I’ve been sucked in by Autumn. It’s true.  The season is an absolute vortex, you know it too, don’t you (luckily not of the polar variety that we had last winter…)?

On one hand, I love fall; the colors, the crisp air, the rustling of leaves (that I no longer have to rake!) and all things pumpkin-flavored make it one of my favorite season. But I have to admit — there’s a looming melancholy that accompanies it.  

Like a lot of folks, I don’t deal all that well with the decreasing amount of sunlight (especially these past few weeks, where rain and cloudy skies have been the norm) and find myself losing motivation.  And more than that — while I hesitate to call it Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), it definitely messes with my mood. It isn’t too too well known, but depression is present in my family tree and it has hit me as well. I’ve dealt with it — therapy and meds — and  am doing really well, but this time of year always makes me rethink my state of mind.

Part of it is simply a strong desire to take stock of where I’m at and where I need to go. A slowing down of activity and, in some ways, the moment for a fresh start as well. It’s like it’s time to simplify my life and slip into hibernation mode with a clean slate. Does that make any sense? I’m not even sure it makes sense to me, either. I want to grab hold of the last of the nice weather and make the most of our time together, but then I want to be ready for all the comforts of winter:  good books to read, sleepy dogs to snuggle with and hot drinks to sip and warm my hands with.

I will say that I’m managing better than usual. More than anything, I’ve got a mindfulness about myself that’s been invaluable. I don’t have all the answers, but I’m absolutely certain of some facts:  sweat removes more than salt from my body. Nutritious, healthy food nurtures my soul. Music, books and downtime heal and soothe my spirit. And as much as hibernation is oh so necessary for my mental health, I also need to nourish my social side so it survives intact until Spring.

And so, I keep on keepin’ on. It’s more of a challenge, but I’m doing it and will continue to fight the good fight (cliché much?). Practicing simplicity in as many parts of my life as possible: sleep, wake up, breathe, be grateful for the breathing, be productive, train hard, eat whole foods, relax and rest. It’s that easy.

It’s the last quarter of 2014 — hard to believe, isn’t it?  October always seems to spring up on me like it was waiting around a corner to pounce when I wasn’t looking.

Now, remember all those months back?  At the beginning of the year?  You know, when the Midwest was in the middle of The Never-Ending Winter?  I made a bunch of resolutions and I think it might be time to check in on them — see what work I need to fit in during the last 3 months of the year so I feel all successful and everything.  So, here goes nothing:

A three-quarters-of-the-way-there review of my 2014 goals … 

  • Focus on the last 6 months of Lean Eating. Well, round two of Lean Eating is going reasonably well, though I need to buckle down and really follow the habits.  Just like last time, once the habits became food-related (5 servings of vegetables, lean protein with every meal, etc) I kind of fall off the wagon because it’s inconvenient to eat that way.  Of course, the point of this program is to not only make good food convenient, but do it in such a way that it’s somehow even more convenient than shoving a Poptart down my throat.
  • Start posting on my blog daily again. Um, yea. This hasn’t happened (obviously!), but at least I’m posting here sporadically. Right?
  • Attend at least two Lean Eating Google Hangouts a month. I’m participating more than last time, but I’ve also tapered off a bit and need to throw myself back into the game.
  • Schedule at least one call with Coach Veronica Jen. I’ve been emailing Coach Jen about every other week or so.  I probably need to up that to once a week, though, and really start asking for help.
  • Read 20 books. Done! 56 books read so far this year!  And, I’m proud to say that I’ve also been reading a fair amount of non-fiction, too, which has been a good thing. I think I feel smarter.  Do I sound smarter?
  • Do more dog training. This is ongoing and the dogs, after a rough patch, are doing well again. Next in line is training Belle that Clarke is allowed anywhere in the house, even if she considers it “her spot”.  Because, really, all the spots are MINE, right? I’m in charge, right? Until she starts working and bringing in money, she doesn’t own anything (someone just needs to convince her of this fact…).
  • Journal, follow progress of goals and write just a little about each day. Still at this, though not on a daily basis.
  • 5k steps on weekdays, 10k steps on weekend. Over the summer I started walking a whole lot as a precursor to starting running again and that’s really improved my step count.  Most weeks I’ll hit the 55k mark, which makes me happy.
  • TV can go on no earlier than 6pm on weekdays. I don’t really pay attention to this much anymore, but I’m doing better at not watching as much TV on the whole, though. Without full-blown cable service anymore, I don’t have many mindless go-to shows/sports to put on.
  • Do a month of not falling asleep to the TV as an experiment. Yea, I tried this a few times and while it isn’t awful to not have the TV on, I find that I seem to fall asleep faster when compared to listening to music or having nothing on.
  • More music! Need to get back to this, but am finding it more difficult to find the time.  In the car I’m usually listening to a book and when I run I’ve been listening to podcasts.  I do blast the music when I’m strength training, though, and I’ve also been putting the headphones in at work sometimes as well.  All’s not lost!

One of Belle’s many spots

So, not too bad, actually.  And for the rest of the year?  More of the same, really. Keep on keepin’ on.