New life, new routine
Something - several things, actually - that Marc said when I chatted to him for his Be Inspired story, about how he spent his time now he's retired has really got me thinking as I start a new stage in my working life.
After over 20 years as a full-time employee, I'm now facing being either completely freelance (as I was in the early days of my working life, when my girls were little) or, ideally, having some kind of part-time job that gives me the time to work on and build up These Are the Heydays (who knows whether I'll be able to find such a thing, but a girl can dream).
Marc talks about how not having a set schedule for your days can be both daunting and liberating. Released from the demands of having to either be in an office, or account for my time and output, I now fully understand and completely agree with him. Whilst it's wonderfully freeing to be the master of my own time and timetable, it's also more than a wee bit disconcerting.
It turns out, I'm not bad at filling that time reasonably productively, or at least with activities that are either interesting, informative, enjoyable or even, sometimes (whisper it), restful and relaxing. However, apparently, I'm also rather good, too good as it turns out, at doing.....well, nothing very much at all. And the time of day I'm best at that, is first thing in the morning.
There's nothing like the need to dive into the daily commute in order to get to your desk, or first appointment/meeting of the day on time, to get you out of bed and into your day. Freed from that imperative, it's impossibly tempting, especially during the cold, dark mornings of winter, to make a cup of tea, and stay tucked under the duvet with something to read, and/or my social media feeds and the websites I follow to catch up on, until a ridiculous chunk of the morning has disappeared. Whilst there's nothing intrinsically wrong with that, I'm finding it makes me feel sluggish for too much of the rest of the day and that by the time I'm properly firing on all cylinders it's often early afternoon.
So, with spring finally springing (hasn't this seemed like the longest winter?) and the mornings finally lighter, I'm determined to get my day started a) earlier and b) in a more energetic way.
I've always exercised, and always felt better when I do exercise of any kind. I've done everything from zumba and body balance, to personal trainer sessions and aqua aerobics; discovered that I absolutely love pilates (which I do twice a week without fail) and can't get on with yoga (I'm simply not bendy enough) and running (do I really need to explain); that whilst I do bursts of swimming, I get bored pounding up and down the pool, so have to leave and come back to it at intervals; and that any exercise I can do outdoors lifts my heart as well as my pulse rate.
With that in mind and making the most of the aforementioned lighter mornings, I'm determined to be more disciplined about my morning routine. Starting today (as you can see, I'm keeping you fully up to date with developments. You're welcome) I will get out of bed for my start-of-the-day cuppa (or hot water and lemon, even better) and then go to one of the several lovely green spaces within striking distance of my house for a properly energetic walk.
Depending on my mood and the weather, I'll have my earphones in and make the most of the time to listen to one of the dozens of terrific podcasts I follow (check out my current top 5 favourites), or, like this morning, I'll listen for some of the time, but the rest be happily tuned in to the glorious birdsong all around me - the reward for that today was to hear my first woodpecker of the year - and the sights of the plants and trees unfurling and budding in the warmer spring air.
I'm happy to report that starting the day that way today has been as energising as I hoped. (I knew you'd want to know) Fingers crossed I'll maintain both the routine and the benefits.
How do you start your day? I'd love to know. Have you recently retired, or changed your working life so you have more time? If so, how have you adjusted to the change? So many questions!