01 January 2024

The obligatory January 1st post

 I was just looking through my blog archives. I am a lover of new beginnings. I love the idea of a fresh start, a new way to look at things, a blank slate. The thing is, I can mostly make a new beginning anytime. It can be on a random Thursday or even in the middle of a day that may not be awesome. Anytime you set your mind to it, it can be a new beginning. So while I do have new beginnings all the time (sometimes hourly) I love the real new beginnings like New Years. 

I've written a number of blog posts about the new year. I've talked about my goals and intentions. I've written about my word for the year. So this is not going to be like that. This is going to be about my mental state for the coming year. 

Without even realizing it, I was completely stressed out the last few weeks of school. I only realized it after break started and the stress went away. As I started to return to normal, I experienced changes and I realized that I had been so stressed out it was quite literally affecting my health. 

Just to recap; there was the chest pain and difficulty breathing. There was extreme tiredness. TMI; there was a change in poop that was not good and really had me concerned. Having a father who died of colon cancer, that's a biggee. The worse part was, I just didn't care. I didn't care about school. I didn't care about grades. I just didn't care. This lasted probably from Thanksgiving until school ended on Dec 21. It was not good and I don't ever want to feel like that again. 

So, the things I am doing for my mental health this year. I will be working out regularly and consistently. I have a goal of 3 times a week for January. I will reevaluate that in February. I will meditate and take it very seriously. There were some times (more than a few) where I was just phoning it in. No more. That does more for my mental health than almost anything else. I'm going to work on limiting the cognitive dissonance. I'm going to work on living my life aligned with my values and beliefs. Which means I'm going to put some time into school work. I'm going to go into every class prepared and ready to teach what I'm going to teach. No more winging it. I've said it before and I'll say it again, if I can just get every thing laid out, I can use it from year to year and not have to recreate the wheel every year. Right now, in chemistry, I know what I'm teaching and how I'm going to teach it, but I need to get it ready every year. Time to make it more automatic. I've said for years that I don't want to teach the same thing the same way year after year, but having the curriculum laid out doesn't mean it has to be the same every year. 

So this year will be the year of mental health for me. I'm going to work on my self-care in terms of taking time for me and not being so completely work focused all the time. I need to work when it's time to work, but I also need to play when it's time to play and I seemed to lose sight of that this year. 

So towards that end, we are leaving tomorrow for 2 days in a cabin on Mt. Lemmon. I am looking forward to it for a number of reasons. When I booked it, I was hoping there'd be snow but that doesn't look like it's going to happen. I just checked the weather and there is a 40% chance of snow Thursday morning which is when we will be leaving. I'm really looking forward to having nothing to do and I mean nothing. I'm not taking my computer so I can't be working on my side hustle. I'm taking some books and some dominoes and that is about it. We will explore the mountain top, there is a little village up there that I forget the name of, and we will rest and relax. So looking forward to starting the new year in a restful, peaceful way. 

Okay, that's enough for this year. I'm going to DO something so that I don't have to think about it while we are gone. 

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