Restoring healthy habits is hard

posted by Jeff | Thursday, June 10, 2021, 10:40 PM | comments: 0

There was a piece in the New York Times a few days ago about how messed up everyone is in terms of sleep. One of the biggest reasons for sleep issues is anxiety, and you know, we've had some things to be anxious about in the last year. If the pandemic and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people wasn't enough, we had a fascist autocrat who tried to overthrow an election, insurrection, an uncertain economy and job market... and then I'll add in the parenting difficulties and a challenging job.

A lot of things have gotten better certainly, and we're doing things as we did B.C. (before Covid). Date nights, eating out, theme parks and the usual Central Florida activities. For me personally, my sleep is still wildly inconsistent, and some of it is anxiety. A lot of it though is that I can't really settle back into healthy habits. I did OK during the bulk of 2020. I wanted to slam cocktails every Friday night for awhile, but that didn't last through July, because my body was pissed. I did OK with eating too, until roughly the holidays, and I kind of lost control.

Trying to understand what makes it so hard to commit to healthy routines and habits has always eluded me. It's different for everyone. Some of it is chemical, of course, when it comes to food. Sugar tastes good, after all. Honestly, I'm better off there than I used to be. I generally don't drink more than 6 ounces of soda a day, down from probably 24 maybe two years ago and replaced with soda water or ice water. But sometimes, give me a rice bowl full of curry and I have no self-control.

I do OK with food limits outside of the seasonal relapses, but physical activity is always hard for me to do. I just hate exercise for the sake of exercise. But walking a couple of miles every morning doesn't take a lot of time, it just takes a good night of sleep, which creates a cyclical problem. I need sleep success to get up and walk, but a good walk would probably lead to better sleep. Since we've been visiting the parks again, a day where I knock out 6 to 8 miles, I sleep great. The walking works great for me to keep my weight in a healthy spot. I'm also not sure what my natural cycle really is, which the article above says is important. I might be a night person who sleeps in, but that's not compatible with work, and I like to spend time with Diana in the evenings.

The last part of the equation is certainly that I don't set very good work boundaries. I'm anxious to get to it in the morning, and prepare for whatever is coming that day. Even when I'm getting up earlier, I tend to want to sit down instead of walk. That has to change. Fortunately, since getting a standing desk, I am not sitting quite as much, though the more meetings I have it seems the less motivated I am to get up. One of my coworkers literally has a treadmill under his desk, and he's in great shape. Not sure I can go that far.

I'll get there eventually. Like anything, it's a process of prioritization, and I'm doing that poorly at the moment. And don't get me started on the people who think you're just weak of have personality flaws. Those people are not helpful. We all have our shit to deal with.


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