2021 Monthly Wellness pReview - February/March
Greetings!In my Instagram posts, I started closing most of them with the tagline:
This is true! I conceptualized Mahogany Manifesto around my personal need for accountability and consistency so that I would stay committed to wellness. Sharing month-to-month wellness reflections is part of that practice. I hope you find inspiration in them.
Click here to read my January/February message.
You'll notice that in both months (January and February), there aren't checkmarks in every single category... and that's ok! Self-care is an active representation of the mantra "progress over perfection." [Keep an eye out for some new merch with that statement coming soon!] Nobody can do everything well all the time. That's not the aim. Effort is all that's required.
When I was eyeball deep in depression in 2019, part of my emotional dilemma was feeling like my life was consumed by other people's needs, demands and expectations. Most days I couldn't tell if I was coming or going. I wasn't nurturing myself consistently.
Pausing to think about my use of time in advance of each week and contemplating how I will devote hours -- even minutes -- to myself across the dimensions of wellness gives me a sense of control when I once felt out of control entirely.
Join me in this process! Share your thoughts by leaving a comment. Check out the different versions of The Daily Manifesto and use it to track your habits.
Here's how February shook out for me...
Overall, this was a pretty good month, if we overlook the havoc that was wreaked by Mercury Retrograde -- OMG! (Kinda kidding, kinda not.)
Meditation for Spiritual Wellness was NECESSARY some days because the Universe was playing games LOL. Really though, when life felt off for a reason that I could not ascertain, I had to get in the habit of slowing down, breathing, resting, repeating affirmations and taking other actions to recenter.
One other way I balanced the haywire feelings was by sticking to my twice-per-month counseling schedule. We have been working on forgiveness and boundaries. I personally have a hard time with forgiveness, especially when I feel like my boundaries are tested again and again by the same people. My counselor has reiterated that if I'm being tested in the same way multiple times by the same people, then that's a sign that I haven't made my boundaries clear enough... Let's just say we're still working on this because I think some people are just selfish. (Prayers are welcome, but at least I'm working on it!)
Yoga on cold days and walks on sunny days served as opportunities for meditation and Spiritual Wellness, too. Stacking your wellness objectives is a great way to leverage one action for multiple benefits. The next time you're doing something you enjoy, think about how it crosses over into multiple dimensions. Sometimes it's just about how you view things.
My Financial Wellness wins were a source of joy. At the end of the month, I realized that I stayed on budget! (This is clearly an area of growth for me since I was so excited/astonished by it.) I saved money and didn't dip back into it. I still treated myself every now and then, like stopping by a coffee shop for a snack. I bought seeds and soil for the garden, which has become a vice, but I didn't go overboard because I assessed all of the materials I had on hand before browsing on Amazon and stopping by Lowe's. I realized that committing to no spend days is helpful.
One of my March goals is to stay on budget AGAIN and to keep saving toward my Roth IRA goal. By the end of February, I was up to 7.5% of the annual Roth IRA limit. Seeing as how I haven't been this regimented toward saving in this account before, I'll take this as an accomplishment. Next month I'll share why I am using my Roth IRA to build up a six-month emergency fund as opposed to a regular savings account.
I think the reason I had a habit of overspending (notice that past tense... I am claiming a new way forward) is because of a common issue: Leveraging retail therapy as a coping mechanism. It was a way to feel like I had a handle on life in the moment. In February, I filled my free time with other things that wouldn't draw me into shopping. I created cozy atmospheres by lighting candles and drinking tea that I already had at home while reading. I completed The Bluest Eye and made significant progress in Freedom Farmers, which is going to be the basis of discussion in a book chat hosted by @growingndgrowthcollective (GGC).
Speaking of GGC, my involvement in the planning and execution of two Zoom events about the past, present and future of Black farming was helpful with keeping me engaged in Social Wellness activities that didn't cost a dime. That's one of the benefits of volunteering -- getting to know new people and expanding your intellectual diet without breaking (or even touching) the bank! I made sure to invite members of my church to the Zoom programs (see -- more wellness stacking) and participated in a brainstorming session that was hosted by the leadership council of my church in part to explore ways that the St. Philip's Lutheran can collaborate with other groups in the community.
Lastly, I stretched my skills and broadened my networks by trying out new social media techniques on the Instagram page and getting to know more professionals in the Columbus area via informational interviews. Maybe it's the Gemini in me, but when I'm not learning something new, I start to feel stagnant and trapped, which leads to feeling bummed out and anxious. Refreshing my skills and networks is keeping my mind active and opening my eyes to new opportunities. I've noticed more follower engagement on the IG page since I started tweaking my posts. This is exciting! The more attention I can draw to wellness and self-care, the better!
At the end of each month, I complete the "Monthly Reflection" worksheet that is part of The Daily Manifesto. It has just a few questions that guide me in thinking about what went well and where I can try something new.
You'll notice quite a bit of carryover, but I am also looking to stretch in a couple areas. Physical Wellness wasn't my top category last month. I was aiming for mindful movement on at least half of the days during February, but I only got in 10. While 10 is better than zero, I know I struggled a bit because I like to take walks and it was still pretty cold. Now that there is a break in the weather, I should be able to get in a lot of steps. However, to ensure this is the case, I am going to try to secure an accountability partner. One thing I always do no matter what is keep my word. If I have check-ins with a friend, I'll stick to it!
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Until next month, stay well! I wish you an overflowing cup!