Wednesday, July 1, 2009

July 2009: Can I establish a routine in 31 days?

The NaBloPoMo blogging theme for July is ROUTINE. I'm going to be honest and tell you that I wasn't really planning to blog every day in July until I saw this theme. See, now that I am disabled and spend most of my days at home, I am keenly aware that I have a profound lack of routine in my life. At least I THINK I do ... it may be a case of not realizing I have a new routine because I keep comparing my life now with my life pre-disability and, well, the differences are striking.

Pre-disability, I worked full-time and let my job be the cornerstone building block of my routine. Basically everything else that wasn't work or work-related was labeled "free time" and I could do whatever I wanted with my free time. So when I became dis
abled, suddenly I was living free time 24/7/365, minus my previous ability to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, for how long and how much I wanted to do it. I now have a glut of free time and a limited physical and mental capability to take advantage of it!

Recently in the CFIDS/FM Self Help group I identified a new goal for myself and some strategies to achieve it:

I believe that the goal that corresponds to where I am at right now is the goal of Creating a New Life. As I reviewed the materials from the Self Help 2 course, certain options under several of the chapters sort of jumped out at me. I think these represent the tasks that have been more difficult, more troublesome and more challenging for me to master as I have shifted my focus from devoting so much time to "treating" my FM/CFIDS to learning how to "live my best life" with FM/CFIDS. These options are:

1) Exercise
I definitely have some form of post-exertional fatigue related to my dysautonomia. Despite multiple attempts at trying to find exercise that works for me, I had not been successful at creating a regular exercise routine. I need to complete my assessment and consultation with the Workwell Foundation to *hopefully* complete this option.

2) Organize and De-Clutter
My home is a mess and I need to organize and remove the clutter. It is both psychologically (looking at it) and physically (i.e. trying to find something) draining.

3) Create a Routine
I think that my life would be easier if I tried living a predictable life with routines instead of always "winging it". I have never been much of a routine kind of girl---having a job used to be what created the routine in my life. I need to start looking a creating a daily, weekly and monthly routine/schedule. This is definitely a huge challenge for me...

4) Shorten Activity Periods
I need to refine how active I am by:
  • inserting more breaks into work periods
  • breaking activities into smaller pieces and doing one piece per day throughout the week, rather than trying to do it all in one or two days
  • using a timer and stopping when time is up

5) Take Pre-Emptive Rests
I have not mastered taking planned rests on a regular basis . I can lie down with my eyes closed in a quiet place, I just have never gotten to a point where this has become a habit or part of my routine. I want to routinely set aside one or more periods for rest every day.

6) Practice Gratitude
I want to develop the habit of journaling every day (just 5 lines in a 5 year diary) my favorite moments from the day so I can focus on the positive things that are happening in my life.

7) Personal Rules
I do have personal rules that protect me from doing too much. I need to take the next step and write out my rules and share them with my family and friends.
See how any times I mention routine? It's obviously something I've already identified as needing my time, attention and focus. It must be kismet that July is ROUTINE month; is it a sign that it must be time for me to develop my new routine?

So on July 31, 2009 I'll be answering the question: Can I establish a routine in 31 days?

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