I Have Post-Workout Sludge Brain

As part of my general efforts at improving myself and my life, I’ve started waking myself up at 6am again (something that I stopped doing a couple months into the pandemic) and immediately getting out of bed so I can exercise. Even with the extra hour I’m spending on working out, this has meant that I’m now at work by 8:30 every day, thirty to ninety minutes earlier that I was previously. Even though I’m only getting up an extra hour earlier. After all, if I get out of bed and start working out right away, that means I’m not spending thirty to ninety minutes of every morning laying in my bed, browsing twitter or reading comics on my phone. Or, you know, wallowing in depression as I struggle with motivating myself to get out of bed and actually do stuff with my day.

Just like daily blogging, extra creative tasks, and trying to eat better, this is something I’m starting now that I have the extra energy and spoons to spend on making a significant change to my life. I’m starting small, taking my time, and trying to build sustainable habits rather than going all-out in the short term with the hope that it sticks like I used to. While this style of change has so far worked out well for me, as seen in my improved writing and daily sunlight habits, and seems to be going well in terms of this exercising becoming a sustainable habit, I am currently working through the “tired and hungry constantly” period of this change. Until I get used to my new wakeup time and the stress all this additional physical activity is putting on my body, I’m frequently finding myself too tired to do much. My productivity has tanked to the point where I’m struggling to keep up with work and my daily creative goals.

That said, I am enjoying one of the coincidental benefits of getting to work earlier: now I’m getting home from work before it gets entirely dark. I haven’t left work while the sun was still up since early Fall. Because I shifted my work schedule around in order to avoid front-loading my work weeks in a way that makes daily habits difficult to build, I’ve been able to make up for some of my lost creative productivity in the evenings. For instance, now I’m not writing and editing blog posts during breaks at work, I’m actually resting. The downside is that since I’m trying to cram all of my creative work and thought into a single period in the evening when I’m tired enough to start dozing off is that I’m currently finding it difficult to come up with new ideas. My mind feels far less elastic than it usually does. It just feels sort of sludgy instead, thanks to how absolutely wiped out I feel midway through the week.

That said, I should be able to keep up my usual writing habits until I get through the adjustment period. I’ll just have a few weeks of struggling to come up with interesting blog posts and make any progress in my editing efforts, but I’ll still be making progress. It also doesn’t help that most of my D&D campaigns aren’t happening very frequently, so I’m missing out on one of my more spontaneous and rejuvenating creative outlets. Hopefully everyone’s schedules get back to normal soon so we can return to all those wonderful games and actually play a few weeks in a row. The one game I’ve had recently suffered from a long drought in the middle of a tense moment, so our recent session was mostly the boring work of picking up the pieces, reminding the players of what they were doing, and trying to figure out what their characters know that the players have forgotten.

So if my posts sound a little scattered, unfocused, or senseless, rest assured that this is only temporary. I’ll get back on my game soon enough and hopefully get back to new creative work. Maybe work on some flash fiction and short stories again. Time will tell.

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