A Lesson Learnt and An Action Plan Made After the Goa CycloneLuke Coutinho
As the cyclone passed along the coast of Goa, we lost all electricity and Wi-Fi for over 2 days. Whist falling trees around us, dark clouds, gusts of powerful wind howled around us, rains lashed every side of our home, water seeped in through the windows, under the doors, it was beautiful sitting in the dark as night set in with just the lit candles and family.
Of course, there were zero consults, food plans to make, no access to research logs to study and make notes, no content videos to design and create. I even skipped my workout besides my 45 mins of morning yoga. I just decided to enjoy the weather, some hot chai, and making do with whatever food we had.
I took an afternoon nap which I rarely do, although when in school and high school, an afternoon siesta was something my parents insisted on, and we loved it back then. I kept the blinds rolled up, lay down in bed, and fell asleep to the swaying trees and ghostly howling of the wind as it passed through the gaps of the windows, and under the doors.
Then, I woke up in an hour, had an amazing butter cream cupcake and some chai. It was the perfect weather for both. As you can see, my day was easy, very little work, but by 7:30pm I was sleepy. You know, that kind of good sleepy when your eyes start to get heavy and your brain begins to shut down. Why? The day was easy, the brain was not used as much as I use it on a daily basis in my work with my patients and my thinking. And then, Natashya said, “I think I know why.” We have had literally zero screen time the whole day, no phone, no iPad, no TV, no social media, dopamine thrills, but just natural light around us.
My girlfriend who I love unconditionally had kicked in. Her name is “Melly”. I love Melly. When Melly is at its highest point in me, she puts me into the deepest, quietest, most refreshing and restorative sleep. Melly allows me to wake up fresh, happy and full of energy. By now, you would have figured my Melly is “Melatonin”. Melly had kicked in by around 7:30 pm. For once she was not suppressed by artificial phone light, bright LED lights, etc, as we know in the circadian rhythm as the sun sets, Melly starts to be produced at a higher rate to prepare and put us to sleep, unless of course things like bright lights, artificial lights etc suppresses it. I asked everyone around how they felt and all of them were feeling this incredible ready-to-sleep feeling. We hung around talking for a while and then all retired to our respective bedrooms to sleep, and what deep beautiful sleep it was. Melly in full power, putting us into the deepest sleep, waking up this morning to a better weather and incredible energy levels. Such is the power of the circadian rhythm. Such is the power of our hormone – melatonin, and this just makes us understand so much about the impact of our habits and lifestyle on our sleep and everything else.
Of course, as we resume back into a normal life, the Wi-Fi comes back up, the electricity kicks in, and we will in some way or the other get back to our lives, but hopefully with more wisdom, respect and some action to minimise what suppresses Melly, and make changes in order to get the deepest sleep ever.
By now, we know how medicine and science shows us how good and bad sleep habits is connected to every possible disease from cancers to Alzheimer’s, diabetes, obesity, fat gain, cardiovascular conditions, etc.
I’m using the next one hour (still don’t have Wi-Fi or internet) to re-plan my day so I can actually look at putting away my gadgets and switch off my internet by 7:30pm. I want to be practical and understand that on many days I may not be able to meet this schedule due to urgent consults, patient calls, etc but, at least I have a plan and an intention to stick to, as much as I can.
My routine –
- Wake up: 5:30 am
- Morning routine: 5:30 – 5:40 am
- Bathroom – 5:40 – 6:00 am
- Workout/yoga/meditation/prayer/breathing/intention setting – 6 – 7:30 am
- Prepare for the day, client notes/follow up/plan – 7:30 – 8 am
- Sunshine (if the weather is kind) and social media check, put up posts – 8 to 8:20 am
- Start with patients – 8:30 am
- Break in between for 30 mins to breakfast and eat – 12:45 pm
- Prepare for live video – 12:45 – 1 pm
- Ad hoc calls/meditate – 1: – 1:30 pm
- Live – 1:30 pm
- Lunch – 1:45 – 2:15 pm
- Patients and meetings – 2:30 – 4 pm
- Calls/meetings/study – 4pm to 5 pm
- End day if no more patients – 5 pm
- Family time (garden, outdoors depending on COVID, or watch some TV) – 5 – 6:30 pm
- Dinner – 6:30 pm
- Relax, call home, fool around, etc – 7pm
- Family time and gadgets off (hoping to make this work!) – 7:30pm
- Kid bedtime, story etc – 8:15 pm
- Free or me time – read/plan next day/ study/ meditate /silence – 8:45 – 10:00 pm
- Sleep – 10 pm
I think sleep is my lynchpin, and it’s important to me because how I feel, operate, think, the next day depends on it. I think working to put off gadgets earlier is something worth the try.
Friday and Saturday night I may just allow myself to be a little more slack on that goal, although, my eyes and body usually shut down automatically by 10:30pm or max 11pm, but I want to keep some slack to just be and take it easy.
I love planning and budgeting my time. It makes me feel in control of the most valuable commodity on this planet which is, time. Time is money and time is life. Time is when we get to enjoy all we have and all we do, and cherish what is real to us. For me, time is everything and I am very careful where I invest it, in whom I’m invest it and how I use it.
The electricity and Wi-Fi still aren’t back as I end this piece. Think I’ll brew some coffee and then study a bit. Enjoy the downcast weather and daydream for a bit.
Hope you and your families are safe, healthy and together.
- Luke Coutinho
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