February 2nd: Happy New Year

So, I’m not going to be posting a lot of (or any) “diet talk” to my blog here, but I am making some pointed changes to the way I eat that I hope will have some beneficial effects in regulating my mood and executive function. I’m excited about how it’s going so far, though admittedly the biggest effects right now at the start are from general optimism and a better sense of structure to my day.

I read a thing on Facebook about January being basically a practice month for the rest of the year. I’ve decided to embrace that notion. For me, 2016 began yesterday. Kind of weird to realize that we watched Groundhog Day as part of a New Year’s movie marathon, and here I am observing the start of the new year in early February.

I’m working on changing some of my worse habits, not through a process of denial and self-castigation but by finding other things that scratch the same itch. During the big snowstorm, one of the reasons I wound up digging out the front and back doors was that I discovered that shoveling snow off the porches triggered the same impulses in my mind that doing an achievement-based video game does, where every little bit I do is followed by the realization that if I go a *little bit further*, I’ll have accomplished some milestone or benchmark.

This is the way that I wind up frittering away hours (or occasionally, days) when I meant to take a quick 30 minute break, or play a little bit before going to bed, often playing the same games that I’ve played through a dozen times before.

I’ve got no intention of giving up video games, but I would like to use my time better. So yesterday when I felt the urge to close the document I was wrestling with and do something else for a bit, I defrosted our aging and ice-encrusted freezer instead of loading up Don’t Starve or Terraria.

Not only is doing a physical activity in the real world more actually rewarding than building my 1,000th digital tree fort, but the fact that there’s a physical toll and feedback from the effort makes it harder to lose track of time or get completely sucked into the “just a little bit further…” mentality. I spent a reasonable amount of time yesterday away from the computer, doing something that engaged my brain just enough, and then went back to resume the creative work I’d hit a block on.

There’s no shortage of such things around the house that really need to be done, either. The freezer has needed defrosting since before I moved here. I’ve known it’s needed it. It was getting to the point that we had lost basically the equivalent of shelves of usable space, and the ice build up makes the whole thing less efficient. But somehow it both never felt like I had the time, and I never felt a sense of ownership over the situation. I think that’s because I moved here before the previous inhabitants had finished moving out (they still haven’t completely), so I feel a bit more like a squatter in someone else’s home. The feeling gets stronger the farther I get away from my own rooms, and the kitchen is about as far as it gets in terms of distance traveled to get there.

So, this is the year I’m taking charge of my time and my space.