I woke up and got up early. I took the walk that challenges my anxiety. Nothing happened. That's just something that has to be repeated until the effects start to really show I guess.
I'm fairly settled in this routine now, despite Mag being away. If I need to make improvements they are plain enough for me to see.
I need to do more work and be more disciplined around work. I have too much to do and it's pressing down on me and causing me stress. The stress paralyses me. I run and hide from it.
I no longer have alcohol, cannabis, porn or social media to run to or hide in. So I'm not doing so well with dealing with it. I sit, staring at the screen - because I can't leave the computer because that's where I need to be to do my work, no matter that I'm not actually doing my work.
Make no mistake, this is an improvement. These stressful breaks waste time, but they're not damaging in the way my previous escapes were. Sometimes I might watch a meditation, yoga or self-improvement video.
I need to find a better and quicker break through though.
I reckon I've got two or three decent options here.
The first is to do some exercise. I have an exercise bike and weights in my office. I can do 20 press-ups or 50 crunches. I'll feel better, get more energy and I'll be improving my health and fitness.
The second is to get away from the computer and go for a walk. This is more challenging for me - therefore potentially more rewarding. It doesn't have to be far. A quick spin around the block will get me back home in 10 minutes. I'll get some fresh air and sunshine/pouring rain/hail (it's February in the UK). It won't do my fitness any harm and is likely to be very mentally refreshing.
Finally, I can do some sort of breathing exercise or meditation. I have a book that I've been reading with plenty in and I already know that alternate nostril breathing, for example, does me the world of good.
That's the new routine then. When I hit a block with work I do one of those three things. The first two feel better I think, as the third will leave me sitting at my desk. They should be my priority.
It's key to be quite quickly reactive on this I think. It's in inertia and brooding that I lose myself and start to go down back mental pathways.
I'm doing pretty well as I say. I'm stable and stable in a much better way than I have been for years. However, I'm still very much a prisoner of routines - for example the make-a-cup-of-tea-and-have-a-fag routine of my usual breaks - that don't do much for me and of anxiety that ties me to a very small world. That's why I think the going out for a walk break may be the best for me to try.
This is what this is all about though. Replacing poor behaviours with better ones.
Once I start to get on top of my work more effectively I'm keen to start expanding my life in new directions.
It feels very easy to type this sort of thing now. Easy to feel positive and determined. The proof will be in the pudding and I have to be aware of falling back now.
There are still many challenges ahead, and while in this state of confidence rather than in a state of abject self-loathing I can still see that I have a long way to go and that there are very big potential stumbling blocks ahead. I have another two weeks alone to get through, that pile of work hasn't reduced much.
The bigger picture remains big and frightening: moving towards total financial independence and possibly something that might pass for a career change; taking charge of more around the house; moving on to the next stage with my fitness; finding some sort of social life; getting some sort of creative life. And so on and so on...
That's why it has to be broken down into small steps. I was hoping to be able to have a couple of new routines to try adding over the next month, but I'm not quite sure of what direction to go in there. Hopefully that will come together over the weekend.
If you spent it, thank you for your time.
If you'd like to talk, please leave a comment or drop me an email.