Winding my spring

Do you ever wake up in the morning and just think…nope? I don’t want to do today. It’s like being pelted with tomatoes except the tomatoes are actually all the things you have to do to earn a living and stay alive and all of the many seemingly insurmountable tasks involved with that.

A few weeks ago I finished reading Haruki Marikami’s Norwegian Wood, a novel about a young man finding his way in Tokyo in the ’60s. A few times in the novel the protagonist talks about ‘winding his spring’, a metaphor for having a routine to give the day momentum – just like old wristwatches needed winding to get going.

“Just as you take care of the birds and the fields every morning, every morning I wind my own spring. I give it some 36 good twists by the time I’ve got up, brushed my teeth, shaved, eaten breakfast, changed my clothes, left the dorm, and arrived at the university. I tell myself, “OK, let’s make this day another good one.

Sometimes I wake up with a lot of energy and excitement and things don’t feel like an effort, they just flow. But other times I need to consciously wind my spring. Sometimes the only way to get going is to have a routine. Once I’ve started my routine, or wound my spring, I’ll be propelled through the rest of the day by my own momentum. I make a list, egg myself on, force my body to make the right movements so hopefully my mind will follow.

Every now and then though it’s ok to not wind your spring. We all need to pause sometimes. Let the world carry on without you for a bit. It’ll be ok, the gloom will pass in its own time.

I’ve noticed a lot of influencers posting about their morning routines on social media. The trick to earning loads of money and leading a glamorous lifestyle like theirs, apparently, is to get up half an hour before you go to bed, do a triathlon, down a sea mineral smoothie and do a 10-hour workshift all before 8am. That leaves loads of time for your favourite leisure activities like filming make-up tutorials, doing yoga and drinking cocktails on a beach in Dubai.

But in all seriousness, if you’re feeling a bit flat at the moment then take a break. Have a breather. Lie in bed all day, close the curtains, switch off social media, withdraw from your responsibilities if you can. You might ruffle some feathers initially but imagine what would happen if you just ploughed on. You’d be unproductive, more prone to making mistakes, lashing out at people, and feeling so stressed that you’d lose sight of yourself and the things that are important to you.

Yesterday and the day before I hibernated. Today I’m winding my spring. I had a much-needed uninterrupted sleep, awoke early and went for a hike through the pretty dusting of snow on the South Downs. I came back, did a martial arts workout followed by yoga, now I’m showered and about to blast some music and deep clean my kitchen.

Sometimes the simplest things can shake you out of your gloom.

What do you do to wind your spring in the morning? Let me know in the comments.