Mental Health Monday: Routine and anchor points

Photo by Juhasz Imre on Pexels.com

It doesn’t matter whether you talk about Youtube, blogging, or any other creative type job, creating regular content that is engaging and thought provoking without becoming repetitive is a challenge.

I know that blogging my everyday does give me things to write about, but in all honesty, even that tends to get repetitive after awhile. The fact is, most days don’t vary that much. I cover events for the paper, I shoot pictures, and I write.

I believe that it’s the regular routine that is at least partially responsible for why I’ve been as successful as I have been as of late.

While, due to the nature of my job, I can’t schedule all day everyday, the fact that I can schedule at least somewhat is beneficial. Even with the odd event here or there I have to cover for the paper, even the unpredictability is at least somewhat predictable.

Contrast that to when I worked in Emergency Medical Services, where the days were totally unpredictable. Some days we wouldn’t turn a wheel, other days we would be run off our feet, being called to the worst that humanity can throw at us. Sadly, there was rarely any middle ground in between the two extremes.

The instability, the broken sleep, and trauma of what I dealt with while working on the ambulance scarred me, mentally. I’ve learned a few things about myself over the last few years.

First and foremost, I need my sleep. Nights mess me up. They seriously me up. In order for me to function at my best, I need to have a predictable window when to go bed and when to wake up in the morning.

Secondly, I need to be able to focus on something to keep me going. That’s part of the reason I write as much as I do; because it keeps my brain engaged. Part of the reason I fell into video games as hard as I used to was because it was something relatively easy on the mind to do. I’m at the point now where I don’t want easy, I want challenge. So I write. So I take courses. So I try to continually improve myself.

Third, the semi-regular schedule I keep acts a bit as a safety net. I know I’ve got things, and when and where I need to be someplace. With that I’m learning time-management skills, as well as adaptability, because let’s face it, not everything always goes the way we plan….or schedule. Vehicles break down, meetings get moved, or any number of other things that can happen requiring us to adjust our schedules.

Some would say routine is boring, and to a certain extent I would have to agree. Still, even having the outline of a routine helps with stability. Something that helps with routine is having anchor points.

An anchor point is something that you do at the same time every day, regardless of what the day looks like. For my, my biggest anchor point of the day is lunch time. I always try to eat lunch in between 11:30 and noon. Having the consistency allows me to reach that point and kind of recalibrate, preparing me for the rest of the day. My other major anchor point is even earlier in the day. I work at being up by 9:30 every morning, regardless of whether I have anywhere to go or not. Again, having that consistency helps recalibrate things.

Like writing continual content for this blog, working on my mental health is challenging. Still, it’s the little things that we do in our lives that make a big difference, and I would not be where I am had I not started making some of these changes.

Kevin

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