life Work

5 Days In

January 5, 2023

Year so far . . .

I love this time of year. One question I have is: how can one extend the January newness and enthusiasm around goals for as long as possible?

Because it feels good to start new things, and it feels satisfying to feel like you are living in a way that is more aligned with what you want out of life. There’s also an inexplicable anticipation about a year stretched out in front of you, though this seems silly, since nothing is guaranteed and no one knows which 365 period will be the last.

One thing that helps me is continuously embracing the fresh starts that come up every quintile / month / week / day. But I will admit October 1st just doesn’t carry the same panache as January 1st. So I guess I might as well just embrace this time of year as a special one and try to carry the magic (and the habits) for as long as I can.


Somehow I got back to inbox zero yesterday!!! I had a full day of patients (well, one no-show which created a helpful block in the morning during which I went into turbocharged EPIC cleanout mode) and left around 5 pm. My estimates were pretty close (fewer Patient Messages due to staff being smart about me being away, but more lab results!) and I am sure there will be some Patient Advice Request ping pong but when I left both my work email and EPIC looked like this and I was pretty thrilled about it.

(I think the frenetic electronic activities gave me my first migraine in weeks however. It’s not a terrible one though and I have been able to hold off on medicating so far.)

((Also, not to add to my burgeoning goals lists but I need to drink more water and maybe electrolytes while I’m at work to see if it helps prevent a headache. I honestly do not get thirsty but will go the entire workday with like ~10 oz fluid intake, and while it does save me bathroom trips I suspect it may contribute to headaches.))

“Nice job!” . . . um thanks EPIC

New Schedule

So far I think I like my new M/W/F clinical schedule (was previously M / T / F)! Knowing that I always have a slower more self-paced day after a clinic day (with the exception of call weeks of course) feels really good. Today Josh will take the kids to school (it’s his one day/week) so I “slept in” until 5:30 and will not run until ~7:30 am (late and hopefully not too hot).

Anyway, happy First Days of the year.


  • Reply Coree January 5, 2023 at 7:57 am

    Well done clearing the decks! I definitely have “big trashbag energy” at the moment, and got loads of annoying things ticked off my home list yesterday – dentist appointments, a kitchen reorg, a full deep clean of the primary bedroom, etc. Back at work today and got a big project done, and am moving onto the next (course set up for the spring term). I’ve left my out of office on though so I have a bit of a respite on email for the next few days.

    • Reply Coree January 5, 2023 at 7:58 am

      Annoyingly I’ve lost my planner though! A friend got me a new muji monthly and it’s GONE! I’ve searched everywhere. So I guess I’m freewheeling this year, with Outlook, my notion to do lists, and a weekly planner pad.

  • Reply Alyson January 5, 2023 at 8:01 am

    I also always seem to get ‘back to work’ migraines. I had one last night. Can you explain what you mean about electrolytes? Anything that helps! 😊

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 5, 2023 at 9:38 am

      Mine are not really “back to work” but post work! I run, live in a hot climate, and am not good about hydrating whatsoever so thinking anything to keep blood volume and concentration a bit more consistent might help …

      There is data on magnesium helping headaches but when I attempted to take it the fatigue and GI side effects were worse than a migraine so I stopped.

  • Reply Omdg January 5, 2023 at 8:31 am

    Haha you’re funny. This is the time of the year that you return to work all optimistic and refreshed with hopes and goals and they all get dashed immediately upon your return. Fml

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 5, 2023 at 9:56 am

      🙁 Well, at least yesterday wasn’t quite like that for me. But I’m sure my day will come!

  • Reply Grateful Kae January 5, 2023 at 9:34 am

    I was thinking about this yesterday too. How in the beginning of the year, when your goals are fresh and everything seems to be “working” well, it just feels SO good! Like you said, it’s a sense of satisfaction that you are prioritizing the right things and everything feels well aligned. But I know all too well how this feeling ends up slowly, slowly, slowly slipping away. I don’t know what the reason is! I think it’s possible that in my case, early January is usually relatively low key. I’m not frantically trying to buy/wrap/decorate for Christmas holidays anymore, we aren’t packing to leave for a 2 week vacation, I’m not running a swim meet this week, we don’t have family coming to town…. it’s like this is the scaled back, basic version of my life, and therefore maybe the “easiest” mine ever feels. But then time passes and inevitably we come to a week soon enough where we DO have 4 family dentist/dr appts, out of town swim meets, a big work meeting and a vacation on the horizon to pack for, or whatever. And then I think maybe all of this easy/smooth sailing feeling dissolves, and we start sort of treading water to stay afloat- and some of the habits, the vegetables, the daily walks, whatever- they just get pushed to the back burner, because we only have capacity for so many things at once. And before we know it, life kind of goes back to how it always was. Anyway, I don’t know. Let me know if you figure it out. 😉

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns January 5, 2023 at 9:44 am

    I’m loving the new year energy as well. Although some of that energy has been depleted by the massive snow storm we had this week. 15″ and it’s stilll snowing. We were snowed in with the kids yesterday. We made some good memories, like I took the toddler sledding and we built a snowman. But the pictures from the day do not align with how I was feeling at all. I did the bulk of the childcare as my husband is extremely busy at work. The toddler was in a MOOD yesterday and had an epically bad tantrum when he got frustrated about not being able to hold a shovel with his mittened hands. Gah. So I was thrilled that we could get out of the house today and are in our quiet offices with kids in daycare. I want to hold onto this new year energy for as long as possible!

    Nice work on getting through all of those messages! I am glad you didn’t return to too much of a mess!! Bummer about the migraine! I oddly do not drink as much water at work as I do when I work from home – even though I’m sitting at a desk in both cases. I don’t really understand it but it’s something I need to work on. I think I need to get a bigger water bottle for the office, though. The less I have to refill the water bottle, the better. I mean theoretically, that shouldn’t be a barrier to drinking more water but it seems to be part of the problem for me.

  • Reply Amanda January 5, 2023 at 10:23 am

    Yes, agree with the energy for the new year and appreciate you sharing! Two factors that I think may not receive enough credit are rest and exercise. I’ve talked to family, friends, and coworkers who feel refreshed. Most (and certainly not all, including my spouse in the hospitality industry) had more sleep, rest and time to exercise in the past couple of weeks.

    That period of rest isn’t necessarily available for every new month and quarter.

  • Reply Sara January 5, 2023 at 10:28 am

    I get migraines too and have noticed over the last couples years that dehydration is my biggest trigger (well, maybe tied with stress!) AND gives me the worst kind of headaches. And it’s not always like “I went on a 30 mile bike ride in August heat” — more often it’s “Oops, I haven’t even made it through my water bottle and it’s already 3:00 pm.” I started having extra electrolytes on an almost daily basis and it’s made a difference. I don’t like strongly flavored drinks (much prefer plain water!) so it’s taken a while to find something I can willingly consume on a regular basis. Liquid IV is too *too much* for me. I have Nuun (I like the strawberry lemonade flavor) and I make sure to put a tablet in 32 oz of water so the flavor isn’t as strong. I have that for my first water bottle of the day and sometimes have another one later if I’m working out, it’s hot out, etc. Hope your current migraine has gone away!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 5, 2023 at 12:48 pm

      migraine is still there but mild so I have just been plowing through and trying to ignore it and largely have been able to. sigh. I will try hyper hydrating tomorrow.

  • Reply Jessica January 5, 2023 at 10:58 am

    I wonder if you felt more excitement at new seasons when you lived somewhere with more seasonal change? I’m always quite energized by the change of seasons because it opens up a whole new list of activities to do, and I know the weather won’t last so I really embrace each season when it comes.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 5, 2023 at 12:47 pm

      oh interesting! I DO get excited when it becomes less hot/humid/thunderstormy here, but that’s only a once/year shift . . .

  • Reply Caitlin January 5, 2023 at 12:54 pm

    Hi Sarah, have you considered whether you need reading glasses, or at least blue light blocking glasses, for computer and phone use? While I wear contacts for my nearsightedness, I need low-rx reading glasses to “offset” the distance the contacts give me (if that makes sense) when I’m on my computer. Using these has significantly reduced my headaches.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 5, 2023 at 1:41 pm

      I don’t think I need reading glasses (no issues with accommodation yet) but maybe some kind of blue light or screen blocker would be a good idea to try!

  • Reply Erin January 5, 2023 at 2:28 pm

    I know they are an influencer/basic meme, but my Stanley tumbler bottle (40oz, insulated) really helps me drink more water. If I fill mine with ice water in the morning when I leave for work, I still have ice left at the end of the day. I got mine for 30% off at Whole Foods last winter but I would buy at full price, too.

  • Reply Elizabeth January 5, 2023 at 2:55 pm

    Second recommendation for the 40oz insulated Stanley tumbler with straw. I try to drink two full ones a day. It seems like it wouldn’t matter but somehow it makes drinking enough water so much easier and more appealing for me. 100% recommend.

  • Reply San January 9, 2023 at 3:33 pm

    Inbox Zero is a dream. I seemed to not be able to stay on top of it.

    Re: water drinking: starting off with a tall glass first thing in the morning gets me off to a good start… and then I honestly just use a timer and every time it goes off, I drink (pound really) a glass of water. It becomes easier with time.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 9, 2023 at 6:26 pm

      Seriously I need to do that

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