March Challenge: First full week

There are always a million reasons why it’s not a good time for a challenge— It’s your birthday month, your Aunt Eunice is having her retirement party, your best friend just got a bad hair cut, you were just promoted, or fired… or you’re sad, or sick, or celebrating any number of things… I delayed starting this challenge 2 days because I was sick.

Over last weekend I learned that a childhood friend had lost her fight and passed away and then Monday morning I walked into a bit of a shit show at work, involving 16 of our friends and colleagues losing their jobs, and my own position drastically changing in scope from what it had been just the week before. Normally, I love my job— but this week was about 7 years of Mondays long and I struggled greatly with my emotions.

I was in a pretty dark place this week but I decided that just because my performance this week might be imperfect, that is no reason to keep pushing it off. I did my best and documented how it went.


Intentional exercise: Ah… no… The plan was to do my 2nd day video after work but I ended up working very late due to the upheaval in the office and felt very upset. By the time I could have slotted in a workout video I was pretty much spent.

Stairs: Yep! I sure did take the stairs before I knew what I was walking into.

Take a walk at lunch: Nope… I did pack a lunch but I just let it sit in my tote bag uneaten all day. I worked straight through the day and went home to sign on remotely and worked into the night failing to eat anything until around 8:45 pm…

Free snack abstinence: except a quarter of a mini donut from Dough… so a failure on all food fronts.

Two Drink Max: Yeah. Just one beer at the end of a very hard day.

Overall Score: 2/5 - Not so good. I can be kind to myself on this one and forgive.


Intentional exercise: Yes - I did day 2 of my yoga video series but I will admit to really half-assing it except for savasana. I really put my whole ass into corpse pose… Another hard day working very late.

Stairs: Yep! My office is on the 4th floor and I am embarrassingly winded when I reach the top, but I figure the more I do it the better I will be at it.

Take a walk at lunch: Nope. Another workday day of unbroken sitting— Why is this turning out to be the hardest part of this challenge?

Free snack abstinence: Yes - I was still pretty upset so I didn’t eat much of anything again. While I did not eat free junk food, not eating all day due to upset is not really in the spirit of what I’m trying to accomplish here. I am still taking those points tho…

Two Drink Max: Yep, no drinks.

Overall Score: 4/5 - I scored well today but my heart was still hurting and I felt really close to the end of my rope. I decided to start imposing some boundaries on my relationship to work and get a hold of myself with Wednesday as a fresh mental start.


Before bed on Tuesday night I decided that I was going to be just a little late to work Wednesday. Anyone who knows me, knows that it would be an understatement to say I feel strongly about punctuality. A friend of mine compared my being 8 minutes late to the office without informing anyone or apologizing to ‘throwing a Molotov cocktail’ and welcomed me to the resistance. I still feel strongly about punctuality but I feel just as strongly that anyone who doesn’t love what they do is a sucker to work more than 40 hours a week. I do love what I do, but this week, my office was not a source of joy or strength, it was a drain on my reserves and I needed to reassess my priorities— At least for this week. So when I saw one of my top 3 favorite yoga instructors was back in town from his retreat in India for Maha Shivaratri I signed up for his 8 am class- even knowing this would mean I would be at least 8 minutes late.

Intentional exercise: YES- Thank goodness for yoga. I go to Laughing Lotus for yoga; it’s across the street from my office. Felipe has a way of running his classes that always leave me feeling thoughtful, enlightened and empowered. It’s what I think people who attend church are supposed to feel like — or else why go? His class is challenging and freeing. He tells us about Maha Shivaratri and how Shiva the Destroyer is also The Transformer and entreats us to take stock and throw whatever is not divine, no longer serving us, whatever is a weight on us, away, and into the fire.

It feels very poignant to me and if I don’t think too hard about cultural appropriation it’s absolutely perfect. Today I am taking comfort and inspiration where I can. I’ll tease out questions about appropriation in another post.

Stairs: Yep. Once I take the elevator because I forgot my key card, but I went up the 4 flights of stairs at the office twice which is more than usual anyway so that one trip up doesn’t invalidate the other two trips.

Take a walk at lunch: Oops. no, I worked through lunch again. fuck.

Free snack abstinence: My boss’s wife came in today with more donuts from Dough. I’ve heard a lot about this woman since I started working under my current boss but this is the first time I’ve met her. She’s a Murderino and of house Slytherin! Just like me! She walks into our office and it’s like springtime herself just walked in. She has a calming presence that brings a much needed lightness to the office. My boss is so lucky to have such a nice wife and he clearly adores her. It’s touching to see. I enjoy 3/4 of a donut and don’t think about the challenge at all.

Two Drink Max: Um… oops again. I went to an event for women and finance after work and had a couple extra glasses of the free wine commiserating with my friend and coworker in attendance with me… small glasses though…

Overall Score: 2/5 - This score is worse than yesterday BUT the day was SO MUCH BETTER and the work of the yoga class really gave me a renewed energy to do more on this challenge. Bonus points for also remembering to take my vitamins and fish oil and drink 2 liters of water? I also flossed morning, midday and night… Yeah, I’m giving myself the points. I am TAKING the points for this day. 5/5 - WHO IS GOING TO STOP ME?


Intentional exercise: 2 mile walk before work. Usually I am an hour to two hours early to the office. After the revelation of yesterday’s yoga class I decided this earliness was not serving me this week and it would be a better use of my morning to walk through prospect park and take the train from Atlantic Avenue rather than the stop closest to me. There was still ice and snow covering the fields in the park but there was one or two people out there to enjoy the off leash hours for dogs. As I crossed the field this shaggy black doggo came up to me and stopped in my path to say hello and get a pet. Doggo’s owner thanked me for stopping and I wished him and his lovely pet a good day. I felt like the grinch with my heart growing three sizes and breaking that ornate heart measuring box… I’m resolving to do this more often.

Stairs: Yep, still embarrassingly winded but still doing it.

Take a walk at lunch: YES FINALLY - I walked around Union Square and stopped into Barns and Noble. Bonus- double stairs again today since I actually left the damn building for my scheduled walk. I have 45 minutes blocked out on my outlook calendar for taking a walk every day so that people can’t just book meetings into that time. I’m going to get serious about keeping that appointment.

Free snack abstinence: Yep. I had two bananas and zero donuts, chips, cookies, etc.

Two Drink Max: Zero drinks. all good.

Overall Score: 5/5 - Full points baby! Things are looking better for me.


Intentional exercise: Couch to Confident 14 Day Yoga Challenge video 3! These videos are shorter than the classes I go to but somehow harder to finish. It’s clearly a mental thing.

Stairs: Yes but I worked from home, so far, I have not been counting my home stairs because I live in a 3rd floor walk up and the stairs are the only option. It’s not exactly an accomplishment except for the fact that I had no reason to go up and down them other than this challenge. So, I took out the trash during the evening for the sake of going up and down the stairs rather than just waiting til I leave the house tomorrow.

Take a walk at lunch: omg what the hell is my problem… I could have gone for a walk to get those stairs in… why didn’t i kill two birds with one stone? I didn’t take a walk, but I did walk away from my computer, cook something, and eat it not in front of the computer. Part of the reason I included taking a walk during lunch in this challenge was to enforce a break during the work day. I am a bit of a workaholic and I almost always work straight through the day, so I am going to give myself a half point for actually taking a break.

Free snack abstinence: Yep. I had spaghetti squash for lunch today. It was delicious and I’m inspired to write up a post in the food section of the blog with a recipe.

Two Drink Max: One hot toddy at the end of the day. Delicious and joyful. Happy Friday!

Overall Score: 4/5


Intentional exercise: Another Felipe class! For Saturday I began the day with a 90 minute facial and then followed up with a 90 minute yoga class. What a wonderful way to start a day.

Stairs: I took the stairs everywhere I had the opportunity to do so.

Take a walk at lunch: I walked so much today. Hell yes I walked for lunch! I walked for breakfast and dinner too.

Free snack abstinence: Free snacks are not a thing on weekends so these points are a given today and Sunday! I also specifically said ‘free’ snacks because if I am spending my money on something it’s not the kind of thing I would ever restrict. Home made guac or smoothies made from fruit I’ve frozen or blueberry muffins made from scratch with flaxmeal and coconut oil are the kinds of snacks I do. It’s not a struggle for me to not buy trash food, it’s just a struggle to not eat trash food when it’s offered free.

Two Drink Max: Yeah no… no points for this one… I enjoyed several brunch cocktails with my friend Erin. I’m not sorry; I needed it.

Overall Score: 4/5


Intentional exercise: Couch to Confident 14 Day Yoga Challenge video 4! It was rainy and yucky outside so a perfect day to stay in for yoga.

Stairs: I went up and down the stairs just for the sake of doing it,

Take a walk at lunch: Man, this part of the challenge is cancelled. Why did I say it had to be a walk?

Free snack abstinence: I cooked good food and ate no free snacks. Made some delicious baked ziti… only not ziti since I had only that spirally pasta… I don’t remember what that’s called and I’m not going to look it up, but it’s delicious and full of zucchini.

Two Drink Max: Just tea and coffee today. All good stuff.

Overall Score: 4/5

Key Takeaways

I made some allowances this week to accommodate having a hard time emotionally. Sometimes a person just has to do that. Giving yourself a break for not being perfect is some self care 101.

As Monday approaches however, I’m feeling like I’m ready to step up my game and go into this week strong. I’m going to prioritize the first part of the challenge. There should never be a day going forward that I don’t get my points for Item 1, intentional exercise.


In the true spirit of self care (It’s not just bubble baths and wine… although I do always love a good facemask), I’m adding some self care items to the challenge list, and changing some existing items.

Other Changes:

I’m changing the ‘go for a walk at lunch’ mandate to ‘actually take a break for lunch’ because additional walking is preferred but so long as I’m not working straight through the day with no break, that’s really the main point.

I’m going to amend the 2 drink max to also include 2 liters of water min.

And aside from saying she thought I should drink more water, the lady who performed my facial on Saturday suggested that I freeze some small cubes of chamomile and use them to wash my face. What an amazing idea! I’m so into it that I’m resolving to start the day washing my face with lavender chamomile ice and also add flossing twice a day to the challenge.

And while no snacks at work is great, I’m adding that I need to take my B complex, vitamin D, and megared fishoil supplements at the start of the day. Basically I need a real morning and evening routine.

Amanda McCall