Finding a Routine That Works For Me

I am trying to get a sense of routine back in my life.  It is only recently that I’ve realized how important that is to me.

Between COVID-19, recovering from a concussion in July, and the ever-present autoimmune disease, I feel like I’ve accomplished very little in the last seven months of my time here on Earth.  And I’m the kind of person who needs to feel productive in order to maintain my mental health.

Mornings are generally my best time of day.  If I’m going to get anything done, then morning is when the magic will happen.  Sometimes that momentum will carry over into the afternoon.  But, all too often lately,  I will be feeling borderline-rotten when I wake up, and that will cause me to just go back to bed once my husband leaves for work.

So this week I am trying something new.  I am getting up when my husband gets up, and leaving the house either before or at the same time he does.  It’s a struggle, but I’m half-Viking and half-Celt.  I can do hard things.  I am “hard things.” 😉

Now that the university library (one of my favourite places to settle in and do work) is open once again, I have planned to come here most mornings this week.  COVID-19 contact tracing means that one has to book a seat in advance, and this has proven to be somewhat helpful.  Booking in advance means I’m making an external commitment.  I am saying “I WILL BE THERE,” and it’s interesting how something that small and that simple has flipped a switch in my brain.  I was here yesterday morning, and this morning, and I have also booked some time on Thursday morning.  I will be here.

The university library is very quiet, partly because of it being early morning, but mostly because of COVID-19.  Classes are either completely online or hybrid in most disciplines, and this is a commuter campus, for the most part.

The line-up at the closest Tim Horton’s drive-thru was prohibitively long, so I’m not sure how long I will remain upright on this tall stool.  But I got here, and between yesterday and today, I have already accomplished more than the previous two weeks combined.  So my plan is working.

Now the trick will be to not over-do it.  That is the part that often trips me up.

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Karen J. McLean

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  • I love the idea of booking a seat for the purpose of accountability (& of course contact tracing)! Anything that is an appointment gets me moving faster these days.

  • This is such positive planning: “I am getting up when my husband gets up, and leaving the house either before or at the same time he does. ” Kudos to you! My bestie has an autoimmune disease; I know how important it is not to overdo it, and, yet, to keep setting positive goals. You are doing great at this!

  • It’s only recently occurred to me that a sense of routine is what I’ve been missing in my life as well. I’ve *just* been dealing with Covid, but it’s affected so many other things as well. Even school has been a mishmash of strangeness.

    Kudos to you for the effort you’re making with your routine. Getting up and out the door has to be a huge adjustment, but I’m certain you’ll be happier for doing so.

    Libraries are a great place to be, and I’m happy to hear that the folks at yours are making an effort to take care of their patrons. Booking in advance is a bonus—the accountability piece is great to have. It’s not a lot different than a writing group or a weekly target; it helps a lot, I’m sure.

    It might be necessary to make coffee at home, but they you and your crow friend would miss the pastry. Good luck with that!

  • I can relate to so much of your post! Last year (I retired in October from a job I only held 9 months and wanted very badly but turned out to be not a great fit), I craved a routine. With my husband home, (he had retired the year before), I often acquiesced to his routine or desires. Finally, I stopped doing that! No more 7 am trips to the Y to work out when I am NOT a morning person. No more giving up something I wanted or needed to work on to only replace it with a household task to meet the demands of someone else (usually children). Once I found a routine, I stuck to it. I feel that making a reservation would be extremely helpful to keep on task. I can see that working for me as well. And, I also need to be productive to feel mentally healthy! I wish you well on your new morning commitment! I love libraries and a college campus as well! It seems a great place to start! Congrats! Keep it up!