This month has felt like the longest month ever. Has it been the same for you?
I usually try to take some time in January to do some intention setting for the year, but beyond doing a little bit of reflection on the past year, I haven’t really gotten around to doing much of ‘looking forward’ yet. My health has been a bit of a roller-coaster ride, so that’s been foremost on my mind.
My favorites from this month actually sort of reflect that – I found myself seeking a lot of comfort in relaxing hobbies and simple cooking, and at the same time, I realized that for me to fix this persistent feeling of not feeling 100% okay, I do need to make some serious changes in my routine and habits.
I hope you find these suggestions helpful in your own life, no matter whether you managed to rock January all guns blazing or burrowed down and leaned heavily into comforting things.
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1| The Lost Daughter
After hardly watching much TV or movies last year, I am finally making my way through a whole lot of viewing backlog. The Lost Daughter came highly recommended by my friends, and it didn’t disappoint one bit.
Based on a book by Elena Ferrante, it’s a bit slow to build up, but so very expertly woven. It follows the story of Leda (Olivia Colman) as she becomes involved in the lives of a mother and daughter pair on a vacation. It forces her to look back at her own life and how she navigated her motherhood journey, fraught with both joys and frustrations.
The performances are brilliantly nuanced, and you can feel the tension ratcheting up as the movie progresses. It’s a somewhat difficult movie to watch – it asks us to revisit our judgments of what a perfect mother looks like as it presents a version of motherhood that is neither exalted perfection nor abject cruelty or indifference.
2| Atomic Habits
I know the book’s been around for a few years now, but I finally got around to reading it in full after three (!!!) previous aborted attempts to do so. I guess sometimes things (in this case, the book) find you only when you are ready to accept the lesson.
Coming to the book – it was everything I expected and more. He breaks down the art and science of habit formation into simplistic language (sometimes a little too simplistic, perhaps!) and puts it all together in a compelling enough package to actually make me want to change certain habits of mine.
There are lots of actionable gems in this easy-to-read book – I am putting together a longer post where I talk about them in some more detail.
It’s definitely one of the top personal development/self-enrichment books that I’ve ever read.
3| Fennel Tea
I’ve been dealing with some gut issues for the last few weeks and as one does, have spent quite some time researching homegrown solutions for better digestion.
One of my cousins suggested drinking some fennel water every morning (basically, fennel seeds soaked overnight in water) and then I came across this post on Instagram by Kamana Bhaskaran where she talks about having fennel tea after meals for solving digestive issues.
I am not the biggest fan of fennel seeds tbh but I was kinda ready to try anything at this point. I have to admit – this little tea ritual has helped me a lot in the past couple of weeks and I love how soothing it feels on the whole.
(image via Kamana Bhaskaran)
4| Panasonic Rice Cooker
An electric pressure cooker was one of the first things I bought when I moved into my new place in Singapore, but I started finding it too big to make just a cup of rice for myself. Of course, I could have still made rice on the stovetop, but a friend convinced me to try out a small rice cooker. And wow! it’s probably been one of my favorite purchases of late.
I ended up choosing this one with 16 pre-set programs and it’s seriously made cooking rice such an easy, hands-off experience. After some trial and error, I’ve even figured out how to make khichadi in it, cooked to just the right kind of gooeyness that I prefer.
I tried this recipe too and it turned out fabulous!
5| Fitbit Luxe
After months of going back and forth on whether I wanted to buy a fitness tracker, I finally decided to take the plunge and got myself the Fitbit Luxe.
My main reason for getting a fitness tracker was to count my steps, keep an occasional eye on my heart rate, and to a lesser extent, track my sleeping habits. I didn’t need anything more complicated, which is why a smartwatch seemed like too much of an overkill. And yes, I know, even our phones are able to track our steps, but I felt like there were too many ‘lost’ steps with just relying on my phone.
The Fitbit Luxe is perfect for my needs – it’s super sleek and does its job well. Wearing it gives me that extra boost to move around a little more than usual, knowing that it will help me hit the star mark on my daily steps count.
So are you playing Worlde or are you playing Wordle?
Which leads me to the most important question now: what’s your best starting word? I can’t say I have cracked the code yet but ‘noise’ and ‘poise’ seem to work best for me.
7| Magic of I Planner
I’ve bought an embarrassing number of physical planners for someone who never ends up using them. I thought I would give my ridiculous habit a break this year, but then I chanced upon the gorgeous Magic of I planners and I knew that 2022 would not be the year that I broke this particular habit.
But 2022 might just go down as the year that I finally end up using my physical planner. Admittedly, I am not using my Magic of I planner as an actual planner – it’s become more like a daily gratitude journal. And on days when I am feeling particularly low, each daily entry has enough space for me to record my thoughts/feelings + write down my daily thanks.
It’s a gorgeous little planner (the artwork is truly stunning!) and there are a lot of astrological insights that you can use to make your days better. The paper is just the right amount of thickness and the planner itself feels luxurious. It’s become more of a journal and diary for me though and I probably love it so much more for that!
(image via Magic of I)
So there you have it – a short and sweet list of my favorites from this past month! I’d love to hear what yours have been!