A look back at some quick highlights of April 2020 - goals, progress & improvements:
A few weeks back, I decided to do 'Alcohol-less April' (made this up myself)- a month free of margaritas, cocktails, and of course, my personal favorite, wine. With COVID keeping all restaurants & bars closed for the past month and no family/friends allowed to come visit, I didn't want to be home drinking by myself (that only leads to overthinking & unneeded calories). So why not do a "comfort cleanse".
NOTE: I don't want it to sound like I'm a raging alcoholic -- I just definitely like a good pour at the end of a stressful day.
Well now that we've finished up day 30, I can happily say that I MADE IT! Not a sip of tequila, vodka or wine in the past 30 days. I did this back in January (see previous 'Dry-uary' post) and felt pretty good after I finished. But I honestly thought this month was harder than January. At the start of the year, I had all the motivation in the world to be healthy & disciplined. This time around, I definitely had more cravings... which I think were largely induced by stress regarding the current circumstances of the world and, put simply, boredom.
All-in-all, 'Alcohol-less April' was a success... even if I had to be shady during a drinking game on a Zoom birthday call with all my coworkers last week. Those "sips" I took were definitely just gulps of sparkly water out of a can. (Happy birthday, Rosie!)
Another goal I set for myself this past month was to log +50 miles out on the trail. I had reached 50.1 miles in March (according to my Nike tracker app) - and I had posted on Instagram that all I wanted to do was exceed that distance. And I did!... with only a few miles to spare. I ended up logging about 57 miles for the month. I found it more motivating to literally write down my miles on a piece of paper instead of just using the app. It's rewarding to see the page fill in up... and identify trends like the fact that I clearly don't like to work out on Fridays (LOL). But I liked this enough, I might even try this again in May.
One thing I definitely struggled with this past month --> the house hunt. I've made zero progress on that front. Mostly because of the pandemic and all the obstacles that have followed... I knew that open houses and such were no longer a possibility and many realtor offices had closed. So I kind of gave up these past few weeks. But I'm hoping to get a lot more done in May - realtor, house searches, lenders, etc. Lot of work to do and not a whole lot of time left on my apartment lease to do it. Yikes.
Now that we're approaching 4 weeks of quarantine, the "new norm" has set in. Traffic is still suspiciously non-existent, most people stay inside all day and those who do go out in public are wearing face masks, the newscast is still dominated by coronavirus coverage and businesses everywhere are shut.
It's easy for me to downward spiral in a time like this. Limited human interaction, lots of (& frankly, too much) alone time, not a whole lot to get excited for, plans/events/activities cancelled... most days it's a struggle for me to find even that natural happiness. Like I've said before, I'm the type of person who thrives on routine.. and coronavirus has thrown every aspect of my life (& many others) out of whack.
Despite all of this, I've done my best to "find the good". Reason being -- even on my bad days, the Good Lord knows I am blessed with far more than I deserve (and Heaven forbid I ever lose sight of that).
Whether it's in my own life, or reading and sharing stories about the helpers & heroes in the lives of others, I've made a conscious effort to seek, highlight and focus on the little bit of good that has come of this crisis.
Personally, one of the positives I've recently realized is how much more I've been able to talk to family. Pre-pandemic, I typically FaceTimed my parents and sister about once a week. Over the past 2-3 weeks, that's been upped to every other day. Even if it's just to find out what they had for dinner or what they bought at Costco the day before, I'm calling. I usually spend Monday morning (my "Saturday") out on my balcony FaceTiming as many friends and family I can before my phone runs out of battery. It's honestly what has kept me sane this past month.
I'm also "finding the good" in spending more time outside. One of the things I struggled with when working the morning shift for +5 years was that the early bedtime really limited my time out in the sunshine, which in turn, hurt my mood. (Never underestimate the power of Vitamin D.) Now that I'm working 50% of my shift from home... I'm finding more time to be out on the balcony and walking the trail. (I've also tried to remind myself that the days of blistering heat & constant sweating are not too far off - all the more reason to enjoy the more "friendly" weather we have now.)
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, I've found more time to read my Bible, watch online sermons & download praise music - more now than ever before. Despite not being able to go to church on Sunday mornings, I feel stronger in my faith and relationship with God. I've really leaned into Him over the past few weeks... praying for just about anyone and everything. (And as Grandma said to me a couple weeks back, "You don't need a church to pray. Gidget [dog] & I got a hotline to heaven, praying for everyone to stay healthy.") AMEN, Grandma. AMEN.
Yes, there are people who are sick, dying, losing loved ones, working +15 hour days, unemployed & hungry -- and for all those people, we pray. We pray for every single one of them.
But I firmly believe that there is a lesson to be learned in every hardship... and I feel God is showing me that His good work is everywhere, even in tragedies.
Find His work... 'find the good.' And let that serve as a reminder to be grateful for all of life's blessings.