Tag Archives: alcohol-free

20 for 2020: week 14

Week of 30 March

My 20 for 2020 list.

Things continue to change in the world at a rapid rate as the covid pandemic wreaks havoc across the world. More and more people from my work are working at home as we are told to stay at home unless we absolutely have to go out for work, to get food or medical supplies or to exercise (alone or with no more than one other person). People are joking that the world of social distancing and staying home is something introverts have been doing for years, and I can relate to that.

20200401 Bus Mall 1001am

Deserted bus mall being cleaned. The construction work is still going on.

Adding a couple more days to my working from home routine is a welcome relief from the noisy open-plan office (which is remarkably not noisy now, because most people aren’t coming in any more). And the weird thing about that is, I have endured the noise for over two years and now it’s so quiet, it’s unnerving because it’s not supposed to be so quiet. And that makes it hard to concentrate. As opposed to weekends when I’ve gone in to study with no one there and been super-productive because on a weekend it’s meant to be like that. It gives me a real sense of unease to be in there at the moment and I’ll be relieved when I don’t need to go in there any more.

20200330 Macquarie & Harrington St 904am 2

Macquarie Street, Monday 30 March 2020, 9.04 am

However, working from home while there are other people there doing the same thing has its own challenges. It seems to make a big difference, just having other people in the house, to how it feels to be there.

20200330 Stay at home

Front page of the Mercury, Monday 30 March 2020

All very small problems compared to the scale of this issue and the chaos, fear and tragedy it’s causing across the world and I’m sure I will find ways to deal with it. I’m grateful that I still have my job and that my workplace is still a safe place to be.

While the schools were still open this week, they asked us to not send our kids if we were able to supervise their learning at home. With at least one parent at home every day, we were in a position to do that. Kramstable has been working on the material set up by his teachers this week, and I’ve been impressed by his ability to make himself a schedule, that includes breaks, and stick to it each day. School holidays will start a week early to give the schools more time to put learning resources online for next term. The school has been great with its communication and I am really impressed with the work everyone is doing to make this as minimally disruptive to the kids as possible. We’re in for an interesting time over the next few months adapting to new ways of learning.

20200331 Frilly pants edit

I can’t ride to work in these pants but they are brilliant house pants

I am trying to hold myself to as much of a routine as I can in this strange world, which means going on my non-negotiable walk every morning at 5.30 (or thereabouts), doing my 15 minutes of creative work, getting dressed, eating breakfast and having movement breaks during the day whether I’m working at home or in the office. I’ve started to add a morning mindfulness activity into the mix to try and keep myself more grounded but I think I might need to work this in a couple of other times during the day.

I’m rolling with my 20 things as best as I can. One of the big ones was completing 30 days alcohol free on Tuesday (thing 5). I did this in March last year for 19 for 2019 and went straight back to drinking almost as soon as I’d finished. I struggled with maintaining drinking in moderate amounts, in not drinking on weeknights, in not drinking late at night . . . and the result was I was feeling really down on myself for not being able to control myself better. I couldn’t understand why I could easily go without a drink for a month but then rarely go one night after that.

This time I did my 30 days in conjunction with the book The Alcohol Experiment by Annie Grace, which offers you new ways to think about alcohol, why you drink and whether alcohol is really giving you what you want.

20200402 The Alcohol Experiment

The Alcohol Experiment

I was reluctant to try this experiment because I was worried that the result might be I would never want to drink again and (at least I thought) I rather enjoyed drinking. I won’t say too much other than it has completely changed the way I think about alcohol and made me realise that I don’t really want to drink at all right now. Never is a long time, and Annie cautions against committing to never drink again for the rest of your life, so I won’t say I never want to drink again. But right now, especially right now when the temptation might be to drown out the fear and anxiety about what’s happening in the world with alcohol, I don’t want to drink.

The good thing about this book is it asks you to consider what you want to do after the 30 days, not just run you through the 30 days and leave you on your own, which I was when I did my alcohol-free month last year. Being more mindful and informed this year, I think I have a much better chance of not getting back onto that slippery slope that I fell onto last year. For now, I have made the decision not to drink.

20200402 St Davids Park 2

Autumn hasn’t been cancelled

I have been working on my photo project (thing 1) and I’m now into the tidying up stage of it. I’ve been reading before I go to sleep (thing 14), which is not my favourite time to read, but it’s the only time that’s working for me at the moment.

20200401 Walking

Reading about walking

I did a bit more work on my monthly review (thing 22) to try and work out my goals for April. I got a bit lost last week when I did it and am still not sure what I’m tying to do. I feel very unsettled and ungrounded at the moment but I think that’s probably a very common reaction to what’s going on in the world around me, and the fact that the world as I know it is very different to the world I was in this time last month.

20200405 Sunrise Taroona Beach

Walking alone is still allowed

Summary for the week

  • Things completed this week: #5
  • Things completed to date: 7 (4, 5, 6, 10, 15, 16, 18)
  • Things I progressed: 3 (1, 14, 22)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 5 (3, 7, 8, 11, 13)
  • Things not started: 7 (2, 9, 12, 17, 19, 20, 21)
  • Days I stuck to my 15 minutes creative habit this week: 7
  • Days I read a book for at least 15 minutes:  7

19 for 2019: week 12 update

Week of 18 March 2019

I’m really happy looking at my 19 for 2019 list stuck on my wall near my desk. I have six of the 19 things I wanted to do this year ticked off and it’s only March.

I finished my reading goal of 12 books for 2019, including six fiction books (thing 5), in week 11 and I think that might have been a pretty low bar. However, I’m not going to change it. I’ve made reading a habit that I do every morning and I’ve been sticking to it pretty much every day.

I’ve also started reading a few pages in bed before I turn out the light, which is something I always said I hated to do, read in bed. But I think that might have changed because my usual habit has been to be on the computer right up until I’m ready for bed and then crash straight into bed after I turned it off. This month I’ve been turning the computer off an hour before the time I’ve set as my bedtime so I’ve had some time before I feel ready to go to sleep to read. As well as that, on some days I’ve been finding pockets of time where I’ve sat down with one of the (four) books I have on the go and read a few pages then too.

So yes, I am reading more, and I’m keeping my reading list updated here if you’re interested.

I’ve now completed 24 of my 30-days alcohol-free challenge (thing 13) and it’s going well. As part of this, I’ve been tracking my energy every hour for the last three weeks. I’m still not sure whether I can draw any conclusions about what my “biological prime times” might be (you can read about that here), since I think the first week and a half at least are unreliable due to the fact I was in the process of getting used to being alcohol (and coffee) free. But looking back over the day to day averages, I can say for sure my energy levels as a whole have increased over the month. I don’t even need the spreadsheet to tell me that. I’ve felt more energetic than I did before, more motivated and more able to get things done. (This is not going to stop me tinkering with the spreadsheet and making some graphs and analysing it to death once the month is over . . . )

This week’s numbers:

Day 18 (Monday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 17,315 | Bedtime: 10.15

Day 19 (Tuesday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 15,874 | Bedtime: 10.15

Day 20 (Wednesday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 18,720 | Bedtime: 10.00

Day 21 (Thursday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 23,001 | Bedtime: 10.00

Day 22 (Friday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 16,163 | Bedtime: 10.00

Day 23 (Saturday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 17,055 | Bedtime: 9.55

Day 24 (Sunday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 16,268 | Bedtime: 9.55.

As for the other things, here’s how I went in week 12.

Photo course (thing 1): I submitted some photos that I took last week for assignment 16.20190317 Wrest Point Casino 2-Edit

Walk from Taroona to Moonah (thing 3): I did this last Sunday but I’ve now written a blog post about it if you want to check out the full story and some photos.

Wellbeing work (thing 6): I have done a lot of reading and note-taking and planning of ways to bring more vegetables into my diet. The next step is to actually follow through. Always my stumbling point!

Photojournal (thing 11): I printed the last four collages on Monday and have stuck 26 into the book to complete the first book. 26 to go and I’m done!

33 Beers book (thing 12): I entered book 9 into the spreadsheet. One more to go (and the one currently in progress).

Bucket List book (thing 18): I’ve added a couple more things to the draft list. I know I’m probably missing the point with this book. I should just write the things in there and get on with doing them rather than making a list and then working out what to put in and what to leave out. It’s just a book, after all. And if I end up getting them all done I can always get another book . . . I don’t need to limit myself to 100 things.

Lightroom (thing 19): I’ve been editing some photos on the desktop version instead of on my phone.

Status for week 12

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed: 6 (3, 5, 7, 8. 9, 15)
  • Things I progressed: 7 (1, 6, 11, 12, 13, 18 19)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress:  2, 16,
  • Things not started: 4 (4, 10, 14, 17)

19 for 2019: week 10 update

Week of 4 March

Well, things took an unexpected turn this week, with a no-coffee experiment being unexpectedly thrown into the mix. You can read about that in Saturday’s post.

Everything else is going slowly, with my main focus this month on getting more sleep, avoiding alcohol (thing 13), and doing at least 15,000 steps a day for the Cancer Council’s March Charge fundraiser.

To get more sleep, I’m attempting to move my bedtime back from sometime between 11pm and midnight to closer to 10pm, with my interim goal being 10.45. I achieved this every day last week, and most of those days I was in bed well before 10.45 but decided to read for a bit before I went to sleep, so the times I’ve recorded are the times I’ve turned the light off, not the actual time I was in bed.

I’ve also been trying to turn my computer off no later than 9.45, to give myself an hour of screen-free time. That has been less successful, so I’m looking at things I can do to make it easier to do.

Here’s last week’s tracker:

Day 4 (Monday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 15,618 | Bedtime: 10.45

Day 5 (Tuesday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 15,421 | Bedtime: 10:45

Day 6 (Wednesday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 28,311 | Bedtime: 10.45

Day 7 (Thursday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps:19,963 | Bedtime: 10.30

Day 8 (Friday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 16,775 | Bedtime: 10.45

Day 9 (Saturday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 15,825 | Bedtime: 10.45

Day 10 (Sunday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 15,916 | Bedtime: 10.15

I’m also tracking my wakeup time and my computer off time, as well as keeping an hourly record of what I’m doing and what my energy levels are as Chris Bailey describes in Chapter 3 of The Productivity Project. The purpose of this is to determine what my times of highest energy are so I can make sure I’m working on the things that are most important to me at these times. After ten days, the results are inconclusive. There were a couple of unusual things that probably threw a couple of days’ results off, and Chris also notes that if you’re making a switch to no alcohol and no caffeine, the first few days might not be entirely accurate as your body adjusts to being without those stimulants. So I’m planning to keep this up for a month and see if things become more consistent later in the month.

So much tracking!

20190308 Waterfront from Mac 2 3 edit

A morning walk

Onto other things on the list.

  • Photo course (thing 1): I watched two videos (day 17 and 18) but haven’t done any more assignments.
  • Reading (thing 5): I finished three books this week, one fiction and two non-fiction (The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey and The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz). I’ve now read 12 books this year but the brief was six of them had to be fiction and I’ve only read five fiction books, so I don’t consider this thing to be complete.
  • Wellness program (thing 6): I guess cutting out alcohol and coffee should contribute to reducing my stress levels and helping me stay calm, even though they are not specific issues that have been covered at this time. My main focus is on building up strategies I can call on when I get overwhelmed so I can better deal with those situations. I haven’t done a lot this week.
  • 2018 photojournalism (thing 11): I stuck a couple of collages in the book.
  • Beer books (thing 12): I entered one more book into the spreadsheet so I’ve finished six books, with four to go.
  • Explore a track on kunanyi (thing 15): I already did this in February but I got another opportunity this week to accompany a group of kids from Kramstable’s school on a day bushwalk on the Pipeline Track so I can tick this one off again!
    20190306 01 View from the Pipeline Track edit

    Pipeline Track, kunanyi

    20190306 07 View of the Mountain from the Waterworks edit

    Looking back at kunanyi from the Waterworks after the Pipeline Track walk

  • Lightroom (thing 19): I haven’t done anything specifically new; I’m just getting familiar with it by using it.

Status for week 10

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed: 4 (7, 8. 9, 15)
  • Things I progressed: 7 (1, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 19)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 2 (2, 16)
  • Things not started: 6 (3, 4, 10, 14, 17, 18)

30 days alcohol-free: day 21

All is well.

This is probably the longest stretch that I haven’t had alcohol since I was pregnant – in 2006. I’m quite liking feeling tired at a one-digit hour rather than keeping myself a bit wired and staying up until midnight or later. This morning I got out of bed at my normal time (this is what Slabs calls the middle of the night) unexpectedly easily because I was looking forward to the new part of my morning routine (learning a new skill – more on that later).

I read somewhere that every hour of sleep you get before midnight is worth two hours after midnight. If this is true then I’m definitely getting my 8 hours sleep now. Haha.

I’ve also noticed I sometimes feel a bit hungry when I go to bed, which I never did if I’d had a few drinks in the evening, and I’m hungry earlier in the morning than I usually am.

I’ve been feeling a bit nostalgic for Friday evening drinks, particularly after I’ve picked up Kramstable and we’re heading home, and I will admit to occasionally thinking how many days it is until I can have a beer. I even know what I’ll have when this challenge is over. But these thoughts have passed pretty quickly and, on the whole, I don’t feel like this has been a very big deal.

That said, June’s a quiet month and we haven’t gone out much. I wonder if it would be this easy if this was a month with lots of birthdays or social events.

Nine days to go!

30 days alcohol-free: Day 16

I’ve passed the half way mark of 30 days alcohol-free, the first challenge of my #steppingonthecracks project. It’s been easier than I expected. I haven’t really felt much like having a drink, and times when I have I haven’t felt so strongly about it that I’ve had to do something to distract myself.
This surprises me, because I thought drinking alcohol was a fairly deeply ingrained habit, especially on weekends.That said, it’s been a quiet month so far, we haven’t gone out much and I haven’t had much temptation thrust at me.

The main benefits to date have been that I haven’t been wanting to stay up late, even on weekends, which had been a consequence of “just one more” glass of wine at midnight when Rage was on. And because I haven’t had “just one more” I haven’t had those days when I’ve woken up with that slightly seedy feeling, knowing that “one more” was one too many.

So it’s going well so far.

As today is the 15th, it’s the date I’m supposed to be starting my second challenge. I have a bit of preparation work to do but I’ll be posting about it in the next day or two.

30 days alcohol-free: day 11

Day 11 of my 30 days with no alcohol. (I started on 31 May, and it’s 30 days, not #noboozeJune.)

So I survived Saturday, a day I’d normally have several drinks, and Sunday, when we had a pub meal with friends. Everyone else was happy because they had a designated driver. I wondered if I’d feel like I was missing out when everyone else was drinking. I didn’t. It didn’t bother me one little bit. I didn’t pay any attention to the fact that other people were drinking and it was no problem at all. I was a bit surprised by this.

There was no Farm Bar to taunt me on Sunday, and the next day I was back to school nights. The only potential for slipping during the past week was on Thursday, when we went to the winter garden party at Willow Court that was held in conjunction with the opening night of Dark Mofo. There were several local beverage producers on site. I wasn’t super-tempted when we first got there, but then our night was unexpectedly cut short, so any opportunity for me to fail in this challenge was gone.

I’m now one-third of the way through my first challenge, and am about to start on my first more introspective challenge. I’ll be posting my thoughts on the book that has inspired this challenge over the weekend, and then a post about what I’m thinking the challenge will look like before I start it on the 15th.