January review: books, time, and oura

It was a so-so month in term of reading. I finished 8 books but only really enjoyed two of them.

China, the bubble that never pops (5/5): one of my reading goals this year is to read books related to my work. Not that I work on China but as a chinese born person and an economist, I’ve been wondered by Chinese government policies. I often enter into debate with my husband (who’s biased in favour of China) and western economists (who tend to apply western models to chinese economy) about sustainability of China’s success. This book is fantastic to reconcile the two views. I was nodding all the way to the end, like someone just articulated my thoughts in a structure form and did the background research to substantiate them. I finished in a weekend and passed it to hubby.

Midwives (4/5): I’ve been wanting to read this best seller for a long time but since it’s rather heavy, I needed to wait for the right mindset to read it. Overall I enjoyed the read and the image of that scene is still in my mind. While the book discussed the distinct opinion about home birth vs. hospital birth, even after reading it, I cannot understand why some would take any risk for birthing their kids. I know women who i respect a lot that did that, she’s super rationale and kind. yet, she closed to have both kids at home. Maybe it’s the culture influence? I still don’t know.

Eat a Peach (3/5): I listened to a podcast about David Chang and got intrigued to read his memoire. it’s quite an entertaining book, it shows a bit how asian kids are raised in america, the missing identity and trying to assimilate to the peers, and his struggle to find life purpose and depression. Yet, at the end of the book, I felt that I couldn’t figure out how he could be as successful as he is, the main reason being his manner/attitude toward others. I can’t imagine working for/with him no matter how talent he is.

The gift of perfection and Rising Strong (2/5): I love Brene Brown’s podcasts (dear to lead and unlocking us) but I just don’t enjoy her books. Her story telling is great but they are very small portion of her books. The rest are like analysing a small event to illustrate her point. It’s mentally exhausting to analyse every single detail of an ordinary event. I kept thinking I don’t want to live in her mind, it’s so tiring. hahahaha….. I think i’d stick to her podcasts.

Cozy (1/5): good promise but turned out to be a personal recount of ways to find her cozy everything. I couldn’t relate.

28 summers (3/5): a entertaining book about long term love. I really like the characters, even the wife. Another book that is like an ice cream, good while reading, and quickly forgotten.

Norwegian woods (2/5): I’ve had this book in chinese for decades. After I read his book “what I am thinking when I’m running) I decided to give it a try. It’s one of his best sellers and I don’t really understand why. The story is simple, young love and life complexities. I found too much sex in the book that were not necessary.

What I learned this month is the type of books that I enjoy reading, those that leave me thinking way after I finish the book. I also realised that I prefer nonfiction than fiction most of the times as I am also seeking to learn new concepts.

Habits tracked

  • Steps (daily avg): 18350 (20400 Dec)
  • Screen time (daily avg): 26 min (34 Nov)
  • Work hours (daily avg): 6.6  hrs (7 Dec)
  • Miles run: 130.3 miles (158 Dec)
  • Yoga/pilates: 23 sessions (20 Dec)
  • Sleep (daily avg): 7.5 hrs (7.2 Dec)
  • Mood rating: 3.9/5 (4.1 Dec)

This month I ran less, walked more, especially second half of the month as my readiness score were low (see below). I stopped tracking screen time as I’m not in the habit of checking phone anymore. I use phone for messages, email during work hours, and information (minimal) like recipes. If I see myself creeping back to randomly browsing, I might track again.

Theme of the month was TIME. I did time tracking for two weeks. Overall I’m happy how I spend my time, the only area that I’d like to focus more is quality time with husband. Finding activities that we both enjoy would be the key as we just don’t like the idea of purposely schedule date nights.

Theme for February is FOCUS: focus on one task at the time. I thought I was good as focusing but still sometimes do two things at the time. For example, when i walk with the girls, sometimes I listen to podcasts, which defeats the purpose of spending time with them. So on February, I’ll stop multi-tasking and focus one thing at the time.

My experience using oura ring

Let me start by saying I absolutely love it! Now that I’ve been using over a month, the ring knows my baseline temperature, resting heart rate, sleep timing pretty well. Its readiness score (which is a combination of quality of sleep, resting heart rate, activity level, among other things) is quite accurate. On days that I feel a bit down, usually my readiness score is 80 or less. When I’m energetic, I’m above 85. Once I know it tracks well my overall energy level, on days that I score low, I’ll take it easy and focus on rest.

Oura confirmed my thought on my energy/mood level fluctuates over the menstrual cycle. The first half is always great, high energy, good sleep, high readiness, followed by downward trend in the second half. My resting heart rate and temperature is above baseline levels for 10 days or more, and I take it easy accordingly.

What i like the most about the oura ring is that it factors in not just one day sleep/activity, but a trend. I like that it gives me objective measures of how my body is feeling so I respect it more instead of just push through, which makes long term damage to my health.

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