Healthy Habits in January

Self-care is such a buzz word right now.  It sounds simple and it sounds nice.  Weekly manicures can be justified as a “treat yo’ self” moment and buying new clothes because it’s what your heart wants and all that.  Except sometimes that stuff doesn’t feel good to me and sometimes self-care is more like not getting that manicure because it’s not in your budget and giving yourself a manicure at home can feel good too.  I guess what I’m saying is that self-care can be a case-by-case experience that includes doing what you want when you want but also doing what you should because you need to.

I’m still very much figuring this balance out for myself but over the course of January, I felt like I grabbed a hold of some healthy habits that felt like self-care in their truest form and while I’m not naive enough to think they’re permanent fixtures in my life from now on — I’ve come to realize the pace/pattern of my life changes every time we enter a new season — I want to acknowledge them here at least.

Weekly At-Home Manicures

Good quality nail polish isn’t exactly cheap but it is cheaper to invest in a few (that you can rotate through), than it is to go to the nail salon every couple of weeks.  I’ve been finding a few minutes every Saturday or Sunday to swipe on a fresh coat and my nail strength/overall health seems just as good as when I regularly go to the salon but at a fraction of the cost.

Really Reading

I thought I read a decent amount but I realized the time I spent scrolling my phone or mindlessly watching TV was taking up a lot of what could have been even more reading time.  So instead of getting into bed and spending 20 minutes on Twitter then 10 minutes reading, I just put my phone down and get so much more book time.  It feels like a life revelation and it also feels like the best!

Seeing a Therapist

I’d been wanting to do this for so long.  Not for any reason in particular but just because I’d generally been feeling less in control of my emotions and more prone to losing it (I’ll be honest, I feel like political anxiety was the real tipping point), so I jumped into therapy and guys, I LOVE IT!  Every time I leave my therapist’s office, I feel euphoric and like I might actually be okay 🙂

Hot Power Vinyasa

At the end of the year, I redeemed a free week of yoga at a new studio and sort of fell in love with the Wednesday night hot yoga class.  So I bought an unlimited month and went every single Wednesday in January.  I got so happy and excited every time I signed up.  Going to a hot and sweaty yoga class in the dead of winter might just be the best feeling ever.  I’m legitimately sad that my month has come to an end.

NOT Doing All the Things

We are a society that values productivity and working, working, working and it is so ingrained in my head that I have to be on top of things and always be put together so I’d get home and literally not be able to sit down and chill.  Cut to me feeling exhausted and overwhelmed all the time.  Not that I don’t still sometimes feel like that or try to fit too many things in but over all I feel like I’ve gotten way better at this.  I stopped doing things like trying to go to the gym and cook dinner in the same night or brew kombucha, make granola and watch two hour-long episodes of some show.  Sometimes I don’t have time to make the bed or pick my clothes up off the floor before I leave for work and I’m learning to be okay with it.

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Some January moments that didn’t make the blog cut:

New calendar, who dis? // A lentil lunch salad // Staring into the face of an angel // Pasta dough cross-cut // Snow on a Monday // Tofu and veg but mostly a creamy hemp sauce // Can’t resist a Greek salad // Feet up or bust // Tuesday sunrise ♥

Tuesday Night Soup

Let me tell you a story about a soup that was a disaster but then wasn’t.

I dutifully soaked the beans overnight, thawed buttermilk from the freezer, got onions in the pot as soon as we got home.  An hour later and those beans were still hard, the crispy onions were maybe just a tad bit past crispy, the thyme we subbed for mint was making our entire kitchen smell like dirt.  This dinner had all the makings of an episode of deep disappointment for me.

I read these recipes beforehand, I spend money on the ingredients, I envision myself cooking them, eating them, loving them.  When reality doesn’t live up to my expectations, it can throw me for a real loop and my reactions are not healthy or helpful.  Like eating one bad meal or worse, throwing away one bad meal and having to resort to a Plan B that I never even considered existing, could ruin my life?

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So imagine my shock when I was so chill about that soup.  The beans were NOT “creamy,” the onions maybe tasted a little bit charred, that thyme oil was gross and went down the drain.  And guess what?  The soup was still really good!!!  How?!  Maybe my lax attitude willed it into deliciousness?  Let’s not question these things.

Wouldn’t it be nice if this was a Lesson Learned Moment and I’m now imperceptible to cooking failure disappointment?  I’d like to pretend it is, but I know it isn’t.  I’ll still watch 50 videos on how to make pasta then feel like a failure if I don’t do it to perfection.  I’ll still be upset if I buy an expensive cut of meat and overcook it.  I’ll still be sad if my pancakes stick to the pan and I have to eat toast instead.  But maybe just one less instance here and there is progress.

Recipe: Beans and Green Soup with Salted Yogurt and Sizzled Mint