I haven’t written a post in over a week because I lost my routine and, when you don’t work, routine is such a very delicate thing that’s hard to get back.
When working, it’s easy to feel stuck in a routine. When not working, it takes effort to remain in one.
Everyone needs some level of routine but it’s even more important to anyone who’s experienced a mental health disorder. In fact, your life depends on routine if you want to stay out of negative cycles like mania, depression or addiction.
What took me out of my daily routine was organising a house exchange. I don’t mean actually moving house – I mean all of the bureaucracy, communication, visits, meetings and decision-making that’s part of arranging a house swap. Because it’s not just about you and your landlord. It’s about two of you and two landlords. The whole thing has taken two months just to get to the stage of agreeing on a moving date following landlord permission. And on Wednesday, we settled on a date. But now it’s Saturday and I still don’t have my routine back.
Part of the problem is that my routine involves moving at an Eckhart Tolle pace, ie slower than the average hare. And when I get caught up in the speed of other people’s pace, I can’t get back into my routine until I slow back down to tortoise. And slowing down takes more effort than speeding up.
Well it’s Saturday night and I regard Sunday as the start of the week. So tomorrow, I will make a consistent and steady effort to return to my old routine, as though it’s brand new again. Because I’m not even packing for another 5 weeks. So to all the intrusive thoughts about the future, I say, “Is that so? Thank you for sharing.” Every 5 minutes if I have to, until I’m back into my daily routine so much that I can forget that I ever left it.