How Stress Kills Motivation…and How I’m Getting Back on Track

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If you’ve been following this blog at all, then you know that of late, I can’t seem to stop writing about how awesome I’ve been feeling.

Until this week, that is.

Eventually, life’s realities catch up and test us, yes?

For me, June was, and July is shaping up to be, really stressful. Several major time sucks, including work craziness and a major move for my mom. This week in particular, the stresses of the last six or eight weeks have cracked my shiny shell, and all my energy seems to be draining quickly.  This week, too, sugar crept back into my life (though, honestly, never to the degree it has in the past). I haven’t had any vacation time in years or even a whole weekend without work, either, and without coffee and booze, I don’t even have any highlights or bad habits to keep me going. Although I’m busier than ever with work, I find myself less able to focus now, when I need it more than ever.

I normally deal with this by eating poorly, being lazy when I can and doing at least one bad thing a day (a little too much wine with dinner or a few cigs or some such issue).

However, this afternoon on a very lazy dog walk with Ella, I decided that I’m going to try to react differently to stress this time. Actually, what I realized during that dog walk is that stress kills my routines, which in turn kills my motivation.

So, I’m making a list of 10 things that I need to do every day while I get through this stressful, crazy period — nine non-negotiable things and one in which I can be flexible, even anti-routine.

Here goes:

  1. Dog walks: Two a day (this is non-negotiable and good for both me and Ella, but with hotter days/nights, they’re a little short and I’ve even contemplated just letting her out in the yard in lieu of a walk. So, maybe I’ll do them earlier in the morning and a little later in the day but I definitely must do them).
  2. Drink a Vegan Smart shake: I don’t know why I love this shake so much, but I do. It makes me happy and I feel like it makes my body happy with all its vitamins and minerals and stuff, and I always feel like I have better energy after it.
  3. Shower: Okay, I know as well as anyone that this may be a bit gross, but sometimes I find myself so busy that I put off showering ’til bedtime, and some nights, I’m too pooped to take even a quick one. But that doesn’t leave me (or anyone else) feeling any better. Showers are lovely and I’m lovelier for them.
  4. Keep on top of my supplements: For the last 10 days, between packing, moving and unpacking my mom for her move, work craziness, and trying really hard to occasionally see Scott or a friend or two, it seems that I’ve totally lost track of my supplements. I very much need to keep up this routine, as I’m certain that they’re helping me, somehow.
  5. Drink at least eight glasses of water daily: I used to go weeks, literally, without drinking an actual glass of water. Coffee? Hell, yes. Iced coffee? You bet. Wine, or vodka and soda? Sure thing! But water? Hell, no! When I started with Doc, that’s when I started to try and up my water intake each day and I’ve been really, really good with that, overall, until this last week. I think some of my tiredness may be related to dehydration as much as anything, so I need to keep on that.
  6. Work hard, but only for 6-7 hours a day, then relax: When work’s piling up, I probably spend as much time stressing about it as I spend doing it, and then, of course, it all gets worse. During this time of stress, I’m going to break up my workday into two or three slots of two to three or so hours. (Usually, I break up my days even more but I’m finding that right now, I’m discovering far too many ways to procrastinate, so I need to go a little against my usual way of being while I get through this time.)
  7. Keep regular sleep hours: I tend to lose sleep pretty quickly when I’m super-stressed and summer’s longer days mess me up even more, so it’s really important that I try to stick to a regular sleeping schedule.
  8. Go through my mail: I’m not one to get behind on mail (yes, I still get paper, I’m no good with most online billing), but when things get crazy, it piles up and makes me wretch. I will deal with my mail daily — it doesn’t take more than 5-10 minutes and, much like making the bed everyday (something I never, ever miss), it makes me feel like I’m not totally losing control over things.
  9. Clean or tidy up one small area daily: Cleaning — or, at least, clean spaces — make me happy and conversely, a mess makes me depressed. Of course, when my schedule is crazy, I neglect everything about cleaning. But by doing just a couple of things a day — a load of laundry, a quickie bathroom cleaning, the dishes, the stovetop — like the mail, I’ll feel like I have some semblance of sanity.
  10. Here’s the outlier and it’ll be something fun each day: Maybe catching up with friends and family (this falls by the wayside when I’m stressed and need it most); maybe a short bit of restorative yoga; maybe a 15-minute bike ride; maybe a quickie pedicure.

If I begin this fight against stress and demotivation tomorrow, I’ll have 20 days left in July to get back on track and get back to awesome.

{Note: These are my own experiences with applied kinesiology, which clearly aren’t meant as medical advice for anyone else. But I know a lot of friends and family members are grappling with a huge variety of autoimmune issues and other ailments, so I’m happy to share my experiences. And if this is your first visit and you’d like to follow chronologically, click here. Otherwise, enjoy!}

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