For the people who have been reading my blog for a while now, you may recognise the title… Yep, my monthly reflection is back! Or well at least, this is my attempt for a comeback.
The last time I wrote one of these was back in early 2022 before my life turned upside down, throwing me a little out of sync.
A habit that I did pick up instead was daily personal journalling, which I needed to do at the time to untangle my chaotic thoughts without an audience.
I still write in my journal today, but I was keen to start publicly writing again, especially in line with my intention to share more positive news out into my corner of the internet and where’s a better place to start than here? 😄
Kicking off 2024
It was the first time in my whole life that I didn’t celebrate the Christmas holidays back home in the UK. After a whirlwind of a year, I wasn’t entirely in the best headspace in December contributed by personal events as well as feeling burned out after one of the most exhausting years of work ever.
The last thing I wanted was to fly back to colder and darker days, so I opted for the opposite: staying where I am in Greece, and focusing on quieter days to get my head right.
I was grateful to have celebrated the beginning of the year with good friends visiting me in Athens. Watching fireworks over the Acropolis was extraordinary, and very different to watching them kick off from a hill overlooking the small city of Sheffield.
To finish the night, we also went traditional Greek dancing on the streets of Monastiraki and got to bed before 2 AM—my ideal.
One of the things I fell in love with in Greece was the more laid-back, relaxed and fun culture. I think that it was definitely what I needed after what felt like years in my early twenties of working super hard in all aspects of life. I’ve reaped the benefits of the culture in the last year, but I also began to notice that staying up late and drinking was taking a toll on me.
On top of the excessive drinking, I also reduced my exercise routine to sleep in more after a heavy night. Once in a while, this was fun and fine, but I found myself getting into a bad daily habit that I needed to take control of.
The only way for me to do this was to go for a hard factory reset. What this has looked like for me:
- No alcohol – as of the date of publishing this, I’m 46 days sober!
- A better sleep routine – sleep early, aim for 7-8 hours and wake early. There have been some days I’ve stayed up either working or meeting friends, that’s okay, but the majority of the time I’ve prioritised sleep.
- Drinking 2L water a day – not just coffee, but water. Darn Greece and its amazing coffee 😆
- Taking vitamins – Magnesium before bed has changed my life
- Intense cardio 2-3x a week – I started boxing and spin classes in the last six weeks and it’s been so much fun! As a more traditional lifter, these new activities are challenging but it’s the “DO SOMETHING HARD” I needed to support my factory reset.
- Setting better boundaries at work – My limit hit me pretty hard in the face last year, and I’m still feeling the consequences of going all-in, all the time today. It’s super important to me more than ever to pace myself this year. Yes, I’m super passionate about my work, but I also need to remember that I cannot perform well (or at all) if I overdo it.
- Staying in one place – Not travelling much, sticking to a routine. It’s funny to write this as someone who used to just want to be on the move all the time.
Even after a short time of focusing on the above, I’ve felt less agitated compared to the last couple of months. In the next month, I’d also like to implement more breathwork in my routines and learn more about regulating my nervous system.
Although I’ve been calmer these days, there have been moments I have almost reached out for a drink to numb tougher emotions or lashed out negatively. Proud that I’ve managed to hold back, but I want to get to the point where I don’t feel the need to do that.
I started learning Greek properly last year, with a tutor 1:1 in person but as I travelled for work, it got more difficult to learn as I wasn’t in the country. On top of that, I felt quite disheartened by microaggressions and upsetting events that I’m still processing today.
As I still have the desire to keep living in Greece for at least the first half of this year, I rolled my sleeves up again and signed up for a 10-week class which I’m doing remotely. The fact it’s remote has given me better flexibility and it’s been more fun learning with fellow beginners from all over the world.
I just completed my fifth week and have found I’ve had faster progress in this group setting than in a 1:1 setting. But again, pacing myself and enjoying the journey 🤓
Technical content creation
As I transitioned back to a full individual contributor (IC) role again at work, I have enjoyed spending time learning technical concepts again, and creating and shipping content.
I’m proud of what some I shipped recently:
- Create self-service preview environments with Gitpod and GitLab
- Faster workspace creation with GitHub Actions
- How to do end-to-end browser testing on Gitpod
- Develop directly on a Kubernetes cluster using a CDE (Gitpod) and Telepresence
- Gitpod for data teams in 120 seconds
Excited for more creative projects in the future! Keep your eyes peeled. 👀
Quote of the Month
The most important spiritual growth doesn’t happen when you’re meditating or on a yoga mat. It happens in the midset of conflict — when you’re frustrated, angry or scared and you’re doing the same old thing, and then suddenly realise that you have a choice to do it differently.
Thanks for reading! Καλό μήνα