A few weeks ago, I wrote a post on Support Systems (you can check it out here) and honestly the response to that post surprised me. Not so much in likes and comments on the blog, but more in the emails I received afterwards. I was surprised so many people appeared taken by it.
And in my last post, I looked at the supports outside of ourselves, the organisations and people who offer support at different times and in different ways. Today, I’m going to look at the support systems we ourselves construct to help ourselves. I warn you now, you’ll be hearing a lot about my daily life in this one, so be prepared.
While obviously the people we spend time with are very important, it’s possible more important to look at the things we spend time on ourselves, whether by active choice or by habit. As people here know, I spent time off work last year because of mental health and coming back to work has had me reviewing the habits I had slipped into and what needed to change. So here we go.
The night before I go to work, I lay out my outfit for the morning and pack my bag with lunch. I also consciously decide on what breakfast I’m having. If I’m not travelling to work, i.e. working from home, I still lay out my outfit (it’s just more likely to be at the end of the bed rather than hung on the wardrobe door 😉 ) and plan my breakfast and lunch for the next day. I usually, but not always, have my shower at night as well.
When I wake up, I sometimes jump out of bed immediately, but other times I spend some time waking up before hopping out of bed. I go to the bathroom, take my meds and then sit on the couch for a bit to allow me to properly wake up. Here’s where I check my Noom lessons for the day, look at my sleep data from Fitbit, mess around on Facebook for a few mins, read a book for a bit, just generally and slowly wake up my brain. I dance at this point as well a few mornings a week, to ease myself into my body and feelings again. I’ll have breakfast, get dressed and head out the door. I usually drink a bottle of water before leaving the house as well.
I usually use my commute to listen to podcasts and I just line them up in the order they become available, but if I’m having a tough day mentally, I may change the podcast from a business/productivity orientated one to a more fun one. I usually drink a bottle of water while driving to work.
On arriving in work, I do a quick scan of emails, check my calendar for the day, check my t0-do list for the day, refill my water bottle and start work. At the end of the day, I check emails, note anything that needs dealing with in the morning, shut off laptop, refill water bottle, and hit the road.
When I arrive home, I check how long I have until dinner, see if I can do the clothes laying out etc in that time and chill a bit.
The routine helps me keep things going. I build in plenty of time for waking up and sleeping. I build in time for Facebook scrolling and playing games because I enjoy them and they relax me a bit. On the days I’m not in work, I usually do some exercise, some extra dancing or a walk on the treadmill or something like that.
At weekends, I tend to sleep more, catch up on housework a bit, do the shopping, etc. On Sundays, I prepare breakfast and lunch for a few days in advance to make the start of the week a bit easier for myself. even those breakfasts and lunches come out of a fairly small bunch of meals – breakfast is usually oat based, whether porridge or overnight oats or something like that. Lunch if I’m at home can be omelette or sandwiches or pasta, in work, anything that can be thrown in a box and doesn’t require reheating.
It sounds dull, but really, the idea is that what can I spend 5mins doing now that will make my life easier tomorrow or later on? You’ll also notice none of this is a detailed, min-by-min plan, but it’s a rough outline of what a typical morning/ evening might look at. Some days have different routines, e.g. Sunday nights are usually bath night, where I take the time to luxuriate in a long bath before bed to help me off to sleep and relax. Friday nights is our most likely night to have takeaway!
One of the things I do on a Monday morning is review the past week and look forward to the coming week to make sure I’ve not missed something and I’m aware of any upcoming appointments or deadlines. That way, I don’t end up planning a physio appt at the same time as a critical meeting at work or something. It also means I plan fun things ahead of time as well, and look at what friends I want to contact or msg during the week. Even just writing it down usually means it happens. I look at any birthdays coming up, events, disruptions to the routine, etc so things don’t take me by surprise and I can be prepared. I work better (both in work and in life!) when I can prepare.
Now, we can’t prepare for everything in life of course, but for the things I can prepare for, I want to be prepared. So if I know I’m going to be away for the weekend, I might look on Thursday/Friday to make sure I have the makings of breakfast and lunch for Monday in the house. Or if there’s a financial outlay coming up, I’ll make sure it’s noted so I don’t have the same money down to be spent twice or three times.
These routines are in place to support myself and lessen stress where possible in my life. They work for me – they might not work for you! But that basic question: what can I do now for 5mins that will make things easier later? What can I do the night before to make the morning easier? What can I do first thing that will make the day easier? What essential thing must I fit in to make the day easier for me? Looking at the days and weeks this way can help you place support systems for yourself to help you with life.
I’ve not included devotional activities here in detail, but usually if I’m dancing, I will light a candle. Before I sit down to work at home, I’ll light some incense or a candle or both. Part of my browsing/ idle time in the morning is time to check in with Brigid and see how things are with us. Part of my looking forward and back on a Monday is to make sure I’m covering devotional as well as mundane things in my life. It’s all incorporated rather than separated out and that works for me. You may have different mileage! But please, drop a comment or send me an email to let me know what you think! And if you’d like to join the email list, you can sign up here.