Last night, I went to bed at 8:15 pm. I was probably asleep before Oliver. I blame the state of politics in the US as I stayed up far too late on Tuesday night watching CNN. When I was younger (and pre-lupus), I could have a night with 6 hours of sleep and do just fine the next day. Those days are long gone. These days, if I get too little sleep or push too hard, I feel it in whole new ways. One of the more annoying quirks I’ve developed since the lupus started is dizziness on days I’ve done too much. Yesterday, I was having dizziness enough that I had to close my eyes to stop the spinning when I did something as simple as turning my head to look at Oliver at dinner. I definitely get much more profound “You’re DONE” reminders than I used to.
Managing your energy levels is important for all of us, not just those of with autoimmune stuff. We all have times of day when our energy is good and times it isn’t. Learning your own patterns so you can take advantage of them can be hugely helpful in making lifestyle changes. I think of energy like money: we’ve only got so much, so spend it on things that matter most. Side note: Would that make coffee like a credit card since it lets me stretch a little farther than I should? Hmm . . . . .
For me, I know that my energy is best in the morning and particularly on weekend mornings. Makes sense, right? I get myself into trouble when I forget that though.
– If I don’t get my workout done in the morning, odds are good I’m going to come up with some excuse to skip or force myself through a miserable workout.
– I do my meal planning and grocery shopping on Saturday morning, because that’s when I feel the freshest and most optimistic. Optimism is key for me in making good choices, it turns out. 🙂 If I can take advantage of that weekend morning energy to fill my house with healthy foods, it makes it easier to avoid the kind of things I buy for dinner if I’m stuck doing it on Monday evening after work. Ugh. Let’s just say that after an after-work trip to Costco this week, frozen burritos and frozen buffalo chicken egg rolls may have made their way into my basket . . . .
– I do my meal prep on Sunday mornings, when it is quiet and peaceful and I’m in a good spot mentally to prepare for the week. The later I wait in the day, the more likely I am to skip the prep and let those healthy foods go to waste in the fridge.
When we try to do the “good stuff” when we’re tired (physically or mentally), it makes what is already a sort-of-difficult choice that much harder. If you can’t take advantage of your naturally high energy times because of job or parenting or other needs (because diet and exercise aren’t the only things worthy of our energy, I know), it’s worth thinking of ways you can work around that. I know that nowadays I’m a lot more wiped out by big efforts in the mornings. I may have a great long run at 6 am Saturday, but by 1 pm I’m a zombie. That never used to happen – thanks lupus – but now that I’m aware of it, I try to take naps in the afternoon at the same time Oliver does so that I’m in better shape for my family and other important tasks later in the day.
Like everything else with lifestyle changes, everyone is different, so it’s worth looking into what will work best for you.While I went to sleep at 8:15, I was up at 5:30 am and out to run this morning feeling springy and smiley. Mornings are clearly my time. Learning your own patterns and when you’ve got the most energy can definitely make it easier to make good choices.