✣ Rejuvenating-List and Respecting Boundaries
It was gloomy all over the week. The rain kept falling from dusk till dawn, and the sky was cloudy all day long on some days. This post will be the last publication of January, as the month is almost over.
Overall, the last week of January felt like a transitioning period. The landing was turbulence as a real closure to 2022. There was a lot of compression and decompression on the bumpy road, but I was okay and alive at the end of the runway. Thankfully the last week of January was rejuvenating.
I have identified elements of a rejuvenating week for me. Usually, when the list below is fulfilled within the week, I will be left feeling refreshed. They are:
Learning or trying something new.
Quality time with close ones.
Learning or trying something new
One day, I wondered why I constantly felt like throwing up after drinking a lot of water. Upon looking up here, I learned that it might be caused by electrolyte imbalance, which could lead to water intoxication. It was caused by the inability of the kidney to keep up with the fluid level in the bloodstream, essentially washing away the sodium and making the kidney work extra harder, putting more stress on the body, thus, nausea. The condition was described as hyponatremia.
The next day, I tried something new: adding salt to my water and coffee — 1/2 teaspoon to a liter of water and a liiiiitle amount to the coffee. The addition of salt to water essentially created an electrolyte drink. Some recipes suggest adding lemon or honey for taste. It felt better as my throat didn't feel as dry after consuming a lot of water. I also monitored my blood pressure, and the amount of salt added was still okay.
I was about to exercise drawing, then on a whim, I tried Instagram Live for the first time this week. I just start recording myself drawing without saying anything. I didn't even know if anyone was watching. Here's the video if you're curious (and have 1 hour to waste).
I was glad that I got to draw a lot this week. Since early this year, I have committed to sit down and draw for 45-60 minutes to exercise the intuition, intellectual, and muscle memory aspects of drawing. The exercise was called iterative sketching, where I drew a topic/subject over and over again until I got it somehow. This week I rebuilt my understanding of figure drawing (e.g., using the Loomis method to draw heads), proportion, and shading materials. Here are some of the sketches from this week.
Aside from drawing, I wrote a lot this week, be it for work or personal notes. Two years ago, writing for 1000+ words in 30 minutes was unfathomable. Just how? Nowadays, I feel like words flow far more easily. The next step is to nail down the editing to make my writing far more efficient, and after that, my target is to ace engagement — experimenting with writing perspective to make the piece more interesting. With the current rate of daily writing exercise, I believe in the coming years, my writing will be improved some more. Meanwhile, I will keep reading On Writing Well by William Zinsser and keep practicing the muscle.
Continuing the creative spark of indie game development. Since 2021 I've been trying to develop my own game, initially as a means to learn 3D modeling. However, I was getting more interested in the game development aspect; writing the story, tinkering with the mechanics, and coding part. Scope creep quickly happened, so this week, I broke the scope down and re-scope so that it would be manageable for a solo game developer hobbyist like me.
Quality time with close ones
I was committed to spending the weekend with my family, and it felt good to focus on this. One afternoon this week, I also took my son to play outside. Observing my son being silly made me think so many things don't have to be that serious. He reminded me not to take myself too seriously as well.
Aside from the weekly planning, zero-ing inboxes, and migrating my bookmarks to Readwise, I got to do some to-dos tidying up and breaking down my plans to be even more granular and clustered well. Using the canvas model helps me break down and group the tasks to make sense of the scale and chunk the focus. I will keep using this plan breakdown technique moving forward.
Power nap is my favorite energy management activity. Fifteen minutes are enough to refresh me for the rest of the afternoon without relying too much on caffeine. After caffeine abuse in the last three weeks, my energy rhythm has become unpredictable, so I'm slowly reestablishing the pattern by putting the caffeine when it was allowed and easing in more power naps for the in-between hours.
On top of naps, I am also returning to my regular exercise and sleep schedule with a much more forgiving goal. It helps to regain momentum and fuel the energy to push through the day.
This week indeed felt rejuvenating to me. It seems that pinpointing ways to rejuvenate oneself and optimize it is one of the excellent ways to self-care. I was inspired by this diagram which made sense to have a system to care for ourselves. This diagram might be helpful for someone getting started to develop their wellness system.
Detaching from work and communicating boundaries
In the last post I experimented with using https://rep.ly/arieare to gather questions (anonymous/not). There was one interesting question:
When you want to detaching from work, have you ever turned out still constantly think about it? how'd you solve it?
Let's be real. Sometimes I think about work when I shouldn't. Having clear boundaries helps me to be more aware that it's not supposed to be the norm.
I found that, for me, setting boundaries is about communicating clearly and repeatedly so that our counterparts would understand and we start to believe in it too. Clarity will lead to mutual respect.
I learned from parenthood that the success rate of everyone respecting the boundaries was improved by sticking to them consistently. Make sense since consistency will help to form a pattern that will be easier to comprehend.
For example, I have a "rule" to remove our shoes inside the house. However, we weren't too consistent in sticking to it. Sometimes I allow my son to do it, and sometimes I do it myself. The boundaries become inconsistent and the rule is getting hard to be understood. It was hard for all parties involved to believe in and respect it.
Back to boundaries for work – nonwork, professionally, it is often called "managing expectation." I blocked the time when I would be easing out from work in my calendar and adjusting my work status on multiple channels as a way to communicate boundaries repeatedly. I also sometimes reply to out-of-working hour queries and use it as another chance to re-establish the boundaries.
I also identify work with specific signals. For example, I wear a watch that I can quickly switch the strap on. I have a watch strap made of brown leather that I use only for work. Outside work, I will switch it with a rubber or nylon strap. The switching act signals that "I am no longer at work."
Some might use similar tricks, albeit unconsciously, like having different clothes for work and when at home or using the commuting time to transition from work to nonwork — which was getting more complicated during the WFH situation. During WFH, I used specific signals by containing my work in a particular area in my house. So when I leave the room, my mind automatically switches to nonwork mode.
The signifier and repeated communication sound silly and seem tiring, but it works on the subconscious until I believe that I no longer have to think about work at the end of the working hours.
❖ Questions to you
How's your January overall?
What's your rejuvenating week look like?
What are your work-nonwork boundaries, and how do you establish them?
✻ Questions to me
I'm experimenting with a Q&A to gather anonymous/non-anonymous questions. The Q&A might be a basis for the next publication post, so if you have questions about the void, share them with me here https://rep.ly/arieare.
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