Woke up with a low brooding feeling of dread. I’m not sure what it is that I’m dreading. It could be Bruno’s injury, or parents’ health, or something at work, or Tories further changing the country permanently, or Modi further changing the country permanently, or something entirely different.
It’s hard to manage this anxiety when I’m not even sure what’s causing it.
Woke up at 5:30. Stretched, made coffee, made bed, gave the boy his break and breakfast, and started working by 6 AM.
Worked for a couple of hours—good strong output.
At 8 went to loo, caught up on email, brushed teeth and got ready for a run.
Ran a quick 4 miles. Happy, strong run.
Showered, shaved, and got dressed.
Got to station in time for the planned 10:03 train.
Wake-up with the second or the third alarm, and start doing ankle stretches—10x each of 4 side stretches. Chewie senses my feet moving, and starts snuggling-up tighter, while also turning his belly up. So, the ankle stretches are quickly followed by a couple of minutes of belly rubs, snuggles and kisses.
Then I get off the bed, and do a small set of yoga stretches on the floor—10x lower back stretches, 10x cat stretches, a couple of baby stretches, down dogs and roll-ups. Chewie occasionally joins me for the stretches, though many days he just stays sprawled on the bed.
After the floor stretches, I kick him off the bed, and make the bed—not as well as him, but I do.
Only after that, do we head downstairs to drink water, make coffee, feed Chewie, and take him out for his morning business. I’m wide awake before the coffee is ready.
There were lots of setbacks in 2018 – some of them enough to drive me back into depression just by themselves. So I am not going to pore over them. Instead I am going to take note of some of the successes…
I climbed at least 10 floors every day++
I averaged about 23 floors/day, with a peak of 154 floor equivalents* on a day when I went for a long hilly run.
I climbed 10 floors even in the days after injuring my ankle. Neighbours noticed as I hobbled up and down (down was worse) our steep drive way to get those 10 floors.
Steps target completed every day for 6 months++
I finished my step target every day for the later 6 months of the year. I started on 1st July, half way through the year, and a month and a half after the injury so the foot could manage 5K+ steps without discomfort.
I usually meditate at either middle or end of the day – when the head is usually frazzled or distracted, and needs a dose of calm and care.
Since everyone talks and writes about it, today I decided to meditate in the morning. At about 6 AM, after finishing coffee and before starting work, I took 15-20 minutes to meditate with Calm.
The meditation itself was good, and I may have maintained the focus better. But due to the timing, it wasn’t as useful as usual. I was already calm and focused before the meditation (early morning is my favourite, and most productive work time). So the marginal benefit provided by the meditation was small.
Later when I felt the need for meditation in late afternoon, I hesitated – ‘because I had already done the session for the day’. It was a stupid self-argument, but I listened to it and didn’t spend the 15 mins. I have paid for it with a distracted mind and subsequent low productivity all evening.
Looking forward, I could fight that argument (‘already done it today’) in my head with logic. But that’s a system 2 action, and system 2 is lazy so I’ll probably end up failing more often than not.
I could set a fixed afternoon time to create a rule/habit, but that will have a similar constraint – I will end up meditating when its scheduled, and not when I need it.
So, instead I am declaring the morning meditation a failed tweak, and will instead go back to meditating when I want/need during the day.
I wake up between 04:45 and 05:15. I do some ankle stretch exercises while lying in the bed. To save myself from checking email, news, or another distraction, I use the ankle stretch time to sync my watch (Fenix 3) with the Garmin app. This shows me how much, and what quality sleep I got.
Then I go downstairs and drink half a tumbler of warm water with half a lime squeezed in. By the time I finish the water, my dog is up and about. We go out to the backyard for his morning rituals. This takes 5-10 mins, depending on whether the moon is still visible (he spends 5 mins barking at it, and getting told off by me).
After we return indoors, he goes off to sleep, and I make my coffee. I make the coffee the slow way. Grind the beans, heat the water, place the wet filter and ground beans in the clever dripper, and then pour over the warm water. I then place the lid on, letting it brew for 4-5 mins. I use this time to walk around, wake up the body, and do some step raises.
Usually, by the time the coffee is ready, I am wide awake – both in the head and in the muscles. I now head upstairs with the coffee and a tumbler of water, ready to start the work day.
I schedule the first 30 mins for coffee and catching up – basically gathering my thoughts, remembering where I left yesterday, and thinking of the top highlights I want to focus on today. I also use this time to lay out my calendar for the day (A sample is in the screenshot attached). I schedule 30 mins for all this, but it rarely takes more than 10 mins.
I then work for ~3 hours, usually from 06:00 to 10:00, with an hour’s break somewhere in between for loo and more ankle & calf exercises. Around 10, I take Tango for a walk followed by some back and core exercises. By 11:30 I am back upstairs working for another 2-3 hours. Continue reading My Morning Routine