January 25, 2018

There were a lot of highs in 2017. I’ll start with that. Rob and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. We marched in the local Women’s March and it was an experience I’ll never forget. We traveled a lot. I got bangs (!). I met a ton of new and interesting people, and I spent time with my beloved friends and family, too. And perhaps most importantly, I feel like I learned a lot more about who I am and what’s most important to me.

That being said, there were a lot of lows this year, too. The news cycle really got to me, and I struggled to figure out how to stay informed without making myself crazy with worry about the state of our world. (I know that will continue to be a balancing act this year, too.) Rob’s sister was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer and had to undergo chemotherapy and a mastectomy for the second time in her life—and she’s only 36. And that learning-more-about-who-I-am thing I mentioned above? It came from a lot of therapy (and a lot of rambling to Rob about all my feelings), which I started up again after feeling down about myself for longer than I’d like to admit.

And then I ended the year by catching a cold bronchitis the flu. Over the course of the three weeks (!!) that I was ill, as I lay in bed moaning to Rob about how crappy and foggy and lethargic and generally awful I felt, I realized that it was basically how I’d felt throughout all of 2017: unhealthy.

So in 2018, my goal is wellness—in all areas of my life. Here’s what I mean by that.

Mental Wellness

For most of 2017, I went to therapy once a week, and it was the best thing I could have done for myself. I made 7 a.m. appointments and would settle into my therapist’s chair and talk about things I’d kept bottled up for years—relationships with family members, fears and anxieties, and most significantly, how much I beat myself up over everything and often fight things that I know will help me (such as keeping lists or sticking to a bedtime, etc.). Through a lot of talking, I began to untangle why I do that—and how I can be kinder to myself and let go of relationships that aren’t serving me. It’s made a huge difference in my outlook and interactions with the people I’m closest to; I still have a long way to go, but I’m committed to continuing this work in 2018.

Another thing I want to do is be protective of my time (Grace at The Stripe wrote a great post about this earlier this week). I’m a “yes” person, because I’ve always placed huge importance on being liked and agreeable, but as I get older, I’ve realized that personal time is very important to me. So I’ve started saying no to a lot of things, choosing instead to stay home with Rob and Rambo, or read, or go to yoga or the park with friends. Now, when I say yes to events or invitations, they’re things I’m genuinely excited about. It’s a nice change.

Physical Wellness

This is a hard one for me to write because it’s so personal (even more personal, for some reason, than everything I wrote above about mental health), but here’s the tl;dr: during the run up to our wedding, my relationship with food got completely screwed up and I still haven’t gotten back to a place where I’m happy with it. In fact, for most of 2017, I just…let myself go. At the end of the year, though, I realized that I needed to make some changes and started seeing a nutritionist and a personal trainer (under the supervision of my primary care doctor), and I’m looking forward to continuing both of those things in 2018.

Ironically, my bout with the flu and my seven-day diet of chicken soup and gallons of water and decaf tea also helped provide some clarity about how important it is to really nourish our bodies. I told someone the other day that I accidentally did an elimination diet, and I have to say, I’ve been thinking a lot more about the way we eat in our house ever since. Rob and I are both also more committed than ever to a vegetable-forward diet, as well as buying produce, meat and eggs from trusted local farmers.

Also: more yoga, more meditation, more cooking whole, clean foods simply for the pleasure of cooking, more unplugging. And I’m happy to write more about all of this in the future if it’s something you all would be interested in.

Financial Wellness

Rob and I often joke that he’s so financially responsible, he could make $100 last for six months, and I honestly believe it’s true. Meanwhile, I am the complete opposite of that. I can drop $100 in about six seconds on specialty ingredients at the grocery store, or on a pair of shoes or a dinner out.

But we have big plans this year, one of them being to save up enough money to buy a house (we’re renting right now). For awhile, it was hard for me to visualize this because it’s not a tangible thing yet (like, um, those Kate Spade heels that are sitting in my closet). But towards the end of last year, something clicked and I’m ready to do this.

I’m not going to lie: this is a tough one for me, because I often buy things for instant gratification and to make myself feel better about whatever’s bothering me (see above). But after a spendy holiday season‚ a hard look at my money habits, and reading Ann Patchett’s lovely and thoughtful piece about a no-shopping year, I’m ready for a financial detox. To that end, we’re going to work with a financial planner this year and I’m really, truly going to make our savings a top priority.

So there you have it: this is how I’m incorporating wellness into my life in 2018. I plan on revisiting this post often, reserving the right to add to it and updating it as needed (because, as we’ve all learned over the past 18 months, sometimes life throws you a curveball). I have some mini goals that fit within each category that I haven’t included here, and I hope to write about those as I work on them, too.

And, oh yeah: writing is a big part of wellness for me. So this year, I plan on being in this space more, too. In fact, I initially planned on having this post up on January 1, but sickness forced me to hit pause on that, and honestly, I’m grateful: I feel like I’ve been able to ease into the year and really think about everything I’ve written down here.

What are your goals for 2018? Do you make resolutions or do you hate them? Do any of these resonate with you? I’d love to know. We’re all in this together.

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