In March 2013, my life was full of structure and routines. I worked full time, studied (almost full time), visited the gym at least 3 x a week (usually 5-6 x a week), and spent time with family and friends. Then my life came crashing down around me.
Suddenly I was in so much pain I could barely walk let alone visit the gym. I had to give up my full time job and my study and just focus on getting through day to day. Most days for the first 4 – 5 months were spent in bed or on the couch asleep when I wasn’t at doctors and specialist appointments.
I’ve found though that since I’ve focused on my health and worked on trying to improve my health over the last 2 years, having a routine is a key factor in my ability to improve. Learning to pace myself and break up activities with rest has led to me now returning to work on a casual basis and taking on a variety of activities including blogging, sewing, reading and studying again.
Without a routine this wouldn’t be possible and, even though at times I fall off track, knowing what I should be doing and when helps to simplify my life.
So… what routines do I have in place?
Every day, when I wake up, I lie in bed for a while and just assess where my body is at then I get up and have a shower. The time of this may vary as I no longer use an alarm and lately it can be anywhere between 8 am and 10 am.
After a shower I have a short rest before getting dressed and thinking about breakfast.
If I’m sticking to my routine, breakfast would normally be a smoothie with banana, almond milk and either a gluten free weetbix or greens (cucumber, celery and baby spinach) added to it.
Then I move on with my day. Depending on what’s scheduled, this could involve writing a blog post, doing some housework, or driving to an appointment.
I’ve found without a routine, maintaining the house is impossible with a chronic illness. If I only cleaned when I had the energy it would never get done so I have a routine in place:
Daily: Run robo-vacuum on hard floors downstairs
Monday: Dust and run robo-vacuum around upstairs to clean floors
Tuesday: Load of washing
Wednesday: Day off as I usually have my doctors appointments
Thursday: Load of washing
Friday: Clean shower and toilets
Saturday: Load of washing
Sunday: Day off
As you can see, I do washing every 2-3 days. This helps keep the size of the load down so that I can carry the basket myself. Usually the clothes are folded and put away the day after they’re washed (we line dry).
This routine helps keep the house at a reasonable level of cleanliness. I don’t always manage the dusting on the Monday, and obviously there is other big jobs that need doing less often, but so far this routine is working for us.
Before getting sick, I was passionate about staying fit and healthy. I walked everywhere I could and, as mentioned above, I went to the gym regularly. Now my routine is a lot more relaxed…
My goal is to average 5,000 steps a day on good days and 2-3,000 on a crash day (tracked with my Garmin Vivofit). This goal is usually reached just maintaining my day to day activities without any specific walks.
I meditate, including body relaxation techniques, and do gentle yoga stretches daily. The yoga stretches include a series of stretches specifically to reduce pelvic pain from the Pelvic Pain Foundation of Australia.
Occasionally, I may get to a pool and participate in some hydrotherapy. This is something I’m working on making more regular.
Routines, Routines, Routines
As you can see above, I have plenty of routines in my life that are helping me to maintain and improve my health (and I’m sure I’ve missed some of them out here!).
Do you have any routines that you stick to?
What have you found helps you?