The week that started 6th January

My definition of happiness:

Happiness is knowing what to do to combat low mood, and doing it.

LiLi K Bright, 30 Dec 2019

Definitely influenced by my – relatively brief, thankfully – history with depression and anxiety, since before December 2016 (maybe since late 2015 / early 2016). Which I got help with from August 2017 to June 2018. Even after depression, it took me until July 2019 to rekindle my love of reading to its former glory. That’s when I picked up The Bluest Eye in a charity shop.

And now it feels like maybe I could read 200 books in a year… 🤔


I’ve been practising spaciousness by focusing on one thing at a time. It’s something I find difficult. Things that are helping me:

  • Pomodoro technique
  • Headphones + Music for Concentration
  • Taking my breaks
  • Standing and sitting in different places around the office
  • Writing down what I’m grateful for

I got a cold this week, which helped force me to create spaciousness in my weekend. I went for a walk, read about nutrition and wellbeing, ate lots of fruit & veg and rested.

OKR updates

One of my objectives for the year is:

Excellent life balance and improved wellbeing

I’m measuring that in two ways this quarter:

  • establishing 3 daily healthier habits consistently in February and March
  • excellent life balance, as measured by increased WHO-5 well-being index throughout February, leaving work on time, and feeling confident that I’m getting enough sleep, relaxation & reading time each day

Setting OKRs around health and wellbeing has really helped me focus on improving my knowledge and investing time & energy in changing my habits.

I know the area where there’s most room for improvement is movement. Reading Dr Rangan Chatterjee’s The 4 Pillar Plan helped me identify that. It was a sneaking suspicion I held before, but now I know that’s where to increase my efforts.

Trying to simultaneously remember that I am making improvements (went to a boxing class for the first time this week, and dragged myself out for a local walk despite a cold) and that there’s a long way to go. Time for another walk now.

I feel conflicted about being open about these things because of the ‘social reality’ evidence that talking about it makes me less likely to do it

Maybe I can reformulate it:

I really want to achieve an excellent life balance and improved wellbeing, so I need to increase my physical activity to 90 minutes of moderate intensity activity every day.

Continuous improvement for daily healthier habits 😎


  • 📖 Feel Better in 5: Your Daily Plan to Feel Great for Life by Dr Rangan Chatterjee
  • Started 3 healthier habits, each 5 minutes (Dr Chatterjee calls them ‘health snacks’)
    • Breath, counting for my mental wellbeing
    • Dancing, for my physical wellbeing, see below for the soundtracks I selected
    • Gratitudes, for my emotional wellbeing
  • Work focus: I struggle with concentration, after the useful and inspiring video about focus that I watched last week I decided to practise
    • One thing I want to do today, which I remembered from June 2019 (and, optionally, up to three other things, but only after investing in the priority, whatever that one thing is)
    • Pomodoro technique (with real fun in the breaks(!) the importance of which I remember from August 2019) 🍅
    • Continued with focus time in the mornings (8-10 and 10.15-12) & meetings in the afternoon
If you want to feel better and don’t know where to start, start with Dr Chatterjee’s Feel Better in 5


  • 📖 The Circadian Code: Lose weight, supercharge your energy and sleep well by Dr Satchin Panda
  • Walking meditation, 10 minutes, using Headspace
  • Continuing: Health snacks x3 (danced twice)
  • Continued: Work focus (did struggle with this, with a couple of hours of lower productivity)
  • 30 minutes for laptop & weeknotes (because it was a massive rush to get to bed in time on Monday, using screens until 10pm and I didn’t do my usual wind down). I’m trialling 15 minute timer, 10 minute timer, 5 minute timer; so I don’t totally lose track of time


  • Walked to previous bus stop. Uphill, no less
  • Walked for additional half hour (got off my bus two stops early), so I got some daylight
  • Boxing class for the first time – it was fun and real sweaty!


  • Walked for additional 15 minutes (got off my bus two stops early again), so I also got some daylight in the morning
  • Danced for 20 minutes instead of 5 🙌🏿
  • Yin yoga class for 30 minutes
  • Did housework in the evening after I got home – usually I don’t have energy for that, but I had energy all day today! – washed clothes and plastic containers
  • Took Feel Better in 5 to work for a workmate to read


  • Finished reading The Circadian Code, as well as the novel I was reading (Terry McMillan’s Waiting to Exhale)

Saturday & Sunday

Looks like weekends have evolved to watching Steven Universe whilst I eat breakfast. Because I’m reducing screen usage at night, cartoons in the daytime is the perfect combo.

Enjoying reading Dr Michael Greger’s How Not to Diet too.

Soundtracks of my daily dance practice

And another thing…

I love listening to cello music. Realised last week that it’s my favourite string instrument, maybe my favourite instrument full stop. So evocative.

Started following Composer Weekly and found a beautiful Lili Boulanger playlist. If you like weekly composer suggestions, upvote the idea on the Spotify Community.