Day 265, Meaning in Routine

Day 265, Meaning in Routine

 
“You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” John C. Maxwell
 

Monday Morning

 

Preparing For My Day

 
5-10 things i am grateful for:
 
morning comments, feelings, ideas, moods, and empowering questions:
I am happy with the way that I am!  What questions can I ask that would be empowering?
 
The Problem-Solving Questions
  1. What is great about this problem?
  2. What is not perfect yet?
  3. What am I willing to do to make this the way I want?
  4. What am I willing to not do to make this the way I want?
  5. How can I enjoy the process while I make this the way I want?
 
mood and energy:
 
0-100
comments
mood:
90
Feeling good again!
energy:
80
Having to push a bit, but I am going.
 
accomplishments:
 
accomplishment
reason it is important
next action(s)
1
set a goal to get Joyful Vibrance:  Transform Your Body Image, Energy, and Mood! on Amazon, but for now it is free!
Writing goal
Proofread again.
2
feeling more contentment.
Mental health
Continue!
3
got 7 of 7 days using Insight Timer again.
Meditation for mental health
Keep doing morning routine, which includes meditation.
4
showered this morning
Hard-to-get-motivated-for task
Keep this in your morning routine.
5
vacuumed this morning
Hard-to-get-motivated-for task
Keep this in your morning routine.
 

Vacuuming and Showering

 
I have a lot to be grateful for this Memorial Day, especially for feeling good and being able to do my morning routine.  I even did the vacuuming this morning, a task that is especially hard to motivate myself to do.  I am glad Natasha Tracy mentioned vacuuming in her book, Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar, because I can relate to that task being difficult.  I have a Rainbow vacuum, which does a great job.  My husband often remarks on how well my vacuum works.  However, it is hard to motivate myself to do the job.  I am glad I got it done this morning.  Hopefully, next time it will be easier.
 
I also got a shower, which makes me feel relieved.  The shower is not quite as hard as the vacuuming, but it is still a challenge to get myself to do it.  Natasha also mentioned the difficulty of getting herself to shower.  To get both of those tasks done in the same morning is quite an achievement.
 

Aspirations in Joyful Vibrance for Joyful Vibrance

 
Now that I have achieved mundane tasks, let me think of additional things I want to do.  I have a little black book I call Aspirations for Joyful Vibrance. In it I keep a list of tasks to complete.  I selected three of my most important tasks (MIT’s) and started working on them.  One of them is to finish that box of old mail I started working on the other day.  Uh oh.  I am out of file folders.  I can get some later today.  Then I will get started on the mail again.
 

Afternoon

 
For lunch, I had my favorite green drink without added water.  I added 28 grams of alfalfa sprouts that I recently sprouted myself.  My husband also enjoyed a portion of the drink.  With this green drink, it is possible to go until dinner time without eating an afternoon snack.  We will see if I can do that again today.
 

My Late Sister

 
My mother went to the family grave plot in Eastern Utah for Memorial Day, which is three hours from her home.  Several of my family members will be there while she buries the ashes of my sister who died on May fifteenth.  It is sobering to think that two of my family members have passed away in the past six months.  I recall visiting my sister and her husband in North Carolina some years ago.  She was a very gracious hostess.  We stayed on a breaker island near where she lived in Morehead, North Carolina, and the view of the ocean from our condo was awesome.  We ate fish caught fresh from the ocean.   My sister worked at a restaurant, where we dined.
 
My parents adopted a family of seven children in 1972.  At the time they entered our family, they ranged in age from nine years to two, four girls and three boys.  My late sister was the second oldest of the seven.  We already had five children in the family.  I was the oldest of three girls and two boys ages ten to one.  So we had a combined family of twelve children, ages ten to one. We usually counted off while traveling, each sibling calling out their number in order.  I was number one, and my sister who died was number four.
 
It is fortunate that my parents were young, so they could keep up with all of us.  By the time we all grew up, they were still fairly young.  After living in Rapid City, South Dakota for ten years, they lived in Pueblo, Colorado for six years, and then moved to Utah and retired.  When my parents moved to Utah in 1993 after all their children were raised, my mother was still only 53 years old.  My late sister and I have both passed that age now.  In fact, all my brothers and sisters will soon be in their 50’s.
 

BP Magazine for Bipolar

 
I am investigating the BP Magazine for Bipolar, a helpful online magazine.  I read the article Bipolar Mania:  You want Me To Take a Pill Because I Am Too Happy?
 
That is one thing that is so bitter about bipolar.  When I have the worst manic episodes, they are preceded by a very productive, happy time.  I always wish I could go back to those pre-manic times and re-live it to a continuing period of happiness and productivity.  It never works that way.
 
Even my unusually productive morning routine this morning is suspect.  If I feel good enough to vacuum and shower in the same morning, could something be wrong?  However, I tracked my sleep last night and got over eight hours.  That is a sign that things are okay, which makes me less concerned.  I am also eating normally.  During mania, I do not eat much, and I lose weight suddenly, without effort, which would be wonderful in a way, but is not the case.  I did some unusual shopping today, and bought a few items I did not need yet.  That is not a good sign.  It is too late to undo that now.
 
I had flashback memories of my sister today.  Memory flashbacks are usually a sign of depression rather than mania, and perhaps just following her death, those are normal.  Perhaps it would be normal to feel a little down around the time of her burial.  However, I am up.  I stopped worrying this morning.  Usually I worry a lot.  No worries could be a bad sign.
 
What is good is bad?  It kind of works that way with manic-depression.  That is one reason I have questioned from time to time whether I should be writing a blog called Joyful Vibrance.  When I feel joyfully vibrant, I could be on the way to a disastrous manic episode and a horrible depressive crash.  I keep hoping though that I will figure out how to feel great and still maintain.  Tracking my sleep may help, and sticking to my morning routine rather than doing everything and anything will help keep me on course.  Of course, staying strong on my medication is paramount.
 

Sorting Mail Routine

 
I spent almost an hour going through a box of old mail.  Some of it had already been opened and paper-clipped.  It had just not found a home.
 
It appears that making huge changes in my life is unrealistic.  I need to make gradual adjustments to my routine.  I made a huge change when I came to Colorado, which took me a while to adjust to.   Getting married, especially to someone who is disabled, has given me a lot of responsibility.  It is probably a good thing that I am re-designing my routines and making things run more efficiently.  If I get manic, I will feel pressure to let go of the routine and go for any goal that comes into my head.  I will tend to start a lot of things and not get anything finished.  I cannot afford to let that happen.  One thing Natasha Tracy mentioned that helps her maintain her sanity is sticking to a strict routine.
 

Triggers

 
 
Julie Fast lists the triggers that can cause her mood to swing.  Interestingly, I have had extreme difficulty with the same things.
 
  • Online dating – I tried this several times, and every time I had to stop within a few weeks or even a few days because I could feel an episode coming on.  I could not handle online dating without launching or crashing my mood or both.  One reason I finally married my husband is that I decided I could not handle any more online dating, and I already knew him.  I met him at an off-line function.
  • Unrealistic deadlines – The software industry is well-known for its unrealistic deadlines, and I was not coping very well with them throughout my software engineering career, which I finally left in 1998.
  • Troublesome people – I had a couple of friends who were probably users.  I also had a couple of friends who were in and out of mental health institutions.  One of them even committed suicide.  I did not handle all of that very well.  Throughout my life, I have also been bluntly rejected a few times, which I keenly felt and did not handle well.
  • Sleep disturbances – When we first married, my husband kept waking me up in the middle of the night to take care of his needs.  I let him know I absolutely could not handle that.  Fortunately, he lets me sleep all night now.
  • Travel in different time zones.  My mother loves to travel and often invites me to come along.  I generally say no.  It is just too difficult to manage, especially if I am already up or down.  Daylight savings time switches are very hard too.  I wish I were more mobile, but travel is one area in which I have great difficulty.
 

What Can I Do?

 
If I cannot do all that, is my life rather limited?  I keep hoping things will change, but reading this article helps me realize I am not alone, and it could be my bipolar disorder that is making these things so difficult for me.  These things are not the sort of difficulties that go away with taking medication.  What is the best way to cope?
 
  • Nutrition and exercise – I am focusing on getting good nutrition and a reasonable amount of exercise each day, logging it with Cronometer.
  • Morning routine – I am following a morning routine to get all of the important little activities accomplished each day.  I keep my routine in Goalscape.
  • Joyful Vibrance blog – Daily, I am working on my blog and self-actualizing myself through the process of producing something I hope is useful.
  • Marriage relationship – Each day I am enjoying time and conversation with my new, loving husband.  We grow more deeply in love each day.
  • Friendships – Whether it is talking to neighbors in the halls, or visiting with my neighbor from the retirement complex or my friends back in Utah, I am having positive contact with others.
  • Study – I love reading books, blogs, courses, devotionals, magazines, etc., working to retain material I can implement wisely.
  • Home maintenance – Keeping the condo and car maintained take a lot of my time.
  • Sleep – I am tracking my sleep and doing my best to get seven or eight solid hours every night.
 

Evening

 
I finished a supper of red chard, red beans, quinoa, and sweet potatoes.  I have been working hard today and feel a bit fatigued.  That is probably a good thing.  If I did not feel fatigued, my energy could possibly be a sign of impending mania.  Maybe I will finish watching Little House on the Prairie with my husband.
 
The episode was about when Caroline Ingalls had Baby Grace.  Caroline hoped and believed the baby would be a boy, but they had a girl, and they were happy.
 
I rarely watch TV, but this series is special.  I think it is my husband’s favorite.
 

Prayer

 
 
 
EVENING Prayer
 
Dear Lord,
 
Even though my bipolar brain balks at being held to a routine, a well-designed, evolving routine is an anchor to me.  It helps me get a lot accomplished and helps prevent my moods from swinging wildly.
 
I look forward to using the tools for which I am grateful to steady my productivity. bphope on the Internet has articles written by people with bipolar about how they manage their lives.
 
I am learning from the articles that things I experience day in and day out are in the lives of other people with bipolar disorder.  Much of my frustration is not just me, it is my disorder.  Unfortunately, many of these things cannot be corrected with medication.
 
Hopefully, awareness will lead me to develop coping skills.
Other people report having difficulty getting in the shower or vacuuming.  Fortunately, today I accomplished both of these difficult tasks.
 
Another task I have had a hard time getting started on is making a MailChimp email list.  Today, I finally got it started.  I plan to implement a plan to get it caught up.
 
Our large box of old mail got my attention again today, but I was unable to get it finished.  I just need to persist with it, and I will take care of it all.
 
These things seem mundane, but I believe it is through careful attention to routine that I will master the activities that give me trouble.
 
Lord, please bless my following with happiness and the ability to master the activities they must perform, no matter how mundane.  If they have a mood disorder, let them realize they have company, and things can get better.
 
Amen.
 
If you would like to join me in this journey from the beginning, please start with Day One.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
KaeLyn Morrill
 
 

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