Week 7 of 'The Great Wake Up!'
This weeks experiment was particularly interesting. It involved tuning into my body's energy and sleeping when it felt right, getting out of bed when I was ready to, and eating what I needed - when I needed it. Obviously there were limits with this. I'd need to work within the constraints of my job, even though I was so tempted to turn up to work a few hours late and casually inform my colleagues that according to my body clock, I was bang on time!
These days my life seems to be dictated by 'to do' lists and schedules. When I'm not working it feels like I've got a million things to do and very little time in which to do them. It's as if I'm moving from one task to the next with hardly any time to pause and take a breath in between. This might sound surprising to others, being a single woman with no kids. But don't let that fool you - there is still lots to get through. I'm currently working my way through four courses, writing two blogs and training for a marathon, as well as commuting three hours a day to and from my place of work. So I'm constantly on the go and trying to fit everything in.
My usual approach is to just get things done and out of the way as quickly as I can. I don't like knowing I've got all these things to do, so I figure that the sooner I get them done, the sooner I can relax. Even if I'm really not in the mood to do any of those things I'll tend to struggle through them just to get them finished. And that's what it starts to feel like - a struggle - because I'm not doing them when I want to do them.
So over the past few days I've changed things around a bit. I started with my marathon training which is the thing I find hardest, both physically and mentally. I know I've got to train but I put myself under constant pressure to follow what is in my training schedule TO THE LETTER. In my eyes, there's no room to deviate from it and if I do, I start to catastrophise and tell myself all sorts of stories about how I'll never be able to finish on the day! So these past few days I've been less hard on myself and done my training when I wanted to do it and how I wanted to do it. One day I didn't feel like training first thing in the morning as I usually do, so I didn't. Simple. I went later in the afternoon, which allowed me to sleep in too which was an extra bonus! I even did something that is unheard of in my book. I did a 25 minute run instead of the 30 minute run I was supposed to do! And it felt good to be a bit more flexible (and slightly rebellious!), because the training is hard enough as it is so why make things tougher by putting extra pressure on myself?
I also transferred this new flexible outlook to other areas of my life - when travelling too and from places I was careful not to stress myself out about getting late and instead did things in my own time and at my own pace (where possible). Sleep was also something I did when my body told me too, but to be honest I normally make the most of this at weekends so it wasn't completely new to me
On the whole I found this experiment encouraged me to take a much more relaxed approach to my day-to-day life. Doing things when it was right for me to do them, rather than forcing myself to do them felt so much less exhausting and I found myself feeling generally happier overall.