I took a week off last week, unplanned until Sunday evening. I’d spent an entire day in a funk, folded into a sofa crease, clocking up the hours on social media. I spent maybe 8, 9 hours online, getting more and more miserable and angry at myself, yet unable to stop. I need a change. Swimming around in other people’s life moments isn’t helping to re-build a life of my own, and isn’t helping me get through this lockdown.
So, it seems that day was a turning point. I planned some things to do each day of the week, and with a momentous mental effort, woke up on Monday morning and actually started to do them.
I’d decided that even though I am in a place of unhealthiness right now, I still have my long-repressed personal training skills. Drawing up a short plan, I resolved to put them to some use. This involves taking my own advice which is something I don’t think I’ve done for a long time. What would I say to someone in my position? How would I ease them slowly back into movement and starting to feel healthy? What will my body actually tolerate these days?
It’s something I’ve shied away from finding out, always scared by the comparison to ‘old me’. This week I put that behind me and started to move, slowly. Stretching muscles stiff from a few years on the sofa. It’s been a breakthrough, painful not just physically but mentally, too.
The biggest thing has been social media. I’ve had a week off, again unintentionally, but much needed. I knew I had to put something else in place to fill the time I’d usually spend mindlessly scrolling – so I read books instead. Last week I got through 7 books. Shows how much time I spend on the internet.
It is both terrifying and liberating in equal parts. The first few days were easy, but towards the end of the week I found myself feeling that twitch to check social media again. I didn’t – but need to be aware of how easy it is to just pull out my phone and type ‘twitter’ into the address bar. I don’t use the apps and have it blocked on chrome – but the site blockers don’t work with Ecosia… always a way round….
To get myself out of the house, I also planned in some walks. More mental health walks than physical exercise walks. I’d found myself always pushing myself to walk further, then reaching my absolute limit and crashing for a week. These walks have no distance goals. Just a way to get outside and look at some nice scenery, breathe some new air, get a different perspective.
I found that my screen time is down dramatically. I feel more immersed in the world, less stressed, less ‘on edge’. Life feels more my own, instead of living through other people’s opinions. I planned each day out and paced myself. I even planned out what I would eat through the day, which really, really helps.
Building new routines is hard and doesn’t come naturally to me, but as I’ve talked about recently, it’s time for something to change. I need to put things in place to help myself step back into life, whatever that life might entail. I might as well design one that I like! So I’m stepping into week 2 today. 1 minute more exercise and hopefully, lots more books.