June 21, 2019

My Big Focus for the Summer and the Plans to Make It Happen

Happy Summer! (I double checked my calendar, and I have it right this time, haha)

As the first official day of summer, the Runs for Cookies Summer Run/Walk Challenge has begun. It's not too late to join in--here is the post that explains it all and here is a link to join the private Facebook group to share all about your runs or walks throughout the challenge.

Over the past several months, I've been thinking a lot about my physical goals as well as my mental goals. In 2017, I had such a great year (after my breakthrough in therapy, my bipolar diagnosis, and being put on the correct meds). I spent the rest of the year finding true happiness and doing whatever I could that made me feel genuinely peaceful with my life. It was fantastic.

In 2018, I started losing sight of that focus. I began to worry about gaining weight and I started to be more careful of my diet (which, consequently, caused me to gain more and more). I started worrying about what people would think (whereas before, in 2017, I didn't give a shit what anyone thought of me at all). I started to lose that peace that I'd worked so hard for in 2017.

My medication right now has my mental health in a very stable place. In fact, it feels "boring"--which, from what my psychiatrist has said, means the medication is working. I'm not feeling the high of hypomania or the low of depression (thank God). Hypomania has its perks, but the negatives outweigh the positives. So, stability is the aim of my meds and it's working.

Now that I am feeling stable, I've decided to make this summer of 2019 a time to really work on one main focus: HEALTH. This includes physical health, but also mental health, and even relationship, finance, and job health. In a nutshell, this is what I'd like:

Physical Health

To be at peace with my body exactly the way it looks (whether that's at this weight or if I should gain or lose weight).

Diet* (I will write more about diet later in the post).

Taking vitamins.

Exercising** (which I'll also write more about later in the post).

Wearing sunscreen, always.

Flossing my teeth daily (I have no problems with brushing, but flossing is something that I have always had a hard time making a daily habit).

Living a more active lifestyle in general the way that I used to.

Continuing to stay sober of alcohol (almost six months now!).

Get a check-up with my doctor and have bloodwork to see my health numbers, including vitamins.

Mental Health

Taking my meds on a regular schedule (I'm very good about this already).

Cutting out caffeine, with the exception of a modest amount of tea.

Writing in a journal daily, even if it's just one or two sentences. I have a "One Line A Day" journal that will be perfect for this.

Do a few brain puzzles each week. I love the Lumosity app, so I'll use that as well as the old-fashioned logic puzzles in a book.

Read more books (I'm not going to set a number goal for this, but I'd like to aim for at least 15+ minutes per day).

Do some crafts that make me happy (crochet or knit, wood work, bullet journal, sew).

Live my life the way that makes me happy, and screw what anyone else thinks.

Read a chapter a day from my Bible (I used to this daily, but after getting through Leviticus, I started losing the faith that I'd been hoping to gain, hahaha).

Continue to feed the birds and squirrels (I look forward to feeding them every day and it makes me feel happy).

Find new ways to relieve anxiety. I have a no-fail relief of a specific game on Lumosity--it's super fast-paced and it's impossible to think about anything other than the game, so I forget my anxiety while playing.

Relationship Health

Spend more quality time with Jerry and my kids--family game night, family movie night, walks in the evenings, etc.

Get in touch with a few old friends and make plans to get together and catch up.

Work on being more affectionate with Jerry (hugs, kisses, cuddles, etc). His "love language" is Physical Touch, which was last on my own list of The 5 Love Languages, so it's hard for me. It's not that I'm repulsed by affection, it's just that it never occurs to me to give him random hugs and kisses. We each took the Love Languages test and read the book, and you can read about our results here.

Write a letter to each of the kids and share how proud I am of them.

Use the phone more and texting a little less. Talking on the phone is hard for me for some reason, so I'd like to call up my friend Sarah in Arizona to chat, or some other friends that live around the country.

Make it a point to spend more time with my parents, siblings, in-laws, and especially my niece and nephew.

Take Eli fishing in a new place, and take Noah somewhere pretty where he can take photos.

Financial Health

Continue to live on our budget that got us out of debt.

Build our savings account (I'm aiming to add another $1,500 to it during the summer).

Plan our meals and grocery shop accordingly to stay under our grocery budget.

Dine out very rarely (maybe once a month).

Cut out unnecessary costs again (I did this when we first started our budget, but I'd like to take another look).

Save up for a new front porch.

Job Health

(Note: I get a some flack here for not having a "real" job, but to me, my job is very real. I am a stay-at-home mom and wife--unpaid, of course--and I earn money from blogging. I am also a volunteer cross country coach for 3rd through 5th graders. I'm very happy with this lifestyle. Well, other than the 2-1/2 to 3 hours of driving per day during the school year!)

Create a regular "chore chart" rather than just winging it. I'd like to make a weekly list of things that need to be done regularly and assign the tasks for particular days.

Write more frequently on my blog, and try to start a schedule to post on particular days.

Reply to emails more frequently. Right now, my inbox dates back to April (!) and I feel bad about it. Seeing emails that I haven't replied to yet causes me anxiety, and that can be solved very easily by taking time to reply to a few each day. For now, my plan is to reply to 2+ per day.

Write out a schedule for ALL of these plans I've written about above so that I don't get overwhelmed. Take it one day at a time.

If I have some free time, I'd like to go back and optimize photos on past posts.

Find a new place to host photos for my blog where I can edit them without deleting them and re-uploading them.

Create a plan for the cross country kids this year. Renee is not going to be coaching with me (she took a job as the middle school cross country coach) so I want to be as organized and prepared as possible to do it on my own.

So, those are plans I have for working on my health this summer. Diet and exercise seem to be in a bigger category of their own, so I'll write more about them as I get things figured out. I'm torn between wanting structure and wanting freedom.

*For right now, I think I'd like to have more freedom about my diet (which is what I've been doing for the last several months). I basically don't have any "rules" and I've been doing good with it. Yes, my weight is up, but I'm okay with that. I haven't gained any weight in a long time--I've been staying between 160 and 165 without trying make any changes.

That said, I would like to aim to drink more water (3+ quarts per day), to eat according to my body's cues, and pay attention to the foods that make me feel good versus the foods that make me feel bad. Then, obviously, avoid the foods that make my body feel bad.

**When it comes to exercise, I'm going to attempt to do my summer checklist for the Summer Run/Walk Challenge. I will follow the walking plan, but if I feel inclined to run now and then, I'll do that. I would like the structure of a plan for exercise so that I can make sure that I follow through, but I don't want to be so rigid that I resent it. I think walking is a good choice for right now.

Today, I started by walking from spring into summer at the State Park with Joey. It's a three mile loop, and I walked the first two loops, and then something possessed me to run the third mile. It was hot and very hard to run with Joey pulling on the leash, but I managed to do it. I loved the spontaneity of it.

This was my best attempt at getting a selfie with Joey. He was just way too excited to look at the camera.

I would also like to do nightly walks with the family (including Joey) all summer. The kids love doing this, especially when it's dark outside. We don't go far (just around the neighborhood, anywhere from 1/2 mile to a mile) but it's nice to get outside and chat with the family without distractions.

I think with these plans, I'm going to have a busy summer--in a good way! And I think that focusing on my health will automatically help with my anxiety which lies dormant, waiting to jump out when I least expect it.

By the end of the summer, I hope to be feeling my healthiest and happiest :)


  1. For your email goal- you might want to look at what is called "zero inbox". It can be a bit of effort to get set up, but the end result is that emails that you need to keep are organized into their own folders or categories, and there is nothing or just 1-2 things in your actual inbox at a time. It is much less overwhelming to look at, and helps me remember to reply to the ones that I really need to reply to.

  2. AnonymousJune 21, 2019

    Oh Katie, no wonder you stopped after Leviticus! It’s a lofty goal to read the Bible, but some of the Old Testament books can be challenging. I’ve struggled to stay awake at times. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be read in order;) I recommend reading Proverbs first; there are 31 chapters, so it works out nicely as a one chapter per day pace(and it has awesome advice!). Then maybe head to Psalms or the New Testament:)

    Thanks for listing all these goals for us! I always find your transparency so refreshing and motivating and think I may challenge myself to write out some goals to work on too!

  3. Do you get your kids to do chores? Now they are off school they have time to do 'useful' stuff with you or projects of there own. Parenting is such an important part of your day. One of my kids is making a clay elephant at the moment, it's a challenge not to do it for her.

  4. Katie - for your journal goal, I'm pretty sure you were mentioning a physical journal. Just wanted to share that I use Day One (dayoneapp.com) for journaling from iPhone/Mac computer. I ADORE it. I started it quite randomly and it's now been a daily habit for years. I love having the view into the past from my journal.

  5. I love how you set goals and share them. You also started on the first day of summer. Maybe having seasonal goals is good as opposed to yearly goals. I recently read something about monthly challenges and thought that would be cool. A month of abstinence - could be shopping, eating out, or including something healthy in your routine such as weights, walking, a certain diet. The 30 days gives you time to establish a habit and you can see if it is worthy of continuing.

    Thanks again for sharing.. you continue to inspire.

  6. People who don’t appreciate the unpaid work of stay at home parents are seriously misinformed. I hope you have a wonderful summer!

  7. Sounds like its going to be a great summer! :) These are all amazing goals!


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