Saturday, May 7, 2016

The rule for Saturday

I have one rule for Saturdays.

I am currently running behind on adhering to this rule, and as a result I am feeling agitated and uneasy. 

Here's the rule, are you ready? 

At lunchtime on Saturday, I must exit the premises of my apartment. 

That's it. 

This rule does not apply on Sunday. Just Saturday. 

It has taken me a while to learn my inner clock. Actually, I plan to always continually be learning about my inner clock. 

But it was not until just a month or so ago that I discovered at lunchtime on Saturdays, I best be gettin' myself out the house. 

And since my clock wants -- needs -- to get some fresh air around 12 p.m. on Saturday, I do it.

I interrupt all programming -- ferocious cleaning, cat snuggling, cross stitching -- to get out the door. It doesn't matter whether what I am doing is productive, whether the actions I am taking will have a pay off if I just power through them.

The tasks and the hobbies will be there when I get back.

But, my body, and my brain -- my high maintenance, little nag of a brain -- say, "Please, Ma'am, let us change our surroundings. For just a bit. Please?"

So I obey.


Those who know me well know that I view eating as a chore. It drives me bonkers that we have to stop and eat so much, not only to stay alive but to keep our moods steady.

I think a lot of the problem is that our culture has changed so much from when eating used to always be a community activity -- all hands were on deck, preparing, cleaning dishes, milking the cows, cracking the eggs. And even when men were working the fields, hunting and what not, they still came round the table for lunch.

I mean, I presume. I don't picture a lot of biblical wives sending their shepherd husbands off with a brown paper sack stocked with PB&J and a juice box.

Point being, people didn't used to dine alone. Now, we dine alone a lot. That is certainly part of the reason that I don't enjoy stopping to eat so much.

But I'm also just impatient. Restless. I have so much else I want and need to do, that the last thing I want to do is stop everything for an hour and prepare and consume a meal.

So it's been frustrating for me, probably more so than for the average person, to learn that my body needs to eat, what it needs to eat (protein? carb?...a dreaded green?), how much it needs to eat.

I don't like letting my inner clock rule me. I feel like I'm a grown up, I should call the shots. But lo and behold, my stomach actually calls the occasional shot.

And so does my brain.


So it took me a bit, but I finally realized that at lunchtime on Saturday, I need to get out of the house.

That's it. There are no parameters to what I do when I leave. I can be productive, or I can go to Target and max out my credit card.

The point is I just need to get out. My inner clock says change it up, so if I want to feel not agitated, not depressed, not frustrated with a still-looking-messy-bedroom-after-a-morning-of-cleaning, then I best listen to that clock.

It is frustrating to learn your inner clock.

It takes patience, the humble acceptance that we all have idiosyncrasies and are maybe more high maintenance than we want to be.

But I've found that there is great pay off in the humble acceptance and the subsequent humble bow to your inner clock.

I love weekends, and certainly need the break from work, but I also find that the lack of structure and the reduced social interaction (versus spending 8 hours a day with your coworkers, being purposeful, completing tasks) really challenges me.

I never quite know what I'm going to get each weekend. It could be great, start to finish. It can have too much people time. It can have not enough people time. It can be fun, it can be lonely. It can be productive, it can make me wish I was at work.

In the last couple of months, the longevity of my positive moods on the weekends have improved greatly.


Since it is Mental Health Awareness Month, I want to make some of my posts this May practically geared around mental health.

A lot of times you will read me here on this blog getting serious about very serious topics, like debilitating depression and other ways that emotional suffering can look and feel.

But sometimes -- yay! -- mental health can be kept in good shape with simple tools.

Like I said, it is indeed frustrating to listen to your inner clock. It takes practice, trial and error, to get it just right.

But honestly, it's not hard for me to get out of the house for a couple hours on Saturday. It can be difficult to slow my roll on whatever project I'm working on before I leave the house, but there's a lot I like to do out in the world. I can shop, hole up at Panera and write, go hang out with Alex.

And then, says inner clock, I'm allowed to return home. To pick up again on that cleaning project, that cross stitch project, to resume snuggling with the cat.

So let me leave you with this, for my first mental health post for this month that is so wonderfully focused on something so important to each and every one of us.

Find one thing your inner clock is telling you. And listen to it.

You don't have to look at the big picture, just start where you are, in this moment. What is your clock telling you?

Is it telling you to eat?

Is it suggesting you take a nap?

Do you need to phone a friend, go grab a coffee with him?

Do you need a hug?

Pause. Listen. Bow to the leaning.

Be well. Thanks for reading. Much love.

(Now it's time for me to go grab my laundry and then head to Alex's place, because it is 2:14 p.m.! I'm late!)

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