Jet Lag, Summer, Bad Habits, and Trying to Rebuild A Routine

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JET LAG.

It’s torture.

After flying out of Alaska at midnight and arriving in Texas around 2 PM, I thought my long night without sleep would adjust me to the central time zone. After all, I passed out at 10 PM that night, a normal bed time, and for the first time in two weeks, the room was pitch black and I quickly sank into sleep.

Every day in Alaska, we woke up around 7-8 am. Now back in Texas I am still waking up between 7-8 am. Unfortunately I’m still on Alaska time so 7 am actually means 10 am. Plus, to make matters worse, I can even fall asleep until well after midnight! It’s a curse and the heat of summer isn’t making it any easier to wake up and start the day.

Summer always brings change to the daily routine. Suddenly your whole schedule is out of sync as you schedule in time to spend outside or by the pool. Everyone I know is affected by it in someway, feeling the long days slip by even faster somehow.

Needless to say, I am completely out of sync with my typical schedule. As I wrote in my journal this morning (and by morning, I mean noon) half of the day seems to fly by before I’ve even started it.

It doesn’t help that after two weeks of glorious Alaskan vacation, I am trying to get back into the swing of writing and editing. I love working for myself. I love waking up each day and being in completely control of what I will accomplish. But self-motivation is also the hardest thing in the world, especially right now when all I want to do is nap in our hammock reading a good book.

In Alaska, I took naps nearly every day. When you’re waking up at 2:37am because there’s a ray of sunshine blazing through the one part of the window that isn’t covered by a curtain and it’s shooting directly in your eye threatening to scorch your retina like ants under a magnifying glass, well you need a nap after a night like that.

On one of our last nights in Alaska, Heath and I woke up freezing cold in the middle of the night. Well, let’s be real. I woke up freezing cold and gave him hate looks since he looked so peacefully warm next to me. My intense gaze apparently roused him from his slumber because he opened his eyes and asked me why I was staring at him. I just shivered in response. Anyway, just to give you an idea of what night looked like from the mountains of Alaska, it looked like this.

routines and jet lag

Beautiful, isn’t it? The sunshine peaking through the clouds. It’s the perfect way to start your morning (if you started your morning around midnight).  I have to tell you more about what it was like to sleep on a glacier overnight, but for now let me leave you with one word: frigid.

So like I said, lots of naps were necessary. But despite all of the naps and trying to readjust to Texas time again, I’m still feeling completely out of sync.

Returning from this vacation has taught me a lot about how we rely on routines. Pre-vacation, I woke up. Drank coffee. Journaled. Read. Stretched. Wrote. Worked on documentary. Got distracted by Heath. Tried to work again. Ended up on Netflix or reading articles about how Gilmore Girls is the best show of all time. And then eventually I would convince Heath to stop working and hang out with me. Sleep and repeat.

Now, as I suffer to force myself back into a semblance of a routine, I’m thinking about all the bad habits that slipped into my routine. Like, somehow daily around 3PM, I inexplicably lose all motivation and stop working. Usually this coincides with making a bowl of popcorn or realizing that a nap sounds better than continuing to work. Plus, I have other bad habits like watching tv while I eat lunch or opening Facebook right before finishing something important. Right now I’m fighting the urge to lay out under the sun even though I can see that it’s cloudy and I won’t get very tan, but it just seems like a better thing to do than finish this long-winded blog post about how I can’t seem to get into a productive work routine!

I think everyone goes through this a few times during the year. Time changes, daylight savings, vacations–little things like this peppered throughout the year derail our daily schedules and give us an opportunity to build up a new routine.

I’m trying take advantage of this jet lag catastrophe that has wrecked my sleeping schedule and use it as a change to build a new routine. To ditch my bad habits for something new.

So instead of watching tv or napping each afternoon when I grow tired from work, I’m going to try exercising. I read The Power of Habit earlier this year and quickly learned that the best way to kick a bad habit is to replace it with something new. (Highly recommend this book by the way. Totally brilliant.) Today sounds like the perfect day to start.

I realized this week that we are 50% done with 2015. It’s already halfway gone! And I still have a long list of goals to accomplish this year and much to my chagrin, I can’t do most of them if I plan on sleeping in until 10am every morning. It’s time to build up a new routine, a better routine. But mostly, it’s time to kick this jet lag.