For all that I moan about fighting routine, I need that structure in my day.
Considering that I do not work full time and do not have to commute to a place of work, I find it amazing how little time I have that is well spent and how much I struggle to make the most of it.
One of the things I came away with from my last therapy session was the need to stop complaining about my lack of energy and to find a way round it. It stuck with me as being the fundamental truth of it all. I need to force myself to be able to think when my body says slump.
My focus on sleep is helping. If anything it’s making me realise that I do get more sleep than I think and changing my bedtime routine is helping but I’m not consistent enough. However I still have a mid-afternoon slump and struggle to come back from it in the evening because children come home and I get distracted.
I did what I could have done six months ago, but at least I did it now. I looked it up online. The widely agreed remedies to the mid-afternoon slump are:
- food – eat breakfast, eat protein and complex carbohydrates for slow release fuel at lunch, minimising fat and sugar, a nibble of dark chocolate
- fluid – drink more water (something I’m not good at) and watch the caffeine; looking at numbers, daily allowance (400mg) is about 10 cups of breakfast tea (40mg), with green tea being about 25mg, and white tea less, all of which varies widely depending on the tea
- take breaks – a change of scenery and activity, doing something physical, going out for a walk, ten minutes of sunshine, mixing it up.
I have been trying to do more in terms of taking breaks but I need to think better about food. Paying attention to diet in this way is not something I’m good at and to find sensible nutritional advice tends to require wading through all the crap.
Today I have started by doing an hour’s coursework before my morning Pilates and meditation, so my brain was fully energised to think and the activity stopped me being sluggish. This may be a better way forward and serves absolutely to put me first.
I have also started a gratitude journal on paper, which I dip into during the day but mainly keep for the evening. This is about counteracting all those negative conditions of worth and re-training my brain to be more positive. It quite simply means writing down a few things that I am grateful for and why, being as specific as possible. It shouldn’t take more than five minutes.
My ideal evening routine consists of turning off TV and phone, getting ready for bed, having a good hour’s read downstairs, completing my gratitude journal for the day, having a short meditation, and going upstairs to bed and straight to sleep, pausing only to turn on my sleep monitor and sleep story.
For symmetry then, my morning routine consists of tea and a read with a bright lamp and some fruit, followed by coursework, Pilates and meditation in possibly that order. Breakfast follows before I get on with the bit in the middle which consists of everything else.
For completeness, everything else consists of paid work, domestic paperwork, what little voluntary work I have, and course reading. Writing this floats around morning, evening and random which is why I’m not consistent. Sometimes I do a string of daily journals (8 minutes max) and others I do longer posts that take an hour or so, all depending on what is happening in my brain. Domestic chores and anything else gets shoved in wherever. Tidying up, sorting out and binning are also part of my longer term strategy to have less stuff (not just physical) but they take time too.
This is where it gets messy. Forcibly carving out time for self care, course and therapy means that everything else gets shoved into the middle bit, which happens when I’m slumping. Which is why I need to sort out my mid-afternoon slump.
I’m also worrying far too bloody much about getting all this done. I feel conflicted between being kind to myself and accepting that I can’t do all that I want to do just to keep going and wanting to Get! Things! Done!