I am beginning to determine the period in my day that I am finding most difficult and it is the time between 4 and 7 in the afternoons. For a whole heap of reasons I think.
During the week, having spent all day in my home working, I pack away the work clobber to face an evening still in my home. I change my clothes and then walk the few steps from the desk to another room and that is the total physical transition, no train journey, no listening to the radio in traffic, no walk back from the station, no brief visit to my Mum on route from work. All of those mark my usual transitions. My working from home is too sporadic for me to have a proper routine and I struggle with transition from work to not work in normal times anyway when I work from home.
The weekends are even stranger, I have a long weekend anyway as I do not work on a Friday. It is especially difficult on a Friday and Saturday. Those are the evenings we are often out, often with friends. For three days I am relishing having time at home to potter and sort things out around the home. I catch up with family and friends, I can surf the internet, catch up with folks on social media, read a book. I seem to run out of steam by about 4ish in the afternoon at the weekend. I sort of realise that this is it, whatever the evening holds, and we plan something for each evening, it is a variety of the theme of hanging out at home. There is nothing to get ready for, there is no moment of leaving one location for another. There is just more time at home.
On Saturday I remembered I do have some tools to help – and for the past couple of days have had half an hour of movement and stillness, focus on me and focus on everyone. I do some yoga, gentle movement helps, focussing on my breath and physical movement. Then a time of meditation and prayer help ground me further in my own faith and also in the wider world and it helps to hand the anxiety at this point of the day back to God for a bit. This helped a lot this weekend, so I am going to see if it works today on a work day as well. I am very grateful that these tools were in the toolbox already, and that I have remembered them.
It’s one of those weeks where the diary is full and there are lots of people to meet with and conversations to be had and thinking to be done. The meetings are later in the evening than I love, the work days involve travelling a fair amount.
So today I am checking in on the foundations. I am considering blackout blinds, because the earlier sunrise is waking me slightly earlier than I want. But in the meantime, my new found habit of not drinking caffeine after noon and my Lenten avoidance of alcohol are ensuring I am sleeping well for the hours I am in bed. I am also trying to wind down at the end of the day doing some light journalling and reading before bed to switch off, even when the meetings finish late.
Exercise has been a bit harder to fit in, but I have done some yoga and a run so far this week. Even the days without yoga and running have had good walks in the sunshine. And the sunshine has really really helped.
Food has been great thanks to planning the week’s menu and deciding who is cooking each evening (I have got off very lightly on that this week). That said, I need to stop writing and go and make some lunch to take with me today!
I have had time every day to catch up with family and have grabbed coffee with friends. All the Scout meetings have been interesting and full of lovely, supportive people. And we are not quite half way through the week.
The second half of the week – that is after 6pm on Thursday – has no work (I have Friday off) , no volunteer meetings and lots of fun planned. I will definitely have plenty of time to be quiet, reflective and prayerful and to play the piano and spend some time being creative. The balance of life is not within every hour or every day, but over the weeks and months.
It’s Tuesday. It’s very early on a Tuesday when I write this and yet so far this week two people have commented on me being a bit grumpy. Reactionary maybe. Is this news to me? Not really. Is it majorly frustrating. Oh yes.
It’s frustrating because one of my goals this year was to be calmer about things. Specifically, to stop talking so much. To pause – possibly for ever – before speaking. Being calmer and quieter was the overall aim, it sounds like I need some mini resolutions to work on this a bit more this month.
It ties in with a theme from last week – a craving for quiet and still. My brain is definitely full and very chattery at the moment, so maybe that is why it is reacting to things.
It’s all this that meditation is supposed to solve isn’t it? And yoga. And prayer, especially contemplative prayer. Yep – I have the answers. And yet… This could very well be the cause of the frustration – I know what to do, but haven’t done it. I have no excuses.
But one step at a time. Discussing this blog at the weekend, a friend described it as a way for me to write down what was top of mind and allow those thoughts some space to breathe. Space and breathing sound like things I am aiming for. Now to do some of that other stuff too. Where’s the yoga mat?