We have all sorts of rules for ourselves, don't we? Having some kind of structure in our lives helps us to make sense of things. Human Beings need certainty and a schedule or certain rules we live by help us to create that certainty.
One of my rules is to get enough sleep. This is particularly important to me as, being bi-polar, in my high energy "up" times it is very easy indeed to get by on less and less sleep, with the inevitable result that the corresponding "down" is even deeper as my body presents the invoice for all those lost hours.
Another rule I have is not to teach my classes on two successive days. The workshops I run are emotionally intensive – both for me and for the clients, so two days back to back is exhausting.
I've broken both these rules this week, and so today I'm conscious of a jagged edge of exhaustion threatening my mood. I have clients tonight too, so I'm going to make sure I honour one of my other rules: only work for two parts of the day.
This means that as soon as I stop writing this I shut down the computer, make a cup of tea and do something relaxing – even if that ends up doing the ironing. The point is, it's not work – it's recharging time.
A friend of mine even has a little chart she fills in every day, as an addition to the Moodscope score. It records whether she had enough sleep, if she meditated, if she has any worries about specific things, whether her husband is away and so on. At the bottom of the chart is a big box for "conclusions". I don't think I'm organised enough to fill that in every day, but I can see it would be useful.
They say that knowledge is power and any observations you make about your own emotional state can result in helpful guidelines and rules. Then, when you break the rules, at least you know you have a reason for the way you feel, and somehow, that makes you feel a bit better.
Right. Off to make that cup of tea and to tackle the ironing – but in a relaxed way, of course!