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Jett's Same Old Routine


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Hi, Druids! Still hanging out here because I'm still working on more of an inner discipline/self-improvement challenge!


Last challenge I managed to create and stick with a regular schedule for the first time in my adult life. After living that for a month, I have a few tweaks to add to it, and some things I want to flesh out a bit. This is the schedule I want to keep for this challenge:


7:30 AM: Wake up. Turn on sun lamp.

8:15 AM: Exercise with wife (yoga or weight lifting)

9:00 AM: Breakfast, then leave for work.

1:00 PM: Lunch (30 min) - Do DuoLingo.

6:30 PM: Head home (arrive ~7:15).

7:30 PM: Eat dinner.

8:00 PM: Go for a walk with wife.

8:20 PM: Free time (TV, hobbies, art, gaming) - use blue light blocking glasses

9:45 PM: Take melatonin. Get ready for bed.

10:30 PM: Bed time.


The biggest change here is that I'm going to try to work out in the morning, and walk in the evening. It seems to take me about 45 minutes to get ready from waking up to ready to walk out the door. I also want to leave 45 minutes for exercising and then showering/whatever afterward. Since I need to leave for work at 9 AM, that means waking up at 7:30 AM, half an hour earlier than I am now. Which means the end of the day has to shift a little to compensate.


I think the sense of accomplishment and physical benefits of regularly doing yoga and lifting will make the earlier bed time worth it! I should also mention that I'm not going to start lifting until I start taking testosterone. I've been told that once I start, I will quickly see some major changes re: energy and hunger. So I'm going to need to adapt to that once I do start, which should be in 2-3 weeks. So the latter half of the challenge should be... interesting. ;)


There's an order of priority in keeping my schedule, with the highest priority being "stuff that has to happen every day no matter what":

1. Wake with sun lamp at 7:30 AM; take melatonin and get ready for bed by 10:00 PM

2. Eat breakfast before leaving home; eat lunch by 1:00 PM

3. Some form of exercise in the morning

4. Nightly walk; use free time constructively


A change in focus this time around is on eating in a regular schedule. With sleep more generally managed than before, I became aware that my eating habits are all over the place. And I'm developing a worrying habit of skipping breakfast and then "putting off" lunch as late as possible - usually after 2pm. The worst part about that is that when I finally do eat, I can't seem to get properly full unless I eat something very heavy in fat and carbs. Also, I just feel terrible, with headaches and lightheadedness. Why am I doing this to myself? :wacko:


So eating regularly is priority 2 now, almost as important as book-ending my sleep time with rhythm-resetting light/hormone cues. Because food also resets the rhythm, and because this quasi "intermittent fasting" thing isn't doing me any favors. (And skipping meals is going to be a LOT worse on me once I start adjusting to a male metabolism! So I gotta nip this in the bud now.)


EDIT: And I forgot to add the other important challenge I need to do: Hydration! For now, I am making it a goal to fill and then drink my entire 1.5 liter water bottle every day (including weekends!!) I think part of my low energy/feeling like crap issues are coming from chronic dehydration. I don't look forward to peeing 20 times a day, but it needs to happen.


And another, "softer" focus is on using my free time in a more constructive manner. I have about an hour and a half every evening to do whatever, but it mostly gets used to watching TV or YouTube videos. So I've created a loose weekly schedule of what to do each day during that evening time. TV time is still on there, but so is painting with my wife (one of her favorite hobbies) and days where I play video games (a hobby I miss). My hope is that I'll appreciate my free time more if I actually use it for hobbies I like.

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Oh, and I forgot to mention it, because I don't want to overload myself with changes, and these are "soft" goals that aren't really being measured for the challenge, BUT:

1. I want to try to do a "gratitude" journal entry every night before I sleep.

2. I am still trying to use an "intuitive eating" approach to how I feed myself.

3. I want to start doing meal prep on weekends so I have better quality snacks to eat during the week.

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I love the adjustments you've made to your routine!  You found things that aren't working and used it as a strategy to make it more efficient for you!  :applouse:

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2013: 6/1/13 - 7/24/13 - 9/15/13 - 11/6/13   2014: 1/5/142/19/14 - 4/9/14 - 6/6/14 - 7/24/14 - 9/11/14 - 11/5/14 

2015: 1/2/15 - 2/20/15 - 4/9/15 - 6/2/15 - 9/10/15 - 10/26/15   2016: 1/1/16 - 2/28/16 - 3/28/16 - 6/6/16 - 9/19/16 - 10/26/16 - 11/26/16   

2017: 1/1/17 - 9/17/17   2018: 1/1/18 - 2/5/18 - 8/13/18 - 11/26/18   2019: 1/7/19   2020: 9/13/20


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Day two of new schedule:

Waking up at 7:30 isn't as bad as I thought it would be. Going to bed by 10:30pm, however, is a struggle. Last night, for example, I was watching an anime stream with some online friends, and 9:45 came and went, but I was having too much fun and didn't want to leave. By the time I got to bed, it was 11:30pm, and it still took me a while to fall asleep. 11:30pm still sounds like an "early" bed time to me, but the way I feel this morning tells me it's definitely not early enough.


I've now done yoga twice in the mornings, instead of walking, and I think I prefer it. Because I do it before I get dressed, I'm ready to start sooner than if I was going walking. All I really have to do is roll out of bed, brush my teeth, and use the bathroom. I sleep in sweatpants, so that's my yoga workout outfit already on! And I don't have to go outside in the cold, which is nice. After yoga, I put bread in the toaster and then get dressed while it toasts, and then I have time for a quick little breakfast before I leave. The whole process takes less time than I expected it to, which leads to a nice, non-rushed feeling. I'm not sure if lifting will be as easy a process, for several reasons, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.


After-dinner walk didn't happen yesterday, but I'm determined to start it up today. It's a struggle for the same reasons that after-work workouts were, but I think that it will be an easier habit to establish.

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Last night/this morning is probably the first really big "bump" I've encountered in the road to making a new routine. I had to stay late at work to finish something that my boss needed for a meeting in the morning, which was a problem because I was supposed to meet my wife at a mall which she'd taken the bus to, so that we could go out to eat together. So I left her hanging for about an hour, where she was just kind of wandering around in a store with nothing to do, getting hungrier and hungrier. :(


It was super late by the time we actually got home. Almost 10 pm! So we didn't go for a walk, and I got to bed late yet again. That carried over into this morning, where I did get up at 7:30 and turn on my lamp, but then I fell back asleep with the lamp on! Which meant there wasn't time for yoga... The only part of my routine that I managed to keep was eating breakfast, though even that was a few minutes late.

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Love the structure! Just a side note, there's not a lot of data on the safety or efficacy of using melatonin long term - it's generally best suited for short term use when adjusting sleep schedules (eg. Shift work or jetlag). Food for thought. Maybe long term you could phase out and replace with chamomile tea? 

...but I'm adorable! Ask anyone who doesn't know me...

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11 hours ago, Defining said:

Love the structure! Just a side note, there's not a lot of data on the safety or efficacy of using melatonin long term - it's generally best suited for short term use when adjusting sleep schedules (eg. Shift work or jetlag). Food for thought. Maybe long term you could phase out and replace with chamomile tea? 


Well, the issue is that I'm constantly re-adjusting my sleep schedule. I've tried just letting it run however it wants (during periods of unemployement or self-employment) and I run on a longer-than-24-hours schedule naturally. So if I have to conform to a regular schedule, I'm literally constantly "jetlagged". That's why using light therapy and melatonin are the cornerstones of my schedule, to do as much as I can to force my circadian rhythm to reset on a daily basis. I've been using melatonin for quite a while now, probably about 5 years, and thankfully it's still quite effective for me. I actually had to drop my dose from 10mg to 5mg once I got over the worst of my insomnia, because I found the 10mg a bit too effective. As for safety, I'm not sure if there's any issue. I am aware of the usual concerns about taking melatonin supplements and then being in bright light causing depression, and I'm careful about that. The only real concern I have is that it's possible that my natural production of melatonin might be lessened due to always getting it as a supplement. I definitely do notice a difference in how easily I fall asleep with it, vs when I don't take it, but I don't know if that difficulty is higher than before I started having insomnia. At any rate, it's still working, and it helps me a lot, so I'm going to keep doing it unless I find a reason not to.

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On 2/7/2019 at 11:30 PM, Tobbe said:

Good for you for choosing breakfast as the thing to keep of your routine! I know for myself it would have been so easy to skip breakfast and exercise instead, which is probably not what my body needs. Especially, like in your case, I had gotten less sleep than planned!


My normal fix would be to skip both breakfast and exercise... which I did end up doing on Friday. (Kind of by accident/out of habit since I was running late.) I have noticed a really significant increase in energy and better mood in the mornings since I started making myself eat breakfast before work, so I'm definitely on the right track here.


My routine really fell apart over the weekend. It seems like this happens more when I feel stressed and overwhelmed by needing to do a lot of things. I had one thing that I really wanted to finish (writing up a lore guide for a RPG I'm doing with my friends) that took a lot longer than I expected, and I got fixated on that. I stayed up super late on Saturday trying to finish it. Then my sleep schedule was ruined for the rest of the weekend. I realized that I was putting off doing some other overwhelming things, like taxes and dealing with a jury duty summons, by focusing on the fun thing. But Sunday afternoon, when I finished the lore guide, I had even more things to do because I had put off weekend chores!


I'm very tired this morning, but I've realized one other thing that I think is an important realization. The way I feel now used to by my "normal" for Monday mornings and Friday mornings, my two most off-schedule days of the week. But over the last 5 weeks or so, when I've mostly stuck to my routine, I haven't felt this bad. So the routine is working, and worth maintaining!

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On 2/11/2019 at 11:03 AM, Tobbe said:

That's a great insight! Now "just" to keep fighting to maintain the routine!


I'm tryiiiiing...


I've "shifted" about 2 hours out of phase. So I'm getting to sleep around 1am, and waking up around 9am. Which means I have no time for morning activities and I'm getting to work late. Which means staying late, which means getting home kind late and rushing around trying to get things done, perpetuating the cycle...


I'm hoping to reset during the weekend, and trying to get things back where they should be starting next week.


I'm also having trouble meeting my hydration goals. I'm not sure why I have such a hard time just drinking water. It's not even that much water!

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Things did not get fixed over the weekend. I'm really failing to get the schedule back to where it needs to be. I think that a part of it is because my wife isn't really sticking to it with me anymore. She's been having trouble sleeping, so instead of getting up with me at 7:30, which is very helpful for getting myself going, instead I have to try to be quiet and not wake her because she finally fell asleep. It also means I don't have someone to do yoga with in the morning - not that I've been waking up early enough for yoga, anyway.


This isn't to say that it's her responsibility to help me stick to my schedule, but it is definitely harder to do without her.

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1 hour ago, Jett said:

This isn't to say that it's her responsibility to help me stick to my schedule, but it is definitely harder to do without her.


An accountability buddy/partner/friend is indeed very helpful! 


How about you report in here every day? "Today I did my morning yoga". "Today I didn't do my morning yoga because X Y Z"

Sometimes that tiny little extra bit of accountability is all that is needed :) 

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My wife finally got a better night's sleep, and actually got up before me today. Most likely related, I got up a little earlier and got a little closer to reclaiming my schedule.


22 hours ago, Tobbe said:

How about you report in here every day? "Today I did my morning yoga". "Today I didn't do my morning yoga because X Y Z"

Sometimes that tiny little extra bit of accountability is all that is needed :) 


I think that's a good idea.


I got up at 8:30 today. It took that long (an hour) to truly wake up, even though my wife had the lights on and was playing music. Then I went and did the usual morning bathroom things, and got dressed, and by then it was almost 9 am. I had time to eat breakfast and make my lunch, and then I had to leave for work - so no yoga. (After several days of not doing any yoga or walking, I can really feel that my back is tightening up. :()


It's currently noon, and my plan is to eat lunch at 1:00 pm. I need to actually leave my desk and go take a lunch - I've been eating in front of the computer lately, and that seems to have a negative impact on my mental health.

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Last night I got to bed around 12:30 AM - not sure when I fell asleep. Woke up at 8:30 again today. The difficulty in waking up is definitely due to not getting enough sleep...


Skipped everything in the morning again. Ate breakfast at work. At least I did eat lunch at the right time. Making sure that I eat on schedule is helpful for my overall sense of wellbeing. Leaving my desk at lunch seems to help, too.


Going to try to go to bed early tonight. I really need to fix this sleep schedule issue.

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Didn't get to sleep particularly early. But my wife's new medication finally arrived, and it's helped a lot with the issues she was having with sleep. So she was up before me and even made breakfast while I was trying to wake up. So I woke up at 7:30, and didn't really get out of bed until 8am, but that was plenty of time. Ate breakfast first, then did yoga. In theory, it should be the other way around, but eating and drinking coffee helped me wake up, and then it was easier to do yoga. Except for the poses that constrict the stomach! Oh well...


Since I got up a little earlier, I'm hungry at noon instead of 1 am. That's fine - gonna go make lunch as soon as I finish this post. :) It really makes an amazing difference to do all the things in the morning at a nice relaxed pace. I don't know if I can do that without my wife's help. The difference between when she's awake at the normal time and when she's still asleep is huge.

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It feels like I'm finally starting to get the routine back in order. I'm still missing things here and there, like eating lunch too late or skipping yoga because I'm running late. The biggest issue at the moment is that I'm getting to bed far too late. Right now, I'm just making myself get up on time, anyway (with help from my wife). But I can only do that for so long until the sleep debt catches up to me and I'm really going to have a problem.

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Today was that 'crash' day. I didn't actually get up until 8:45. Walked into work at a few minutes to 10 and realized that there was a company-wide meeting at 10 AM. So, fortunately, I just made it in time for that. Got some free breakfast out fo it, at least!


Tomorrow I have to come into the office an hour early. So I either need to wake up early, or I'll have to choose to skip some of the morning routine again. (Probably going to be the latter, tbh.) I really, really need to get my bed time back under control so I don't crash and burn even worse.

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Urg, well, I made it to work on time. Barely. I had 2 minutes to spare before my 9 am meeting. Still need to make getting to bed on time a priority.


I think I need to simplify a little bit for the remainder of the challenge. Looking back at my priorities, I definitely had my mind in the right place when I wrote those. So, based on those priorities, here are my goals for the rest of the challenge:

  • Wake at 7:30 AM, use sun lamp
  • Some form of exercise in the morning (walk or yoga)
  • Eat breakfast before leaving home
  • Eat lunch by 1:00 PM
  • At 9:45 PM, take melatonin; get into bed by 10:30 PM
  • Stay hydrated (1.5 L of water per day)

That's got the most essential parts of my routine and self-care. If I can consistently do these things at the same time every day, that will go a long way to keeping my circadian rhythm stable and keeping me in a healthy state mentally and physically. If I'm doing other things but missing these, then it's not sustainable. I need to keep hammering that into my brain until I accept that these are the most important underpinnings of my daily life, and I should do everything in my power to protect that stability.


I'm still fighting what I'm gonna call my "teenager brain" on the early wake and bed times. It's starting to get frustrating. C'mon, me. Grow up. -_- 

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Today, I could tell that my mental health was getting a little off. Even though having a routine can help with that, I decided that today should be a "free" day in the sense that I'm not expecting anything of myself, including sticking to routine. A big part of it was sleep deprivation, I think, so I slept in an extra 2 hours. I was an hour late to work, but I accidentally stayed way too late a couple of times earlier this week, so I actually needed a short hours day so I didn't cause any overtime. (And I didn't have any morning meetings, so I had the flexibility to do that without getting in trouble.) I convinced my wife to come spend the day in the area where I work, so we could have lunch together. And we'll probably have dinner together before heading home.

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