Over the past month or so, I’ve made a few changes to the way I structure my days, and in particular, my mornings. Not so much in terms of New Year’s resolutions – just more of a natural progression connecting up lots of approaches I’ve read, heard about, or just adopted after realising that certain things I was doing just weren’t working well for me. As a naturally
nosy curious person I’m always interested to hear about how other people structure their days in ways that help them, and so assuming that anyone else in the universe is also naturally curious I thought I’d share a few of my little changes here 🙂 Sharing these things also gives me a sense of accountability – there’s nothing like putting something out there on the old Internet to encourage you to stick to your ideals 😉
Before the Christmas holidays, I was getting up at about 6am, doing a few bits around the house and then sitting down with a cuppa and my phone for a quick look at emails, social media and the like before the kids woke up and we had to get ready. If I had time I would fit in 20 minutes of yoga, but I have to admit it was the first thing to get bumped if my cuppa – and my morning, therefore – overran. I was often heading out of the house at 845am after getting everyone fed and ready with a head in full-on email mode. Over the Christmas holidays I realised this wasn’t doing anything positive for me and so I decided it was time to make a change.
Over the last month or so I’ve adopted a new rule with regards to phone use in the morning and that is that I just don’t do it. That is, at least, not until we’ve left the house and the kids are at school (or at weekends not until after at least 9am). Instead, on weekdays, I get up half an hour later, feed the dog, empty the dishwasher and have a cuppa while I do my 20 minutes of yoga and 5 minutes of strength training. Then I get the kids up, we have breakfast, tidy up the dishes and get dressed and ready for school (hopefully on time!)
I have to say this new approach has left me feeling quite a bit ‘lighter’. And okay, it does have its downsides – like that morning we didn’t realise school was shut because I hadn’t checked on Facebook – offline Mummy fail! 😉 And if there is a text I need to reply to or send early I’ll do it, but most of the time I find nothing really has to be dealt with in such a rush. For the most part this new approach has left me feeling much fresher by the time we leave the house in the morning (I’m not a morning person by any means so it usually takes me at least an hour to feel anywhere close to being alive).
I’ve also adopted a ‘no phone/social media’ rule for myself after we eat dinner. Instead, I try to reach for my book, the latest bingeworthy Netflix series, or, wait for it, just spend time talking to my family 😉 – I think altogether this is helping me to get to sleep much easier at night and generally having a positive impact on my health. If you see me online after around 7pm do call me on it! I really want to try to stick with this approach as I think the benefits far outweigh any fear of upsetting anyone or somehow missing out.
Lately, I’ve been trying to stick to 30 minutes a day, on weekdays, of timed sessions on the book I’ve been writing. Again, it’s been something that’s often got bumped to the bottom of the pile, because if I’m being honest, blog posts are a lot easier to rattle off. But I was finding that writing on my book only once or twice a week for long sessions was getting me out of sync with the characters and the overall storyline. I’m finding that a shorter, regular practice of writing creatively is just what I need to keep my motivation going and move that storyline along.
Last year, I read a lot about fatiguing illnesses and approaches to tackling them. Having suffered with my own energy levels and health over the last year I’m a big advocate that there is no ‘one way’ to turn these things around. Instead, I think it takes a lot of little changes and one of the methods I’ve tried to adopt over the last few months is ‘pacing’. That is, doing things for shorter periods, mixing up activities and taking rest periods (you know, that one we all tend to do so well 😉 ). So for example, last year I might have taken the kids to school, gone straight out for a walk with the dog and then sat in front of the computer, with a brief lunchbreak, until it was time to pick up the kids again. My mentality was always to sit down and get a task completely finished before I would let myself take a break. Pacing things means I might now come home from the school drop off, have a cup of something and then do some work for a couple of hours, with a brief break somewhere. I might then take the dog out, have lunch, and then do a little bit more work (with a short break) in the afternoon. It all sounds very simple but I’ve found that switching things up a bit can make a real difference. And for some reason taking a walk a bit later in the day often sees me returning with that bit more of a creative edge! I’ve veered off the pacing thing a few times lately and really paid the price for it. It’s very easy to forget when things start going well that the lifestyle changes you are making include the assumption that they are, by definition, ‘for life!’
So that’s a little roundup of some of the life shifts I’ve been making lately. What about you – have you made any changes to your life so far this year? 🙂 I’d love to hear!
Oh I loved reading this Gail! Ever since I spotted your IG post I’ve been making an effort not to go on my phone in the morning – I’m still working on the evening bit although I don’t use it as much in half term anyway! I do think I’m actually happier in myself when I’m not on it constantly, it’s so hard to find the right balance and it’s different for everyone but I really like your approach. I also love the idea of pacing – it’s so true that I’ll start a task and not want to stop until I’ve finished I’m going to try and break things up a little more. It’s good that it’s helping you combat your fatigue, every little helps I’m sure xx
Thanks Hayley, I’m so glad if you found it helpful. The phone thing seems like a small change but I’m finding it’s making a big difference to me xx