Tuesday 10 December 2019

Why it's important to have routine

If you're a regular reader of my blog or you follow me on Social Media you'll know I'm a married mum of 5, now with 1 grandchild. I live in Dubai with my husband and our cat and dog. We've lived abroad for almost 9 years. Apart from 1 year teaching, I've pretty much retired and spend my time travelling between the UK and Dubai to visit our families. We have 1 son living in Australia and another in Northern Ireland. My husband travels with his work regularly and as a consequence I spend a lot of the time I'm in Dubai, completely on my own.

It's hard enough filling a 10 hour day when my husband is just local, but at least he is home every evening so we can do things together. There's only so many coffees I can drink, only so much food shopping that needs doing and the same goes with cleaning, washing and ironing for just the 2 of us.

With the 4 hour time difference and all voice over internet such as skype etc banned, I can't even communicate with my family and friends other than the typed word and by the time I go to bed around 9pm, it's only 5pm in the UK and everyone is just getting home from work, having their tea etc.

Back in 2018 I implemented a 9am rule which motivates me to get out of bed each morning and is effective in breaking the boredom. It doesn't combat the loneliness when my husband is away but that's for another post.

Establishing some kind of routine in the morning has stopped me spending endless days in bed, just watching youtube and drifting off to sleep, then rushing around like mad, unwashed towards the end of the day when my husband is due home from work.

I recently had 2 weeks on my own in Dubai, as Peter was away. During that time apart from asking for a latte or paying a cashier, my interaction with other adults has been this:

2 visits to the dog park
Pub quiz
2 visits from relocation companies quoting for a move
Met a friend from the UK for 2 hours who was here on business
Arranged a surprise birthday for a friend, with her maid and was at her house for 2 hours one morning after she returned home from a fortnight away.
A long chat on the phone with a woman organising the pet relocation.

I did other things during that time like swimming, shopping, dog walking, ice skating, photography and lots of coffees out and have very much had a good 2 weeks, but I struggled to fill the time in between other than gardening, house work, letter writing, reading, blogging and of course youtube.

So apart from my 9am rule I've implemented a few other ideas that have been helping me fill the day.

After getting dressed I open all the curtains and windows (when the weather permits) I make sure I have a proper breakfast that I sit and eat at the table and clean up afterwards. I've decided to try new things such as going ice skating once a week and make sure I go over to the pool every day even if I don't swim, just a change of scenery to read my book.

With a relocation ahead of us, I'm picking one room, or store cupboard a week to start sorting through things, such as bedding, toiletries, cleaning materials, clothes and ornaments etc.

Now it's winter and I can get outdoors I can give the dog an extra walk during the day. I also set up the garden each day with chair cushions so I can sit outside to blog or write letters or just enjoy a cup of tea.

I cook myself a proper meal from scratch each evening and clean the kitchen up afterwards. I then walk the dog, bring in the garden furnishings, draw the curtains and run myself a bath, then in my pjs watch TV or you tube or read a book and go to bed around 9pm.

Of course my routine gets interrupted with emergency trips to the UK and spur of the moment plans to travel with Peter rather than be on my own. As I'm doing today by joining him for a week in South Africa. I also fail to keep to a routine when Peter isn't travelling and as a consequence my sleep suffers, which make the day time drag when he is in work.

I'm relocating to the UK in January with the cat and dog to our former home for two reasons. One being I'm bored and lonely in Dubai and the second being we decided to evict our tenants due to concerns from our rental agents so the timing has been perfect. Peter and I will travel between the two countries until he retires in the next 2-3 years and I'll then be looking for work. But until then, my adjustments once I've relocated won't be so huge on a daily basis as I'll have family and friends around me.


  1. If it's wet out I stay in for the day and I easily get bored. Having a routine does help and I busy myself around the house as much as I can but like you said there's only so much you can do. I am sure you'll be a lot busier when you're back in the UK. x

    1. I'm sure there is enough stuff to do in the UK to occupy me full time

  2. You share a perspective on life that is so foreign to me (literally!), and it's good to learn about another's challenges. You have made me grateful for my crazy life this morning!

    1. Living abroad has sure been very different what I'd ever expected it to be

  3. I think it would be tough to make friends in a foreign country. I retired 2 years ago after teaching for 31 years, but my hubby retired just last year, so we have a lot of together time. Of course, we run and/or go to the gym together, so that takes up a big chunk of our day. We also do some volunteer work delivering meals to shut-ins. I hope your move to the UK alleviates some of the loneliness and boredom. And of course, you have your blogging family to correspond with! :)

    1. Strangely it was relatively easy to make friends in South Africa after about a year to settle in, Dubai has been a challenge

  4. will be nice for you to get back to the uk and spend time with nearer family who you can visit when the time suits
    Hopefully also means when you got back to Dubai you can spend quality time with Peter

  5. I am a lover of a routine, keeps me calm X #pocolo

    1. It's very important to me or the days/weeks just fly past and I resent not having done anything