I’m officially working days! Crappy night job has become crappy day job. After two weeks off, where I got in a good slog of rest, exercise, and sun; I’m feeling a lot better. Who knew getting enough sleep and seeing the sun would make such a difference? Ok, everyone knew.
The change to days comes with a cost; the pay difference is about $8 less per hour. Also, I could have stayed working five days a week, but instead, I decided to drop to three days a week. When you say it like that, it seems like I’ve cut my pay in half, but due to the change in tax bracket, it works out to be about a third. I’ll have enough to keep the rent paid and the lights on, but my budget will be pretty thin if I don’t start making some scratch from my writing. That’s what I plan to do with the two extra days in the week, so I should be able to get some of those long term goals done and start seeing some real progress in my career.
For obvious reasons, health has been on my mind lately. The last six months of night shift were draining. Draining might not be the right metaphor; perhaps the last six months were more akin to the scummy rubbish left in the sink after it has been drained.
The CSIRO, the Australian government scientific organisation, recommends that every Australian get 10,000 steps per day for good cardiac health. The average Australian is terrible at this, and I am no exception. I’ve revived the dreaded fit bit knockoff so that I can fuss over the stats more than do any work, and for the last three weeks, I’ve been hitting an average of 10,000 steps. I tried to do this while I was working nights, a couple of times, but couldn’t make it work. It’s been pretty good so far. I’ve also dusted off the bench press and dumbbells and started a regular arm workout.
I’m trying to eat better. Night shifts have let some of my worse habits come out, and I’ve eaten a lot of rubbish. I’m not “going on a diet” but instead trying to find new recipes that are good for me and taste good. Some substitutions work well for me, like zucchini noodles instead of pasta, but I don’t like the taste of fake sugar, so I still have one sugar in my coffee. Supposedly, a balanced diet is about 40% carbs, 40% protein, and 20% fats. What I’ve noticed is that cheap food is almost all carbs. Pasta is cheap, rice is cheap, sugar is cheap. High carb foods also keep better. The busy consumer in Australia might have a pantry full of carbs because a bag of snow peas only lasts a couple of days, and they can only go shopping once a fortnight. I’m now in a situation where I can walk to the shop whenever I need, so limiting junk, eating more fresh food, and keeping an eye on serving size is a positive change for me.
Growing up in the country, we never had to do exercise on purpose. We were naturally active, and I never mastered the skill of exercising for health’s sake. Spending so much time at the computer means that I have to master this skill. Much like my attempts to write regularly, exercising regularly seems to have a form of Resistance. One counter to Resistance like that is to push through for a few weeks doing the right thing stubbornly. After a few weeks, you start to see the benefits of good behaviour, making Resistance’s plan to entice you with instant gratifications less effective.
I started making changes to diet and exercise a few weeks before I finished nights, and now with two weeks to nail it down, I’m feeling a lot better. I’ve dropped four belt notches around my waist, and I’ve lost 10kg.
Now all I have to do is write regularly, and I’ll have a basic framework for how I want to spend my days.