Purple with rage?

Photo by Mudassir Ali from Pexels

It’s happened again. And why? I’ll tell you why: for no reason at all. It’s the clocks; stealing my daylight and pitching me headlong into the dark tunnel of winter gloom. It’s bad for my health; bad for my routines; bad for my mood, increasing my risk of yet another deep depression. As if I need another depressive episode. What are the benefits of this annual ritual? None.

For the last twenty years, I have been unable to restrain myself about its useless and harmful imposition. My self-control evaporates, my blood pressure soars, and anyone in earshot gets a salvo, as I ride my hobbyhorse into the afternoon gloom of 3 p.m.

Name me one good reason why turning the clocks back an hour benefits our nation? I’ve searched the land from north to south, and east to west, high and low, and have yet to find one compelling argument. There isn’t one.

You might counter that Scotland would be plunged into very dark mornings. That’s true, I’ve lived there. Well, the Scots want independence, let them have it, and then they can do what works best for them. And anyway, there is no particular problem with two time-zones in one country. Lots of countries have two or more time-zones and manage very well.

You might counter that leaving the clocks on GMT+1 exposes road users and school children to the dangers of morning darkness. This is an old chestnut, but a miss-informed view. Studies have shown that more school students and road users will die because we have moved the clock back to GMT than otherwise would have done if the clocks had been left at GMT+1 (British Summer Time). The reason cited is that road users and children are more alert in the mornings and prone to be tired when they travel home, thus increasing their risk to poor road-safety judgement.

There I’ve said it. What do you say? Stick or twist? Yes or no? Back or not? When will we come to our senses? I’m not hopeful for change – no one is listening, but I feel a little brighter for writing about the subject again. I’m just a rather nice shade of lilac now.

I have lockdown lurgy

The peg in the lawn

I am finding that the novelty of lockdown has worn thin, and frankly, I’m struggling with it all. At first, the lockdown was a new challenge to meet. Responding to these first adjustments to my life gave me something new to conquer. Now, it’s week six, and I am, well, wearied by it all. I feel like I am running a marathon with the finishing line nowhere in sight. I need a fresh injection of hope to keep sane.

I have resorted to staring at the infographic from my last post to keep me on the white line of life. And another thing; I’m watching my self-talk – it drifts off centre. When my self-talk drifts, my mental health slides with it disabling me further. A normally well-ordered life begins a downward plunge into chaos. On these days sucess is making it to bed time.

Arresting my mental decline becomes my new goal. And I have been thinking about my positive routines. I need to treasure them and keep them well maintained.

It sounds counter-intuitive, but once I appreciate my daily routines, seeing them as a positive, I can exercise gratitude for them. Showing appreciation for my habits is a skill that I have developed in later life. I now find that I like my routines; they are my friends. I see them as boundary markers: inside them, I am free to express myself in an endless variety of ways. But, if I treat them casually, then orange lights start to light on my emotional dashboard. These helpful habits provide me with boundary markers that help me stay in the safe zone. And, in the safe zone, I feel more in control – a little like the Ten Commandments really.

New routines may help us to cope with change and helps us form healthy habits, and in turn, this reduces our stress levels.

  1. ROUTINE IS AN ANCHOR
    Routine acts like an anchor in our souls. For instance, whatever takes place during our day, knowing that our evening meal is around 18:00, and knowing I go to bed around 22:00, can be a real comfort. The certainty of routine gives us a framework for the day. Frameworks hold me.
  2. ROUTINE IS FREEDOM
    That framework provides me with plenty of room to do all the other things I have planned to do. So, rather than a restriction, my routines are a means of regulating my life. A regulated life is a healthy life.
  3. ROUTINE REDUCES STRESS
    I find that routine can carry me when I need some support to keep going. If my habits are engrained, then they can help to transport me through a tough time, reducing the stress of blocked goals or ineffectiveness. A blocked goal is frustration. Frustration is stress.
  4. ROUTINE BUILDS POSITIVE HABITS
    There are times when our life needs positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is vital to keep me steady. I so easily slide away from my ideals or healthy habits; so they bring me back by exercising a mid-course correction. Positive habits steer me away from danger lines.
  5. ROUTINE PUTS A PEG IN MY LAWN
    If I put a “peg in my lawn” whenever I look out of the window, I will see the peg. Putting a “peg in my lawn” is a metaphor that I have used throughout my professional life, and now that I am retired, I find it just as useful to shape my present and to plan my future. I need pegs.

Can you help?

I’m collecting stories:
I am interested to hear how you are coping with the lockdown. How has it affected your mental and emotional health, and what strategies have you put in place to help?

Please tell me about your routines. Have they changed since our lockdown?

When did you last venture out?

Drop me a line, and your comments could form the foundation of another post. Thank you so much.