Many therapists and doctors will tell you that routine is an important part of recovery for someone with depression/a mood disorder. Yet it doesn’t take a genius to know that for a student, routine is pretty much a made up concept. Especially for an unemployed humanities student on holiday (sigh).
It’s difficult, therefore, to maintain the concept of a routine during those months when lectures aren’t running, even for the most mentally stable of people. So for someone who struggles to get out of bed on days where things are happening, it’s nearly impossible on days when nothing is happening.
However, I try, and advise, not to see this as a bad thing. No matter what the doctors recommend, nobody knows what you need more than you do (fucking cliché, ugh). Which is why the past week I have been home, I’ve ended up doing vastly different things every day, yet all of these activities have counted as self care, routine be damned.
Spending a few hours working on Monday, and treating myself with new books and a nap, and catching up with a friend, required a day in bed on Tuesday to regain physical and mental energy. By Wednesday, I was ready for the 4 mile walk I had planned with friends, and an over excited dog, but this did mean that Thursday required a more relaxed (lazy) start – though this could mainly be due to a 3am bedtime (the first in a long time I must boast). Yet a late night didn’t require a full day of bed rest to recover. On the contrary, it was with full energy that I fed the cat and bounded up and down the stairs a few times (with a reason, not just for fun…).
Playing with the dog, making fresh food for lunch, and focussing on a movie may have taken it out of me by the evening, but here I am on Friday morning, multitasking to get everything done before I get on train to go to a friend’s party, and then rush back home to pack and get myself on a plane. It’s going to be a busy week, and it has already been a busy few days, but I don’t believe for a second that any of this week would have been improved, or helped improve my mood, by having a routine to follow every day. In listening to what my body needs, I have managed to have a productive and enjoyable week. Sometimes spontaneity is the healthiest option.