Help me sort my routine out please
May 18, 2014 5:34 AM   Subscribe

I'm struggling with my routine as I am new to work life, details inside.

I wake up at 6 to get to work, and come home at 6 and am pretty much on my feet all day with little time to drink water or go to the toilet, and only have a half hour break where I have to eat with the children. I'm a teacher and am exhausted when I get home and all I want to do is lay down and eat and browse on the computer. I wouldn't say I'm depressed as I'm generally quite happy and socialise and enjoy my work, but I feel like I'm trying to control too much of my life as I have limited time and am struggling to cram things in such as exercise, and then having to deal with the guilt that follows when I don't stick to my plans.
I'm thinking of exercising in the morning for half an hour at half past 5, (the gym is closed at that time but I could go for a run) or after work and not sure what to do as when I'm tired and don't exercise I feel incredibly guilty. I thought the weekends would work but I'm always busy on weekends and it never happens.
Another thing is alcohol. I'm not much of a drinker but do like to go out as I'm 23 years old and my friends and I do have fun dancing. We go out once a week, sometimes twice. But I'm worried about gaining weight. I get anxious thinking about it, and it gets in the way of me having a good time. For example if I have 4 gin and tonics in a night I worry I will gain weight as that's what all the nutritionists and magazines say, and I don't understand how people can drink and not gain weight, which I have seen. Sometimes I order soda and leave it at that, but I wish I could let go and be free and not be frightened of having more than one alcoholic drink without gaining weight.
I'm recovering from a compulsive eating disorder and have read books by geneen Roth which has helped me. I have in the process of learning how to eat when I'm hungry, but I have not understood how people can eat and then drink on weekends and not gain weight, even though many people do it who are not overweight.
I have bought a keyboard that I'm going to start practicing every day hopefully, after work to take my mind off food and relax me after work. Hopefully it isn't one more thing on the list that I won't be able to accomplish and increase my feelings of guilt.
So my questions are, how should I incorporate exercise in my daily life (I prefer swimming but it's closed in the morning and in the evening it's full of children and I'm much more tired).
How do I feel less guilty about drinking alcohol as I'm dreading gaining weight which interferes with me letting loose and having more fun, which I need after a long week.
I eat healthy but I am basically just tired, busy, and struggling with my new life routine.
I feel like I'm trying to control too much and don't know how to let go and not feel like I'm going to gain weight if I don't exercise 3 times a week and have a few drinks on the weekend. Writing this makes me feel like I'm such an annoying person for overthinking things.
posted by aivilo91 to Human Relations (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: This isn't (or shouldn't be) a question about your routine. This is (or should be) a question about your eating disorder.

I'm not convinced that it's a great idea to work 12 hour days when you're in this crucial stage of recovery from your eating disorder. Do you have other alternatives? Also, do you have time to meet with a mental health professional regularly? It sounds like you're not doing that, and I think you should be.

It sounds like you're getting a lot of exercise from your job, since you're working very long hours and are on your feet all day. I probably wouldn't sweat it too much until you can get a saner schedule. Also, you need to be a little careful about exercise. Exercising regularly really helped me in my recovery from my eating disorder, but there is a risk that you'll replace disordered eating with disordered exercise habits. That's another reason to be working with a therapist or counselor who can help you evaluate whether you're making positive changes.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:58 AM on May 18, 2014 [4 favorites]

I don't have experience with eating disorders but I do have experience with being a new teacher. If this is your first year you really need to be less hard on yourself. Teaching is rough and stressful and as I have discovered, my whole school year has been consumed by planning lessons, thinking about lessons, worrying about my students, and worrying about doing a good job. You also really need to make time during the day to drink water and use the bathroom. I often will be so consumed with lessons and making copies and dealing with emotional kid issues that I forget to take care of myself. A happy and rested teacher means happy kids!

Regarding going to the gym and doing your other hobbies, what I do is force myself to spend one night a week on a hobby, so I can focus on something for me and not my students. I have a lot of hobbies and this has meant that everything has fallen by the wayside except for my knitting. I plan on catching up with the others over the summer. I hope this helped a little and feel free to memail me, us new teachers need to stick together!
posted by ruhroh at 6:25 AM on May 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

Yes, starting a full time job is always hard, and teaching is particularly exhausting.

It's great that you have health and self improvement goals! Really it is. But it seems like you've set the bar quite high, and at a time that you're also still adjusting to full time work. I'd encourage you to be realistic rather than idealistic in your goals - daily exercise plus daily keyboard practice when you're exhausted after work? If you're already struggling, adding 2 more things to your schedule is going to be really hard. I'm not saying that you can't do it, but it will be hard.

Plus, you've said you're going to feel guilty if you "fail", so you need to set yourself up for success.

So: reframe what constitutes "exercise". Dancing is exercise. A brisk walk is exercise. You do not have to go to the gym or the pool for exercise.

Then aim for what you could realistically do, with your current routine and energy levels. What would work for me is to exercise between work and home - it's so much harder to go out and exercise once you've come home! I would also have leftovers (prepared on a non-exercise night) or a frozen meal ready on the evening I exercise.

With the keyboard practicing - this is something you should do for the enjoyment of it, not another task you set for yourself just to see if you can do it. If you're passionate about it, it will help de-stress you. If you're not, it'll be another chore, and an unnecessary one at that. Again, I wouldn't even aim for daily practice. If your goal is twice a week, you can probably do that, so - success! If you aim for every'll fail unless you have a perfect week.

Good luck!
posted by pianissimo at 6:52 AM on May 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

How do I feel less guilty about drinking alcohol as I'm dreading gaining weight which interferes with me letting loose and having more fun, which I need after a long week.

You might think about the fact that if you're out dancing for a few hours, you're probably burning at least as many calories as you consume in drinks. The bigger issue here is that you're "dreading gaining weight." You mention your fear and anxiety and guilt about your weight many times in your question, and it seems to be the concern underlying a lot of what's troubling you here. It's not clear from your question if you're recovering under the guidance of a therapist or other health professional, but it might be helpful to try to come up with guidelines about eating and exercise that are focused on health, rather than weight: eat for nutrition and exercise to get strong so you have stamina for those crazy long days! Or, try to recognize how much exercise you're getting during those crazy long days, and cut yourself some slack at the end of them. This kind of thinking can be really hard in a world where we are constantly exposed to messages that equate thinness with virtuousness and suggest that everyone can be thin if they just work hard enough.

You are already working so hard at being a teacher, which is one of the most important things a person can do; try to recognize the value of that and focus on the amazing things you are doing, rather than worrying about how you could be better all the time.
posted by dizziest at 7:53 AM on May 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

I am not sure this is 100% right for you since you seem to have so much anxiety about this and adding numbers to the issue may aggravate that, but you could buy a step counter (like a FitBit) and keep track of how much you exercise just standing and walking around at work all day. It sounds like a lot, and it's all perfectly valid exercise that you're getting already without adding anything.
posted by anaelith at 6:16 AM on May 19, 2014

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