With every year that another candle goes on my cake, I can feel myself acknowledging changes in my life and the way that I do things. Things can't stay the same. Humans are not invincible, and we all have to adapt and bend to the things that life throws at us. Even as little as a couple of years ago, I could work mentally long hours, go out afterwards for drinks, come home late at night, and spring out of bed like Tigger the next morning ready to do it all again at an obscenely early hour. I have a vivid memory of coming home after a night out at 5am, finishing my essay on Jane Eyre, and submitting it before the deadline at University the next morning, all before going to sleep. If I tried to do that now, my body would punish me..so, so badly.
I'm a creature of habit. I like routine, and that suits me well. I do my shopping on the same day of every week, I try to keep my training days the same, and I do things in certain orders. However, I know that I live a very fast paced life. Someone recently said to me, 'I don't know how you actually function. How do you fit everything into your life? You do so much.' And it's true. Sometimes I actually think the same. How do I actually function?
I'm trying to make more of a conscious effort to switch off and wind down. I'm usually one of the last people at the gym every night - sometimes I even help to check all the windows and doors are closed when they lock up because I'm there so late. But that doesn't leave much time to try and chill. I find that if I don't have 'winding down time' before bed, I don't sleep as well and feel far more tired the next day - something that I cannot afford to feel when I'm training for a marathon. Recently, I've been making sure that I'm home that little bit earlier, have a good dinner, and then watch an hour of tv or get into bed to read my Kindle. I still believe that recording programmes on Sky+ was the busy persons blessing, and I love curling up with the dog and some hot water and lemon, and catching up with Great British Bake Off and One Born Every Minute. I've also been loving my Book Club, and having a book to read as a target means it pushes me to sit back and engage myself in literature and fiction. We're currently reading Curtain Call by Anthony Quinn (which I got to choose!) and it's certainly kept me jumping into bed earlier every night just so that I can read it.
So, things I have been doing to wind down:
- Leaving the gym that little bit earlier so that I give my body time to recover.
- Eating a wholesome dinner packed with protein and flavour.
- Drinking hot water and lemon before bed.
- Getting into bed earlier to read my Kindle.
- Catching up with a tv programme.
- Listening to my favourite music and making playlists for my car journeys to work.
- Turning off technology in favour of an early night.
For someone who is so fast paced like myself, I have to make a conscious effort to do all these things. But I do reap the benefits. For me, having a better nights sleep changes my day dramatically and that's something I'm constantly striving for.
Work hard. Play hard. Wind down. Sleep well. Repeat.
I think Boo demonstrates that pretty well.