Let me start by giving you a timeline. I precisely remember what my plans were for March 13, 2020: volunteer at a film festival, go for a dinner date and study for my final exam which was meant to happen in 2 weeks.
However, the events that unfolded after that, were just plain stressful. A call on March 16, confirmed my tickets for Dubai, all of March 17 was spent shifting things out of my dorm, and by March 18 I was on that flight to Dubai, meanwhile, Dubai closed its borders mid-air, but that’s a story for another time.
Today it’s March 19, 2021, and I have officially spent 365 days working in another time zone that happens to be 10 hours ahead.
I now have absolutely no circadian rhythm.
My routine currently involves sleeping at 4 am, then immediately afterwards wrapping up my work meetings and classes. I think I might have forgotten what morning looks like.
For someone who is sleep-deprived, has no sleep schedule whatsoever, does not drink coffee, here are a couple of my habits that are keeping me sane.
1. Meditate before going to bed.
Meditation mostly helps to clear my mind and reflect on my day. With a time difference of almost 12 hours, I need to reflect and recharge.
It helps me create an itemized list of events that happened in my day, and through reflection, determine which ones were more stressful than others, and which events contributed to my goal of building a growth mindset.
2. Read a book (a chapter should suffice)
Reading a book is the part of the day that makes up for exhausting workdays that turn up quite frequently. I think it’s important to have one hobby that helps you to think about things that are not the norm, something that is more than a mundane work or school task that you get to strike off your To-Do list.
I think reading is my growth activity. I read light philosophy and it helps me think about topics that I would never look into otherwise. Quite literally, a hobby that helps me grow.
3. Instrumental flute/ocean/meditation music.
I must listen to calming sounds, as I like the state of being calm. It is a breather that helps me gather my thoughts.
4. Print out a time conversion chart (I made it my wallpaper)
It’s important, that’s all I’m going to say and saves you a couple of minutes of mental math.
It was an important realization for me to change up my routines by getting a little bit of that morning sun, going on morning walks and sipping hot chai. It is important to induce positive change and normalcy into a routine that is not normal.
I’m hopeful for a change in the next few months, but for now, I’m going to act like it’s completely normal to have dinner at 2 am.