March Cleanse: Weeks 2-3

I’m back with a quick check in on my progress! A reminder: This cleanse includes: Belongings, Body, Bank Account, and Brain.

Belongings:

My cleanse in this area has been moving along much more slowly than I thought it would, but I’m being thorough and feel pretty good about the progress I’ve made. I am trying to follow Marie Kondo’s method of clothing, then books and papers, then miscellaneous, then sentimental items. Starting with clothing made sense, and I was able to complete that in the first week. But the books/papers category has really slowed me down. I’m still not really done with it!

Books were easy in terms of knowing what to keep and what to donate (most of them were keep!) but a lot of papers also seem to fall into the “sentimental” category – things like cards, ticket stubs, my race bibs, etc. It’s hard to know how to categorize them. Even harder to figure out creative storage solutions!

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Before

I managed to work through cards. I am keeping them in a basket up on my shelf, but they are now categorized by sender and/or occasion. This is done now, but took time.

I have also gone through my notebooks – both the used and unused books – and managed to sort through those pretty easily.

But now we reach the problem of loose papers. What papers will I need to reference again? What ones can I store digitally instead? Do they need to be visible somewhere? Or can I tuck them away? If I do, how can ensure they are still easily accessible without feeling like clutter? Honestly, I’m still working on finalizing all of this.

Then, just when I thought I was almost out of this books-and-paper stage, my beautiful wall shelves started to collapse! Thank goodness I noticed when I did, actually. They were heavy enough to be slowly pulling the screws right out of the wall! Whoops. Don’t tell my landlord!

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I managed to save them in time, but was honestly devastated. I had worked so hard, I loved the display of books, and now felt like I had moved three steps back. This meant finding a new storage technique for all the books and sentimental items on those shelves. As a result, this then led to a backslide to clothing again, as I ended up using some shelving that previously had clothing on them.

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After

In the end, I like the clothing organization better, actually. I’m not in love with the book display, but it’ll work for the space and money constraints I currently have. And it allows me to move on.

Now I have one week to try to accomplish both Miscellaneous and Sentimental Items! Let’s see how that goes.

Body:

I have felt pretty solid in this category over the past two weeks. My eating, while not really too restrictive, has felt balanced. I don’t know that it’s much of “cleanse” by the typical definition, but for me, just by focusing on making my own meals has really brought awareness to what I’m putting in my body. I typically don’t make a lot of time for this – and it is time-consuming.

I have not been drinking alcohol. I have still been replacing milk with homemade cashew milk or oat milk. I have been trying to simplify my meals, using fewer, but whole ingredients. I’m surprised by how much these simple changes made me feel more balanced and more in control of my body.

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Meal Prep!

A typical day of eating/moving looks like this*:

  • 8:00ish: Commuting to work, walking the whole way, weather permitting (approximately 3.5 miles)
  • 9:00 – 9:30ish: Overnight Oats, made from Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Oats, my homemade cashew milk, a scoop of chia seeds, and a drizzle of real maple syrup, topped with fresh ground peanut butter and blueberries.
  • 10:30ish: Oat Milk Latte, sweetened with honey (if I need the caffeine!)
  • 12:00: 45-minute circuit class or a 3-4 mile run
  • 1:30 – 2:00ish: Salad with spring mix, sliced cucumbers, halved cherry tomatoes, crumbled feta, and crispy roasted chickpeas, drizzled with olive oil (I hate vinegar!)
  • 3:30ish: Apple or Banana with peanut butter
  • 5:30ish: Whole wheat fusilli pasta with sauteed onions, broccoli, mushrooms, and kale, topped with sun-dried tomatoes and freshly grated Parmesan.
  • 6:30 – 8:30ish: Dance rehearsal!
  • 9:00ish: Lara Bar, if hungry
  *If anyone would like a more detailed description of any of the foods above, or would like any recipes, please comment below! I’m not currently focused on food in this blog, but am happy to write a separate post about it if people are interested!

It helps that the weather has been nicer in Boston. I can walk around more, I can feel the fresh air and the sunlight, I’m not craving warm, comforting meals like I do in the winter.

All of this is surprisingly connected to…

Bank Account:

Because of the nice weather, I am walking more frequently to work, which helps with transportation costs. That said, the cost of fresh, organic foods and workout classes really racks up quickly. It frustrates me so much that a healthy lifestyle comes at such a high price tag. Healthy choices shouldn’t be exclusive to those who can afford it. We’re perpetuating a huge societal problem, as well as the rising healthcare costs, in my opinion. If anyone is working on tackling this issue, please share in the comments! I’d love to help spread the word!

A huge problem with my budget was also unexpected future costs that came up this month. I have a few too many bachelorette parties coming up this summer. When did bachelorette parties start costing as much as a small wedding?! Listen friends, I love you, I’m so happy for you, of course I want to celebrate this new stage of your life with you, but why do I need to prove my friendship to you by emptying my bank account? I’ve spent almost an entire month’s rent on parties alone this month! WHAT?! That really hurt my bank account and changed my budget a LOT. It’s given me a lot of anxiety actually, which I’m still trying to sort through.

I’m excited for life’s upcoming adventures, but am definitely feeling like I’m taking away from future endeavors by putting so much money towards these short-term events.

Brain:

Last, but certainly not least, I’ve been working to reduce my screen time and increase my sense of mindfulness.

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I’ve put a limit on my phone to reduce my screen time. That has worked very well! I’m down about 10% from previous weeks. (Shout-out to Apple, by the way, for starting to include this feature on iPhones! It’s not a pretty statistic to see at first, but it’s great for self-awareness and progress!)

Meditation is still a work in progress. As much as I want to make morning meditation work for me, it’s not productive at the moment. I still fall asleep. This may be partially because I don’t have the right space set up to sit comfortably, but not too comfortably. It may also be because I exist in a perpetual state of fatigue and too-little sleep.

I may try meditating mid-afternoon instead. I think it’ll be easier for me to take a few minutes out of my work day to reset. Then, maybe if I start to master that, I can try it again in the mornings/nights. I do still love my walking meditation, too, and I can get into a pretty deep state of meditation after a great yoga class!

Next Steps:

One more week to push through some of these changes, then April will bring new goals and challenges to tackle! Let’s see how it goes!

 

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