My 3 p.m. Habit

Intro: This week I spent the time working on determining the “cue” for my 3 p.m. slump and down spiraling mood. Author Charles Dihugg talks about this in his book The Power of Habit: Why we do what we do in life and business about determining the cue first before changing the habit. Here is my journaling:

Saturday, January 9, 3 p.m. I had been working on a project and watching a football game with family in the afternoon. I felt tired, but the world wasn’t ending. I could have taken a nap, but I was too busy to think about this habit I needed to figure out.

Sunday, January 10, 3 p.m. I had a photoshoot. It was short shoot, but just enough time to set my mood to be forward thinking. Earlier in the day I was in bed, crying. I was tired and frustrated. My house was a mess and I felt behind. My girls were tired from their sleepover the night before so they snuggled in for a nap. I grabbed my favorite mug and filled it with coffee before an afternoon meeting, and grocery pick-up prior to my session. I am not good at taking a day off. I decided this will be my next priority.

Monday, January 11, 3 p.m. I was in a meeting, doing my best to listen to understand what was being said. I was tired after the meeting, but I had grabbed coffee prior as a treat and pick me up. Since I was actively doing something productive, I didn’t take time to think about my emotions.

Tuesday, January 12, 3 p.m. I didn’t sleep well overnight. My mind was racing after a challenging evening. My 4-year-old woke me up in the middle of the night and my alarm clock came too soon. Coffee was a must to start my day. Self-care has been needed today. My slump came as I drove to my friend’s house for a play date with our children. I downed my coffee on the way and walked into her house needing the pick-me-up of friendship.

Wednesday, January 13, 3 p.m. I was feeling tired all day while I worked. In hindsight I wasn’t feeling great. Around 3 p.m., after working my tail end off, I lost my energy. I continued to work, but it was noticeable. The world wasn’t ending, but I didn’t have any momentum.

Thursday, January 14, 3 p.m. I was back at work and having a great day. I felt well and full of determination to do my job with energy. My work was life-giving and full of hope. I did not experience a slump. Three o-clock came and went and I realized the slump hadn’t happened. I realized my slump happens mostly when I am at home or when I don’t have anything productive to do.

Today, Friday January 15, I realize this week has been emotionally tough. I took care for myself this morning and refocused my attitude towards gratitude. In review, it appears my habit of an afternoon coffee comes from allowing my emotions to become negative. I may feel overwhelmed, tired or sad and I race to make myself feel better. I heard it said this week on a podcast “my emotions are not my boss”. This hit me to the core. Without realizing it, I allow my emotions to become my boss in the afternoon.

This coming week, I am going to change the way I do business with my emotions. I want to be the boss of them. I can choose to dwell on other things such as gratitude, joy and goodness, especially in the afternoon. To make a new habit, I need my brain to rewire by consciously making decisions instead of allowing the old pathways in my brain to continue.

What about you? Is it time to look for the “cue” in a habit you want to break? Being aware of a habit has been eye opening for me. I encourage us to make sense of why we do what we do so we can start making new habits of self-care and resilience. Maybe start a journal to record what cues you have around the habits you do without thinking about or the habit you want to break. A little step in the right direction, even just becoming aware of the decisions we are making, will help us when times get tough.

Next goal: learn to rest. If you are driven like I am, learning to rest can be a negative goal. Or resting might be easy and you want to make the goal of moving something forward in your life. We will talk about both. Let’s look at the healthy reasons to rest first. Can’t wait!

-ST

Published by Stephanie Trowbridge

Follower of Jesus. Artist. Wife. Mother.

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