When you are a Mom, wife, have PCOS, and Bipolar (and other various roles) routine is something that is a very KEY important factor in my life. Well that is easier said then done. A routine for me can be my best friend in my whole wide world or the enemy in which I wish it came from. In a lot of conversations it is the elephant in the room for me.
When you suffer from Bipolar disorder they say having a routine is a good way to manage one's disorder. I agree with this a 100% but as I stated before it is harder for me then you might think. Similar with having PCOS... stick to a food regiment... workout program... take medication... again I agree with this 100% but again easier said then done... and trying to instill a routine of my household--- son and husband.... again a lot EASIER SAID THEN DONE!!!!
So what have I done about it....
From the online dictionary of Merriam-Webster Routine is defined as follow (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/routine)
Definition of ROUTINE
Now I understand the fundamentals of a rotuine very well... and I can put one into play very easily. However, what I lack a lot of the times is the ability to stick with it. I am sure this is a problem that most people face when it comes to routines. However, they have their reason and I have mine... they may be similar or completely different. For me when I cannot follow through with a routine I feel like a failure... simply put.... because I NEED ROUTINES.... I do not want routines.... I NEED ROUTINES in my life in order to function... it may sound strange but it is true. I cannot rely on my BRAIN to make the choices for me.... I know it sounds strange... don't you need to use your brain to help you make choices, answer questions, and so on.... sounds stranger still....... well here are just some of the problems I run into...
When I am in a Manic Phase of Bipolar I have done the following
- become easily distracted (I like to call this Shiny Object Syndrome)
- Poor Judgement
- Poor Temper Control (mood swings)
- Lack of Self Control (to include binge eating- not good for someone with PCOS)
- Racing Thoughts
- Very Involved in actvities
- Very Upset (irritation or agitated)
When I am in a Depression Phase of Bipolar Disorder I have done the following
- difficulty concentrating, remembering, and making decisions
- feeling worthless (happens in PCOS too)
Now does that sound like a brain you can rely on? In other words that I cannot completely just rely on my noodle to keep me on track.... got it?
Now I have been able to establish routines through time and dedication...
For example, taking my medication
1. Each week fill up my medication filler
2. Set alarms
3. take medication
Sounds simple enough but when you are required (sometimes feels forced to take medication for the rest of your life) it is a task that can be harder than most. I can try to talk myself out of taking medication faster than anyone I know (successfully have twice). So I have to give myself pep talks sometimes on why I have to take medication and for the most part it works.
Another example, my to-do-list
Each day or before I go to sleep I try to write my to-do-list. The things that I would like to accomplish that day or with in the given time period. My husband laughs at me about my list... that I would make list of list (maybe). However, without my to-do-list I often cannot stay on the routine and function throughout the day. The to-do-list serves as a physical reminder of what I have to do. The concept of a to-do-list is accomplish things in your day and allow it to go smoothly (on a completely different side note I found this check list for autoimmune diseases- if you think you have PCOS check it out http://www.thyroid-info.com/articles/autoimmune-checklist.htm) .
Here is a way to have a to-do-list (http://www.ehow.com/how_3812_make-list.html)
Each of these have good things or bad things about helping establishing a routine...
#1- Setting aside the time is a routine in itself and a routine which I can follow. I have notice the smaller the routine it seems the more likely I can stick with it.
#2- This for me relates to #1 as part of my routine... I had to develop my own system that worked for me and I know my system may not work for everyone just as their system may not work for me.
#3- I find that trying to fit into a time schedule only leads into a disaster for me... if I am stuck to such a time table and things go wrong then I am under more stress that I really need to be. Stress is a trigger for me and can trigger a mood swing (not good). I have also noticed more stress the more physical harm I put myself in, like blood pressure (not good for PCOS, well High blood pressure is not good for anyone)
#4- I always have to write down important dates appointments, birthdays, events, and so on... if not I will forget and then causing more stress
#5- trying to prioritize what comes first is a huge problem for me... I mean I put the appointments first and what not..... but I tend to list everything as a priority and then I make that list keep growing and growing... now I know that my son is more important than folding a pile of laundry but when it comes to making the list... my brain does not see it that way. I really need to work in this area
#6- do most the stuff during the most alert part of your day.... well what happens if that part is Night.... YES I AM A NIGHT OWL.... and one you cannot do everything at night... and I having a lot more problems with this because my brain says be a night owl... when I physically and mentally cannot... with having a child and being a productive for the day.... yeah this is a whole new battle area for me.
#7- I have never thought to do this until recently but it does make sense... why do all the hard stuff first? Why not alternate and make sure to cross off what you have done... I know I feel better when I feel like I have done a lot of stuff on my to-do-list
#8- indicate time for breaks, family, and friends..... I know I am a nerd/geek but this seems odd to me. I mean not besides planned functions I cannot figure out putting this in my to-do-list.... I mean okay I just cleaned the bathroom whats next on the list..... oh spend 5 minutes playing with my son. Do you see where I am coming from?
#9, #10, & #11- I think are related and I do some of things in it... but really do not keep track of anything but books I have read. However, I need to improve on this as well.
Now this brings up the question about just letting go and having fun (a girls night out, a weekend away, no chores). I would love to be a person who could balance just letting go and having fun and routine... but the fact is I cannot and both honestly will give me problems if one starts to go out of whack.. If you have ever seen "Two and Half Men"- there is this episode where Charlie suggest a quick getaway to Vegas.... his brother agrees but starts over thinking and planning... and they soon get annoyed with each other. Well take those two characters and idea in my head and welcome to the chaos is me. Sometimes just dropping and letting go can be the hardest thing for me... now I am not so stuck to a routine that dropping everything is a problem as I stated before but it is a constant struggle between impulse and routine and usually one always over powers the other and I will either be impulsive or strict walk in line no room for anything else what is on my schedule! Which lies the problem.... I do not know how to do both... simply that. I will give you a very recent example
I have a friend who sent out a message telling the ladies that she was going to this place and if we wanted to come to meet her there... I texted her later that day about something completely different but she reminded me of what was happening. I already made up my mind that I was not going because Caleb was teething and I was running off a few hours of sleep and wanted to escape into my world (will explain later). What I did not tell her is that my husband was encouraging me to go... to get out of the house...and relax. I was fighting with routine vs just letting go. Now I do not think this would be a problem if it happen once in a great moon but what if I told you that I think about the stuff all the time.... does that make sense? I am capable of doing things spur of the moment but either two things will happen... if it truly is spur of the moment I will then think about it in depth afterwords .... if it is suppose to be "spur" of the moment I will think about it until the time comes and I will either do it or I will not.... (kind of like whether or not I will jump).
So what does this blog post boil down too.... BALANCE
I need to figure out how to stay on a normal routine (know the difference between normal and overboard) so possibly developing a system where I can physically see my routine (cleaning schedule, important dates, and so on). Oh and learn that you do not have to do everything in one day (prioritize!)
Learn it is okay to let go.... once in a while, I mean actually let go (however, I do not see a spur of the moment trip to Vegas anytime soon)