I’ve found that I’ve felt more happier and less stressful since I decided to ‘work’ on myself. I’m making progress on being more positive, healthier and learning to ask for help; and I find I’m not alone as much anymore. Another aspect that has helped me battle against stress and fatigue has been adding a bit of a structure and routine.
I never thought I would say this, I love a routine. I had a flakey one with work, I knew I’d have to get up, dressed and all that; but when it came to free time, there wasn’t much. I’d be rushing around trying to sort everything, feeling completely stressed and unaccomplished. Having this routine now has made me feel like I can do more with my time, including sitting down and resting! I’ve been able to pace myself better.
All I’d done, however, was make small changes and built them up slowly. I didn’t overhaul my lifestyle to fit to a set routine – we all work differently. I just chose the path that was similar to where I’d been and did small positive changes.
When I come home from work, I don’t dump everything as soon as I get in and there stare at a phone or the TV before I remember to eat. Instead, I hang up my things or put them away in the same place – avoiding the morning drama of hunting for everything.
I’ll sit for a few minutes, opening mail, and talking about my day/hearing about someone else’s day too. It gave me and the person I was with a chance to talk or vent if we’d have a stressful day. It helped me leave work at the door and enjoy the rest of my evening, instead of bottling it up. Making me less grumpy and snappy at home!
Next, I’d start cooking, I’m becoming more conscious of the food I’m eating; making more healthier and organic choices rather that just shoving something on for the sake of it.
After, I’d get my clothes and bag ready for the next day, often with a Netflix show in the background; as I’m determined to work through my list rather watch whatever I can find on TV.
Depending on my mood, I’ll write or read before getting ready for bed. I’m a night owl and often find it hard to switch off. So I turn off screens, take my medication, listen to some storms and de-stress by focusing on my skincare and looking after my teeth; and when that’s done, I write a list of what I need to do and prioritise them. I say goodnight to my partner and family and I’m bedding down – ready for the 6am alarm.
By making small changes, I felt better rested and prepared – I even achieved more with my time. What’s more surprising is that I’d made three changes: 1) leave work at the door 2) organise my things for the next morning 3) create a bedtime routine to help me drift off better.
With anything, there are always good and bad days. There are times when I just shove a quick ready meal on, forget to switch off or feel too worn out to do much. I take it easier on those days and I’m trying not to beat myself up. We’re allowed to take a break, regroup, ready to get back on it tomorrow. As long as I try to listen to my body and myself a bit more, then I’ve done all I can. That’s all I can expect of myself.
By creating a bit of structure, it’s given me the stability and better perspective to stop me from being too hard on myself; and to stop me comparing myself to others. Everyone’s journey and life is different to mine, and I am slowly grasping that. My anxiety and stress is less now than it was, thanks to my new routine, as I don’t struggle to cram everything in, in such a short period of time.
I just need to remember that sometimes, it’s good to sprinkle in changes every now and again. To avoid becoming stifled and to allow me to be flexible when there are times the routine has to go out the window for whatever reason (e.g. I’m away, ill, working late or there’s an emergency).
A little bit of routine never hurt anybody!