Monday, June 3, 2013

What I did during my vacation week (and boy, do I need a routine)

Today I’m returning to work after being off for a week. I had nine days in a row to do what I wanted to do, nine days to not feel like I had to stay plugged into the news, nine days of freedom.
No, I’m not ready to go back to work. But a little part of me is glad to go back only to have more of a routine. Having a routine is helpful for both my depression and my OCD.
First, the vacation week:
*I read a lot, hung out with Larry and with the cats, took naps and just generally relaxed.
*I finally transferred my music library from iTunes to my iPhone. I’ve only had my iPhone for five months.
*I had to get my driver’s license renewed, so I had to spend a little time at the DMV, but it wasn’t too bad. The new picture on the license? Larry said it looked like a mug shot, and it does. And I’m going to have to live with it for at least eight years.
*Larry took me to the bookstore and waited while I picked out a stack of books for my birthday. I was like the proverbial kid in the candy store.
*We had a nice dinner out for my birthday. While we were eating, Larry noticed what he at first thought was a pheasant out the window. Turns out it was a peacock. The waitress told us he had recently taken up there. I got a photo of him on my iPhone through the window, so it's not a great shot.


*We drove up to Leesville Lake, a nearby lake, one evening and enjoyed the peace and quiet and beauty of the water.


It was a wonderful nine days. But they didn’t include a lot of routine. Not having a routine is OK for a while, but overall I feel better if I do have one.
For example, during my time off, I stayed up late, then slept late or napped at odd hours. Getting up at different times led me to take my medicine at different times and to eat at different times.
Going back to work will help me sleep and eat more regularly.
Staying busy with work also helps my depression and OCD by keeping my mind on other things. I don’t have as much down time, so I don’t have as much time to mull over things that might cause anxiety.
With all of that said, my routine still needs help. I’d like to have a routine that suits me even when I’m not working.
I’d like to get up earlier in the morning. I’d like to write on more of a regular schedule. I’d like to have time set aside each day for meditation and reflection. I’d like to have less empty time where I can’t decide what to do. I’d like to live with a more peaceful rhythm.
It’s hard work to change one’s routine. I know that from experience.
So I’m asking you, dear reader, to please offer me and other readers some tips and advice. How important is a routine to you? Does your life have a rhythm? How do you manage your schedule? How do you make yourself get up early in the morning?

36 comments:

  1. A stack of books sounds like a good birthday present!
    Overall, I don't have a routine. It's hard when there is nobody counting on me to do things, so I can just do them when I want for the most part. I was in a bit of a writing routine for a while; I would write before I turned the internet on. But I've gotten out of it.

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    1. Thanks, Kristina. I'm the same way if no one is counting on me to do things.

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  2. Getting up early in the morning is not my cup of tea, and so I don't do it! I usually go to sleep around 2 a.m. and wake around 10 a.m. My day is a bit organized, but not nearly as much as I'd like. Most of my days (in the summer, anyway) are played by ear.

    And so, I have no advice, except to do what you're comfortable with.

    Your birthday celebratory week sounds wonderful, and I'm wishing you a very happy belated birthday :)

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    1. Thank you, Amanda. I agree that we should do what's comfortable for us. I just feel better when I get up early and get things done. But it doesn't always work out that way. :-)

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  3. I have to get up around 4 am every morning to make my hubby's lunch and basically get him off to work with everything he needs. It takes a village...

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    1. You are a good wife, Nancy, to do that for your hubby. Yes, it does take a village sometimes. :-)

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  4. Sounds like you had quite a relaxing 9 days off Tina. A nice well-deserved vacation. As far as routine goes - I am two different people when it comes to that. During the week, I am VERY routine-oriented. I wake up at the same time, and my daily pattern is pretty much Groundhog Day-like. But during the weekends I am very non-routine-ish (if that's a word).

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    1. Thanks, Keith. That sounds like a great way to handle routine. And I like the word non-routine-ish.: I need to be more routine-ish. :-)

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  5. Oh it sounds like you had fun. I am terrible at routine I always seem to change it but I am working on it I am back to blogging because it grounds me and I am glad I did take a break now I know that is truly part of my needed routine. Great shots. B

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    1. Thanks, B. I missed you during your break, but I'm glad you took the time and enjoyed it. Blogging helps to ground me, too.

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  6. Tina, it is great that you had some relaxing time...we all need that! As far as routine...well, I am a very punctual individual who likes to have a routine. However, on days where I have to myself and go on walks, I don't have a routine...I break it. I make it spontaneous and enjoyable. On the days I take my walks, I often don't know where I am going to go until the last minute, which makes it interesting and fun...and unexpected. However, in work situations I am a routine person and very thorough.

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    1. Linda, that sounds similar to what Keith (in above comment) does and it sounds like a very good way to handle routine. I like the idea of setting out on a walk and not know where you're going from the start. Thank you for sharing.

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  7. glad you had a good 9 days, even if it takes you off-beat a bit.

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    1. Thanks, Theresa. The days just went by too fast! :-)

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  8. I get up early because if I don't, I know I won't be able to accomplish everything I need to/want to during the day (I work from home). It's almost counter-intuitive, but it seems the busier I am, the more I get accomplished, because there's no "hanging around" or thinking "I have all day, I'll get to it later." I think we all need to find what works best for ourselves.......it seems to me you accomplish a lot, even just with your blog!

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    1. Thank you, Janet. I know what you mean about accomplishing more when you have more to do. I think I'm more efficient when I'm really busy.

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  9. It sounds like your week off was heavenly! Especially the part about how you got to pick out a stack of books!

    I know what you mean about how vacation is nice but we need a routine and do better if we have one.

    I'm glad you had 9 days of relaxation!

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    1. Thank you, Elizabeth. The thing about picking out the books was that there were so many choices, and I had a hard time selecting what I wanted. Oh, well, that's not a bad situation to be in. :-)

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  10. Sounds like you had some great time off! It's always so helpful to recharge.

    As for routine, I need it, too. I've been off my schedule because of some visits to see family, and I'm feeling the effects. By next week I should be back into my normal routine for the rest of the summer, and I'm ready! Still, while it's good for me to keep busy as well, I have to make sure that I'm scheduling down time, too, or I just work until I'm totally worn out.

    Here in the Pacific Northwest, my rhythms are becoming more seasonal. This morning I woke at 5:00 a.m. because the sun was streaming into my bedroom...in the winter, it comes up at about 8:00, so I tend to sleep later. This time of year is a busy time with the needs of the garden, while winter is a time to stay inside. I try to keep a consistent writing schedule even during the summer, but it's easier to write in the winter.

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    1. Nadine, I love that seasonal rhythm that you describe. It sounds so natural. I'm noticing that I tend to wake up on my own (before the alarm goes off) at around 5:30 or 5:45 a.m., so I'm wondering if that's my "natural" time to get up. Unfortunately, I tend to roll over and snooze some more.

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  11. Sounds like a nice break. And score on the bday bookstore shopping spree! I love those!

    My routine gradually shifts each summer to me getting up earlier so I can run since the boys are home during the day. It's hard sometimes waking up at 5:30 am, but once I get moving, it's really my favorite part of the day, because it's the only time in the day I can truly claim as my own.

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    1. Thanks, Lisa. Yes, I loved the bookstore shopping spree!

      I can understand how you would enjoy your early morning time. That must be really nice to have that run at the start of what must be very busy days!

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  12. I, unfortunately, do not have any real routine. I think if I worked I would get more done because of managing my time more efficiently. But this gal is NOT going back to work, routine or not. Sounds like you did have a pleasant time off, especially your birthday celebration and the new stack of books!!

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    1. Thanks, Deanna. I did have a nice b-day. I don't blame you for not wanting to go back to work, certainly not for the sake of a routine! :-)

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  13. I'm so glad you had such a wonderful time off! Happy belated birthday - and a stack of books is a great way to celebrate anything. :)

    I have to have a routine - usually I have a rough one in my head, but when I'm away from home and can't do my own thing, it really messes me up.

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    1. Thank you, Anna. You sound like me. If I get too far from some sort of routine, I feel out of sorts.

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  14. that's the best way to spend a vacation, relaxing!!

    i don't have a routine. up when i want, bed whenever i get tired. what little work i do, i do from home!!

    i think i have a great "stay at home" ethic...i don't watch t.v. and i never do nothing. i have lot's of hobbies and "stuff" that keeps me busy all day. i don't know how i would find the time for a real "job" ;))))

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    1. Thanks, Debbie. I love hearing about your hobbies and projects. You do indeed stay busy!

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  15. Tina,
    We all need a break from work and routine. It is a time to relax and not worry about our everyday life.

    Like many, I function better around a routine. At the same time, living on a ranch is anything but routine!

    I am an early riser and enjoy the quiet of the morning. My body is in an eating routine that I tend to stick with. I also function best if I can get in my daily walk. Clears the mind and makes me feel good. I like to be busy and have discovered I need to be outside part of the day.

    We all have our little quirks; they make us who we are!

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    1. Robyn, it sounds like you've found a great rhythm to life. I can imagine that living on a ranch means you have to be ready for anything! Thank you for sharing.

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  16. Oh yes, I need routine too! But I'm very undisciplined, so can't offer you much help there, ha ha!

    Happy birthday! Glad you got to pick out so many books. What a treat.

    I did not know that peacocks were ever on the loose. Well, I guess they must be native to somewhere, but I just never think of them that way. How cool that you got a pic of him/her. Isn't the Iphone great? I could not live without mine. I'm totally addicted.

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    1. Thank you, Sunny. I tend to be undisciplined, too. It's hard to change!

      The waitress told us the peacock flew in one day. They try to feed it next door to the restaurant to try to keep him away from cars, but he keeps coming over to the restaurant. She thought it was because he likes to see his reflection in the doors. :-)

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    2. Happy Belated Birthday! Your flowers are beautiful and your cake looks delish!

      I'm so glad you were able to enjoy your vacation time to the best of your ability! I think a routine is good for most folks, even those without OCD. At least, I get more done when I have a routine. That being said, I think it's also good to "just let go" sometimes and throw caution to the wind. I understand where anxiety does not allow that for everyone and it makes me a bit sad.

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    3. Thank you, Jill. It is hard for me to "just let go," but I am working on it and getting better at it!

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  17. I know what you mean, Tina, about having a routine. I just started vacation and am lost here. I have a difficult time with transitions. Hopefully things will get easier. I have lots of plans! So glad you had a nice vacation and birthday!

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    1. Thank you, Patty. That's great that you vacation has started. I know you will do so many creative things!

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