June 3, 2012

How following a routine saved my sanity

I have a job that requires me to jump up and go at no notice, often going into volatile situations with no one to back me up and oftentimes, people don't know where I am.

I love that. I love my job. It keeps me on my toes and alert, and I am good at what I do.

But, jumping up and in to stressful situations day in and out really starts to take its toll after a while. I noticed that my ability to keep up with chores around the house was slacking. I was having difficulty sleeping. The thing that I loved to do most, cook, was falling by the wayside in exchange for fast food and frozen pizzas.

This all took a tremendous toll on my physical and mental health. I gained weight. I started having nightmares. And for the first time ever, my doctor warned me about my cholesterol levels. I thought I had to give up my job, that it must be the root of all these problems. But when I looked deeper, I realized my job is just my job. It was me that was not responding in a healthy way. So I decided to overhaul my life and create a routine to make things easier for me at home and work.

Here is my routine. It's not set and stone, but every workday I essentially do the same thing. It has made a world of difference in my life. I found time I never thought existed and now am able to go to the gym every morning before work. My health is improving and my ability to handle those risky situations is better than ever. My house is even tidier (most of the time! ha).

5:10 Wake up (sometimes this is half the battle!)
Let dog outside and feed her
Get dressed in gym clothes
Load up both of the cars with gym bags, lunch boxes, and other stuff we need for the day.
Leave for gym, where I will shower after my workout
7:15 Eat breakfast at J's office, leave for work

Get home from work (time varies, usually about 6pm)
Give some attention to the dog
Unpack and re-pack lunch bags, put in the fridge.
Cook and eat dinner, do dinner dishes (this part doesn't always happen:))
Pack gym bags with work clothes for tomorrow, lay out gym clothes.
Relax and hang out with J and the beast.

That's it. That's what completely turned my life around from thinking I may have to quit my job to "hey, I can handle this."

If you feel like you don't have enough time in your day, I encourage you to create a routine for yourself. It doesn't have to be as long as mine. If you are chronically late for work and spend money eating out at lunch a lot, try packing a lunch the night before and setting your alarm 10 minutes earlier in the morning. You might find that it sets the tone for the rest of your day.

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