I can find balance and build up an actual routine.

I don’t think I expected myself to write this a couple of years ago. To be frank, I am quite a contradictory person. I am the kind of person who gets bored and restless when I get into a rut, but who is also not super adventurous. I enjoy a good challenge, but enjoy staying inside my comfort zone as well. As such, for me to be happy and thrive I have discovered I need to have balance between those sides of me. If love doing research and pushing myself at work, but if I am doing so I need to have a stable home and financial environment. If these are lacking, it results in a feeling akin to loosing my center of gravity and desperately trying to keep myself from falling.

So what is my plan for the coming year? I plan to work hard, but also balance that out by spending time with family and friends (responsibly whilst social distancing of course). Work hard, “play” hard… or well, as hard as my CFS allows me to do either haha. I want to get back into eating healthy and actually going outside for a walk. And most of all I want to finish that freaking PhD.

I Swear By My Pretty Floral Bonnet I Will End You GIF by efitz11 | Gfycat

To help me start 2021 the best way I can, I have actually asked to get Monday the 4th off. That day I will spend taking stock of my PhD and plan the work that I have left to do. At least this year I won’t have to try to fit it around another Masters course, as well as a full-time job. It’s just the full-time job that is left… Piece of cake right? *Cough* Right… I will just keep telling myself that until I believe it lol.

From the 5th onward my plan is to get up at 6 a.m. every weekday, so I can take my time waking up, hopefully do some exercise (be it 10 minutes of yoga or a short walk depending on what my body and the weather allows) and do 1 hour of writing a day before work starts. On the weekends I will sleep until 7 a.m. so as to get myself a little extra rest without messing up my sleep rhythm. My Saturdays will remain the day on which I do absolutely nothing that is work or PhD related. On Sunday though I will dedicate at least the first half of the day to my PhD. So if I want to meet-up with friends I first have to do a bit of writing, before I get to play.

At the same time I will try to get back into the habit of eating healthy again. The past couple of months I have just eaten whatever I fancied whilst attempting to retain my sanity, but that seriously needs to stop. I have already told my Herbalife coach that I will be joining the 90 day challenge… so wish me luck. Honestly, I am craving vegetables so badly after Christmas that I don’t see that as being too much of an issue haha.

Needless to say I have no intention of beating myself up if I have to amend the above mentioned routine sometimes. Honestly, I am not perfect (much as I dislike it, being the perfectionist I am) nor am I Superwoman (according to my former colleagues at the Bodleain I am more of a Captain Marvel lol), so I will just take it as it goes and try to make the best of it.

So yeah, 2021… stability, structure and routine. Here I come! Higher. further. faster 😉

Another life update

Well, remember now I wrote in my previous post that I finally head the headspace to start planning, work on my PhD and focus on my weightloss journey again, because I had gotten a job and wasn’t going to start until Octorber? Well, guess what did not happen, because life threw me a (wonderful, but super stressful) curve-ball?

Just after I had accepted an archives related role with a big social media company, my former work in The Netherlands reached out to me with a job offer. It was an offer I honestly couldn’t refuse. The one I had just accepted was on a project basis for 3 to possibly 6 months, though it might get extended and was basically glorified data entry. Don’t get me wrong: there is nothing wrong with that. If that is your jam, more power to you! I, however, work better whilst doing a job that mentally challenges me. The project based job also meant I would be working as a contact worker and though the job agency did arrange for things like sick pay, paid holidays were not in the cards…. What my previous job offered me was a more challenging, better paying job, in a company I knew I loved, for 1 year after which I may be hired permanently and with much better benefits. Think travel cost reimbursement, holidays and holiday pay (in The Netherlands you get an x number of holidays based on the amount you work, as well as money called “holiday money” that is either payed every year in May or on a monhtly basis)…. Oh and did I mention the prospect of a Christmas package? I never realized this was a typically Dutch thing, but here in the Netherlands employers give their employees a package, which is kind of like a Christmas hamper, with goodies to thank them for their hard work in the past year…. Honestly UK bosses: you need to start doing this!

So as you can imagine, I actually turned down the project job and accepted the one at my previous job. I was on the payroll within 2 days and immediately had to get myself up to speed with everything, as I was to manage two big projects that were due to start in 2 weeks time…. Remember when I wrote that I like a job to challenge me? Well, I sure got what I wished for haha.

Having a job in the Netherlands of course also meant moving there… So after I felt like I got the hang of my new job, my spare time was taken up with digital house hunting and preparing for an international move during a global pandemic… Yeah… to say it was a stressful time is a bit of an understatement. Needless to say, I just put everything else (weight-loss, PhD etc.) back on the back burner for the time being. I just went into full-on surivival mode.

We were super lucky that my niece’s lovely husband volunteered to come and collect me and the cats and drive us back to the Netherlands with all our stuff. I cannot believe how lucky we are to have friends and family that are willing to literally drive to another country to come help us move. I feel truely, truely blessed.

By December 2nd we were back in Holland. I had taken a week off for the move, but had to immediately get back to work the Monday after. So I have basically been unpacking, working and getting ready for the holidays up until now… Though of course I have also made sure to make some time for family and friends. I had not seen my parents, mother-in-law or best friend for over a year… I had missed them so much, so damn right I was going to make time for them ;).

With everything going on it wasn’t until this week that I finally felt like I could sort of breath again and that I have been able to take stock of everything going on. This has also meant that I could finally deal with some of the emotions I have been pushing to the background just to get through the past couple of months without getting a mental breakdown.

This week I realized just how much of the past year I have been trying not to think about how much I was missing friends and family. I had not seen anyone in person for months. Since lockdown started in March, I had only gone out to “hang out” with other people once, which was on my last day of work at the Bodleian. Moreover, a questionaire from the University asking me for a PhD status update made me painfully aware that I had been avoiding thinking of how little I have been working on it all year. Let’s just say I shed some tears this week….

I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to 2021, which is going to be a much more stable year for me. And gosh, does stability sound good right about now. That is one of the reasons why I have decided to pick “stability” as my word for 2021. But more on that in the next post… Stay tuned and stay safe lovely people.

Looking back and looking forward

You know those days when your body is exceedingly tired, but your brain wants to do  A TON? Well that’s me today. And one of the things my brain apparently wants to do today, is write a blogpost. And not just any blogpost though. An end of year post, hence the title. A bit early, I admit, but I am not sure if I will have the I apologize in advance if I end up rambling a little in this blog: fatigue makes it hard to write coherent English sentences lol.

Last year I wrote a post with my goals for 2017. So I thought it would be nice to use that post to review the year and to set some goals for the coming year. If you just want to see the goals 2018, then feel free to skip to the end.

Looking back at 2017

Weight-loss

My first goal was weight-loss related. I wanted to lose weight and maintain it for the entire year. Well, I am a little sad to write that I was not able to maintain my weight-loss after I got to 68kg. When I stood on the scales last Sunday I was back at 69,9kg. In my head I am now forming all sorts of excuses which include my Chronique Fatigue Syndrome, which has been bothering me severely again since August. However, the bottom line is that I have let myself go and have been eating waaayyy too many sweets (chocolates, biscuits, crisps… the works). What can I say? I eat when I am tired. So during the last two weeks of 2017 I am just going to try and do some damage control.

And in the new year I am going to see if I can at least retrain my mind to go for healthy snacks, rather than unhealthy ones. So if anyone has any warm, wintery healthy snack recipes: please don’t hesitate to share them in the comments.

 

Exercise

Well this has been a bit of a hit and miss. Since August I have been really struggling. On the upside, I have been consistently walking between 10.000 and 13.000 steps on the days I go to work so at least I get my exercise in on those days.

Tap dance has been a bit of a different story though. I have had to cancel a couple of times, simply because my body was so tired that I either felt sick or was shaking like a straw. Lessons are currently on hold due to the Christmas holidays, but I hope to be able to make it there every week starting January. The day got rescheduled from Tuesday evening to Saturday morning, so I am hoping that helps a little as well.

As for Yoga: I am currently just doing that whenever I feel like I have the energy for it, which currently isn’t very often. With the holidays coming up, life has just been a bit hectic and it has taken its toll. But that is ok.We’ll get there when we get there ;).

Needless to say running is not anywhere in the picture at the moment. It makes me a little sad, but hey, that’s life. At least I have something to look forward to when I start to get a little bit more energy again.

 

Project confidence

I honestly think that this is the one area where I have made the most progress this year. I feel a lot more confident in myself. As a result, it is for example a little, tiny bit easier for me to talk to someone I don’t know at a conference. So that’s a win. I have also realized that I am incredibly blessed and have quite a lot of people who like me for who I am and like to spend time with me (or even go on trips with me!). And bonus, I feel relatively comfortable taking selfies… I even suggest making them sometimes now. Yeay!

I have been getting a bit more conscious about the increasingly darker bags underneath my eyes, but thankfully there’s foundation and concealer for this kind of thing. So yes, I will be using a bit of make-up into my life (*gasp*) to make sure that doesn’t get into my way of becoming increasingly more confident.

 

PhD and research

Well… yeah… There’s been some highs and lows I suppose. I did manage to get a chapter accepted which is to appear in a book to be published with Routledge, and have sent in my contributions to the Companion to Victorian Popular Literature which is to come out with McFarland. So I am pretty happy with that.

I was, however, planning on graduating this year, which did not happen. Having to admit that I was not going to be able to make the deadline I set myself has been exceedingly hard. Especially when I had to explain this to other people. It’s really hard not to feel like you are a massive failure when you have to tell them once again: “nope, this year is not the year”. I just had to write an update to my supervisors that I basically do not have anything to show them after 3 months, and it was really hard not to break down in tears. There really is little more aggravating than really wanting to do something, but not physically being able to do it.

But that’s just something I am going to have to learn to deal with. I also need to stop looking at my body as an impediment in this respect: yes I am kind of at its merci, but hey: I can still go to work 3 days a week and can still do some fun stuff. Which is more than most people with CFS can do. So here’s to positivity!

I do, however, mean to graduate the coming year, so that is going to call for some changes in how I manage my energy and time, but more on that below.

 

Goals for 2018

🙂 Yep, even despite my CFS I am still setting some goals for 2018. Although they are a bit more tentative. Why, you may wonder? Well, because:

Weight-loss

Well I, as I have stated above: my goal for 2018 is to lose the 1,9 kg I have gained and to train myself to grab healthier snacks, when I feel like I need them.

Exersize. 

I really want to tap dancing and try to do whatever I can yoga wise. I would absolutely love to take up running again, but honestly: I am just glad if I can manage to do Yoga three time a week right now.

PhD, research and social life

Now this is going to be the biggest challenge.

I really, really want to graduate this year, but this will require me to make some massive changes in how I manage my time. Meeting up with friends, as much as I love doing it, takes up a lot of energy. And I mean: a lot. If I spend an entire day with someone in addition to working 3 days a week, it can take up to 2-3 days for me to recover. Thus not leaving me with much (if any) time for writing.

If I want to get more writing done, I will have to be more careful with my time. And unfortunately, that means I will not be able to meet up with others as much as I would like to. I have currently set myself a limit of no more than 2 days for social activites per month. Now, this may change as my energy levels go up, but for now, this is all I can manage.

I really, really hope my friends and family will understand. Because I really love spending time with every last one of them.

The most amazing trip ever

As many of you guys know (because I have been screaming it off the rooftops) by the end of 2018 my fiancé, mother-in-law and I will be traveling all the way to America to visit Walt Disney World! 😀 I am so, so, so excited for this. I have a countdown calendar on my phone and everything haha.

So I am excited to see what 2018 may bring. And just in case I do not post before Christmas and New Years:

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor merry christmas happy new year

One year blog anniversary and goals for next year

0birthday-cake-sailor-moon-crystal-death-busters-29I just realized a couple of days ago that it has been a year since I started this blog. On May 14 I wrote my first post proclaiming my intention of shedding some kilo’s I had gained back after a previous weight-loss attempt. When I started the blog I weighed 74,4 kilo’s (11,7 stone or 164 pounds) and really wanted to get back to 71 kilo’s (11,1 stone or 156 pounds).

Well, one year later I am happy to write that I shed those 3,4 kilo’s and more! I am currently even below 68 kg (10,7 stone or 149.9 pounds). Actually, since December I have been mostly under 67 kg.

My loyal readers know that it hasn’t all been plain sailing though. Sometimes I still fall of the bandwagon. However, I am determined to get right back on there, since I have no intention of going back to 70+ kg or more.

So I am sure some of you are wondering about the goals I have for the coming blog year? Well, for one thing I want to keep eating healthy and staying at around 67 kg. So maintaining my weight-loss is definitely going to be a focus point.

My second goal is, …… Continue reading