I know I’ve mentioned that I’ve been suffering from some serious cabin fever. I never knew how much I loved getting out and about until everything was limited. You never know how much you’ll miss something until it’s gone, right? Some days I feel like I’m being held hostage by my house so I decided to reach out to some friends and see if A) they were feeling the same way, and B) what they’ve done about it. I got several really good suggestions – taking more walks, working part of my day outside, and simply driving around to just get out of the house for a bit. I’ve also been dabbling in visualization, which sounds real woo woo but don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it. For me, I love being near the water so it starts with a sound like ocean waves crashing on the shore, babbling brooks, or light rainfall. You can find these for free on YouTube. Once I find one I like, I close my eyes and focus on what the place with the water looks like and picture myself there – what it smells like, and who is there with me. It really helps calm down the feeling of claustrophobia. If you’ve been feeling the fever, give this exercise a whirl and see if it helps.
And I would say for the last few weeks or so I’ve also really struggled to focus on pretty much anything. Some days it feels like the squirrels have officially taken over my brain. Last week I was determined to figure out how to best wrangle those squirrels and get them back in line so I started an experiment. Everything I’ve read says if you’re finding it hard to get anything accomplished to start with a morning routine. So I looked at routines that other people have tried and swear by, and came up with my own routine to try with the understanding that if something isn’t working that I can change it at any time. This is my list – get up when the alarm goes off and not hit snooze and DON’T check my emails, social media, or the news, read for 30 minutes, go for a walk around the block followed up by a short yoga practice, get ready – for me this means doing something to my hair and putting on real clothes, make the bed, open all the blinds in the house, have breakfast if I’m hungry, and then get to work. Full transparency – I failed every single day to get up when the alarm went off! I can’t help it, I’m a snooze button pusher from way back! I usually hit it twice and then get up. I don’t know what it is, but I’m here to tell you that I’m not going to feel guilty about it. And since I’ve been trying to be more in tune with my body, I could tell within the first few minutes of the walk if that morning was going to include yoga. I am a huge fan of yoga and stretching, but there are some days I just can’t do it full-on and you know what? That’s ok. I do what I can and what my body is down for. On those days, I just walked a little farther.
One thing I did find very interesting is that most days after eating breakfast, I wouldn’t get hungry again until near dinnertime. But I struggled with this. We’ve been talking about intuitive eating and I’ve mentioned that the process isn’t linear. I have easy days and not so easy days. And friends, let me tell you that the clock has more power over me than I realize. When Noon rolled around it was really hard for me to not get up and eat lunch but I had to continually tell myself that I wasn’t actually hungry and that the clock doesn’t tell me what to do. So if you are starting on your own intuitive eating journey, know that it is going to take some time to retrain your brain.
The other part I found interesting is how much better I felt before getting to work because I wasn’t weighed down by emails that I’d gotten overnight, the trash of the morning headlines, or the drama of social media. For me, my emotions are easily controlled by what I read online, and sometimes I just have to say no! At least not first thing in the morning – give it a try, you may find that by not engaging when you first wake up changes your whole outlook for the day.
The other routine I started was a nighttime or sleep routine. I am a terrible sleeper from way back and I think it may be genetic because my brother and mom are both terrible sleepers too. The critical piece for me is the blue light from my phone and the TV. On most nights, Chad and I fall asleep to the TV being on and even though we set a timer, it takes me that much longer to get to sleep than if It’s off. My goal was to not have any phone or TV time at least two hours before bed, which would give me ample time to get in some more reading. However, Chad and I have been playing Minecraft Dungeons and it’s so addictive! So that whole no TV two hours before bed business turned into more like 30 minutes before bed. Awhile back I bought some blue light filtering glasses and I’ve been wearing them while we play and then when I head up to bed, I read with them on. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how well they’ve worked. I used to wear them while I was working in front of my computer during the day, but I have found them to be most useful in the evening. They really help with eye strain, and I think there really is something to filtering out that blue light. We also stopped turning on the bedroom TV, which again was really hard because we love The Office and before bed is when we tend to watch it. The last part of this sleep routine is to get my bedroom as dark and as cool as I can. I honestly can’t tell you if this new nighttime routine is working or not because when I do finally close my eyes, I have images of Minecraft in my head. When it comes to video games, Chad and I are completionists and since there are so few co-op games we like to play together, once we find one we get a little obsessive with it. So next week, I’m going to really try and have no TV of any kind two hours before bed.
The last thing I want to mention is that I spend Friday preparing for the week ahead. I make a personal to-do list, a professional to-do list, and any other tasks or goals I want to accomplish in the week. I also make the grocery list and get them ordered and I tidy up the house. Doing this on Friday really helps free up my mind space for the weekend. I hate working on the weekends and when I don’t have to worry about work things, I am better able to be more present with Chad or my friends and family. It also means I don’t have to spend the weekend cleaning when I’d rather be resting or pretty much doing anything else. The only exception to this is laundry. If you’ve ever watched Jersey Shore, they talk about doing GTL, which for them means gym, tan, laundry. For us, it’s grocery store, time together, laundry and that’s what Sundays are for. Sunday is also the day I pamper myself. I give myself a facial, exfoliate my skin, do a hair mask, and work on my nails. I do this because it is a good way for me to reset for the week ahead. If you have any daily or weekly routines that are working, let me know what they are because maybe you’re doing something I hadn’t already thought about. Or, if you’ve been feeling unfocused and stressed out, feel free to give my daily routine a try. As I said, it’s all one big experiment and you’ll never know what you love or hate until you test it.