New Routines

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with routines. We all have them, even if they’re as simple as going to sleep at night or brushing our teeth in the morning. I love them because I feel more productive if I follow a routine but I hate being tied down to them and feeling like I can’t do what I want to do because of BORING routines! There have been times I’ve got so bogged down in them I’ve felt like I HAD to follow them and that just made me feel caged.

One of my good routines has been exercise. Exercise is not something I’ve always found easy (See this post for more) but I got into a good habit with it. Then when I was at my lowest point with depression I wasn’t doing as well with that routine although I’ve mostly managed at least a couple of times a week. I’m getting myself into a new routine with exercise now just to change things up a bit. The last couple of weeks I’ve gone to a class with my friend A on Tuesday mornings and gone swimming on Thursday mornings and I’m still trying to do some weights in the house too on other days. I’m not as consistent with that as I was though.

I used to be pretty good with my housework routines too. When my kids were little I discovered the Flylady (www.flylady.net). She has great suggestions about how to work short routines into your life to keep on top of everything. I never did follow all of her routines but I did try to do an evening and a morning one and did certain housework tasks on certain days of the week (like cleaning toilets on Thursdays 😂). I did struggle a bit with resentment at times when I felt like I was doing everything in the house and the rest of the family weren’t pulling their weight. In reality I put it on myself though. No one asked me to do it or expected me to do everything. Anyway my housework routines have gone to pot. I still try to keep the house tidy when I have the energy and the motivation but the routines are out the window on the whole. Maybe I need to try to work up to doing better with those again? While I’m on this subject I’d love to know your thoughts on this. What works best for you – cleaning a whole room at once or doing one job, like dusting for example, in all the rooms and then vacuuming all the rooms at another time?

The Flylady 😊

My work routine used to be pretty easy. Mondays, Tuesdays and alternate Wednesdays I was in school. On Thursday afternoons and Friday mornings I took relaxation classes. Now that I’m totally self employed that routine is less defined at the moment too. I do have some classes booked in on regular days but quite a few are still up in the air. I think routine is helpful in my work life so that I feel like I’m being useful and productive. I’m getting there with this one though. My latest decision is that Fridays will probably be my day off. 😁

The other really helpful routine I had was my devotional time. I used to be so good at getting up early and spending time reading the Bible and praying and listening to God. I’m not so good at getting up early now. I’m still reading every day and praying but it’s not like it was before. I miss those times. I know I benefited from spending that time alone with Papa God. I need to get back to this routine. This was highlighted for me at church today too. The pastor said ‘sometimes we get frustrated and disappointed rather than hungry.’ I think I’ve done that. I need to get hungry for God again. I know He satisfies.

Anyway enough of my random patter for now. I’d love to know what routines you find helpful? Maybe I could incorporate some of them into my week? Do you struggle with routines sometimes? What helps? I could use some assistance with this. 🙂

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Fitter at 45!

If you’d told me on this date last year that I’d start this morning off in the gym I’d probably have laughed at you.  I don’t know about you but I’ve never really been the sporty type.  Neither have I ever been particularly unfit or too much overweight.  I enjoy walking and am always active just in my day to day activities.

At school I was one of those kids that’s among the last to be chosen for games.  Looking back now I don’t think I believed in myself when it came to sports.  My parents didn’t have much time for them and I’m pretty sure my teachers didn’t know about Growth Mindsets.  It wasn’t all bad – at high school I played right wing in the hockey team ’cause I was fairly fast.  I was pretty good at some random stuff too like archery, shot put and javelin.  I never learned to do a cartwheel though and you wouldn’t have got me doing any sort of flips over a box in gymnastics – I just didn’t believe I could.

Anyway at the beginning of this year I made a decision.  It wasn’t a New Year’s Resolution as such – I don’t bother with those ’cause I know that like 92% of the population I won’t keep them.  It was just a decision to make a change in my life.  I decided that by the time I reached my 45th birthday I was going to be fitter than I was at 44.

Over the years I’ve tried to make myself exercise (I’ve also tried and failed at countless diets 😝).  I’ve never been particularly successful at sticking with anything.  The closest I ever got was swimming 40 lengths once a week (‘Granny breaststroke’ – ’cause that’s all I can do 😂) which I probably kept up for about a year before quitting.  Partly I was busy and didn’t prioritise it and partly I just didn’t enjoy it enough.

So my strategy this year was different – maybe it might even help someone else struggling to start exercising?  I decided that I was going to get into the habit of exercising and I was going to start with something that was really easy for me to achieve.  I’m pretty fortunate that my son is really into his fitness so we have a couple of machines and a bunch of weights already in the house which meant I didn’t even have to go anywhere.  On the first week my plan was just to walk on the treadmill for 5 minutes and do 10 bicep curls every morning (weekdays only).  I knew I could manage that easily before work and it wouldn’t put me off.  The next week I added a second set of bicep curls and over time I built up to about a half hour routine each morning.  Each week I either added a set or a new exercise or increased the weight or difficulty.  Then I started to diversify and do different exercises on different days as I don’t have time to do more than half an hour if I’m gonna get ready and out to work in time.

Now I’m doing a couple of different routines on alternate days.  I’m a little bit limited with the weights I have available but I think I’ve still achieved my goal.  Here’s what I’m doing in case you’re interested:

Day 1
8 minutes on rowing machine
3×10 bicep curls (6kg each arm)
3×10 bent over row (10kg)
3×10 lunges (R&L)
3×15 sit ups
12 press ups

Day 2
8 minutes on rowing machine (occasionally on the treadmill)
3×10 tricep extensions (6kg each arm)
3×10 lateral raises (4kg each arm)
2×10 squats (with 40kg on bar)
3×15 sit ups
A plank (for as long as I can – usually that’s around 2.5 mins but my record is 4.5 mins)

Well today is my 45th birthday and I think I’ve achieved my goal.  Considering this time last year I didn’t do any regular exercise and couldn’t do one proper press up I think I can safely say I’m fitter at 45!  Don’t get me wrong I’m no fitness freak either – I won’t be posting any pics of my abs on Instagram 😂  (maybe I will when I’m 65 😉 if I’m still exercising) but I’m happy with what I’ve achieved so far.  I actually enjoy exercising now and believe I can get better.  My muscles are a bit more toned and I have less body fat.  A few weeks ago I also started trying a new diet (for health not weight loss).  If I keep it up I’ll let you know how I benefit.  So if you’re like I was give it a go – start small and build up.  It’s never too late to start exercising and you will feel better for it.