Friday, September 23, 2005

How to stay on track--sort of

I am sloooowly starting to get back on track. It's all about routine. I posted little reminders around my apartment: "Wake up early." "Go to bed." "Exercise." "Do you really need that piece of chocolate?" Maybe it's kind of psycho but it's my apartment so who cares?
Then, I went to bed early. Fell asleep soundly and slept well throughout the night. This enabled me to wake up at a reasonable time, follow my game-plan for the day and leave lab at a reasonable time without feeling trashed.
2nd, when I got home, feeling charged from following my plan, I dropped my bags, changed immediately to my running clothes, and ran out the door. I was trying to catch the remaining glimpse of daylight. I ended up running in the dark. Bad, bad. But, at least I got to go running outside. I had the rest of the night to relax, be with the bunnies, and make my lunch and lay out my clothes for the next day (which is helpful in easing into tomorrow). Not taking a 6 pm nap was helpful too.
I've noticed if I pause at all when I get home, I gravitate to the couch and promptly fall asleep, which totally screws me up. So I've been forcing myself to immediately exercise. It makes me feel soooo good afterwards. Physically, I have the energy. It's just that I can emotionally trick myself out of it sometimes. The trick is to NOT THINK. I bring a snack to lab, and, at the end of the day, as things are winding down, I work at my desk and have a snack and get psyched up to exercise. It's helpful if there's a time limit, for instance, getting outside for a nice workout before the sun goes down (very challenging though with it getting dark so early).
I've had a lot of things working against me. I was taking Zyrtec to fight the hives every few days. Zyrtec used to do fine with me but now that I'm on Lexapro, the two mix together and turn me into a zombie for 2 DAYS. All I can do is sleep, sleep, wake up and stumble around, and sleep. I was taking 3-4 hour naps and then sleeping for 10-12 hours at night. So, no more Zyrtec, even if I scratch my skin off.
The other thing is diet. I would get so focused on lab that I would forget to eat, become ravenous, and scarf down cookies and caffeine. Not good. I've found that if I eat ever few hours and fuel my body with healthy foods, I have a lot more energy and feel more stable. I love salmon with hummus on whole grain bread for breakfast. Turkey (hummus), low-fat swiss on pita bread for lunch. Yogurt, sugar-snap peas, a granola bar (honey 'n oats) for a snack. Dinner is very simple: usually a salad, raw broccilli, and some chicken. I hate to cook so I try to get a lot of fresh, easy foods that I can just eat without making a big fuss about.
I'm far from perfect. I'm still sleeping about 10 hours at night and feel a little dizzy during the day, but I have a feeling something odd is going on with my body and the stupid medications I'm on. But I'm getting there. Each day is better.
The trick is, how do you salvage a day from feeling terrible when you wake up on the wrong foot? I tend to think the entire day is a waste, then the week, and then I shuffle around all depressed until the following Monday. I wake up late. Very late. Okay, fine. First, I try not to cram everything in to make up for lost time. It doesn't work and only makes me feel frustrated. Then, I try to stick to the schedule I had set for the rest of the day. Finally, before I leave the apartment, I do one thing I have on my list for when I get home--change litterboxes, pick up a package, drop off the dry cleaning, etc. Something simple. Then, when I get home, I don't feel overwhelmed, and no matter what, I've done something productive for the day.
Why is staying in a routine so hard? I don't know. I wish it were easier. But all I can do is try. I ran Monday AND Tuesday and it kicked my ass. I'm SO out of shape; it's not funny. I weight-lifted Tuesday and Thursday, and it felt awesome. Wednesday, I took the night off b/c, honestly, the running and lifting made me so sore that I decided to recoup. I'm out of shape now, so I'm trying to ease back into it gradually. I have all these huge training/triathlon goals, and I have to hold back. I'll get back into shape. It's my mantra now. I keep telling myself that. However, it's self-defeating to have training goals right now. My goal is simply to build a base for next season. Afterall, I'm in training right now for a huge and different kind of race--my dissertation.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Well, it sounds like you have it figured out for the most part. That is good to hear! I am an avid cyclist and I find it extremely hard to stay in a routine. It seems that I am only motivated to get into "race" shape after I have already signed up for a race and have no choice but to ride. I guess we all struggle with similar things though. Anyway, my hat is off to you for getting back on track. Keep it up!