24 hours with... Martin Baker, Author and Mental Health Advocate
Date: Monday 4th June 2018
Why have you chosen to write about today?
I decided to choose the first full day after you sent me the questions,/ so it would be pretty much random, rather than choose a day that seemed in some way more ‘special’ or ‘significant.’
What time did you wake up?
I woke briefly around 4:30am but went straight back to sleep. I woke again at 6:40am and got up twenty minutes later just before my alarm (which is set for 7:02am)
Why did you wake up at that time?
That’s just naturally when I woke.
Did you have a dream?
Possibly but not that I remember. I rarely recall my dreams.
Do you think today will be 'good' or 'bad' day? (use your own definition of these words to answer the question)
Hmmm… ‘good’ and ‘bad’ in that sense don’t mean much to me, to be honest. I’m not expecting the day to be especially difficult, apart from some work stuff which has been frustrating me lately and which I really do have to get on top of. Apart from that, I try and hold myself open to whatever happens.
What are the first three things you do after waking up?
Check my phone. Get up and ready for work. Leave the house.
Do you eat breakfast? If yes, what did you have?
I never eat breakfast at home. On a work day I usually have a pot of instant porridge when I reach the office, but I didn’t have anything today as I was on a partial fast (nothing to eat until my evening meal).
What would be your perfect breakfast?
A cooked vegetarian breakfast, or real porridge with honey.
Is there anything that you have to do today but don't particularly want to?
There was a piece of work I’ve been putting off because it is fiddly and I am not sure where to start on it.
List five things that you do between 9am and noon.
Hopefully Aimee won’t mind if I change this to ‘between 7am and noon’ because otherwise I’ll miss the first couple of hours of my day, which I really enjoy!
1. On a work day I call into Starbucks at Tesco (a five minute walk from home) and spend half an hour having coffee (tall black Americano, no sugar, in my reusable cup). I take the coffee with me when I leave and head into work on the Metro.
2. Check the Amazon rankings of our book. Changes in the ranking are a good estimate of sales so I check them every morning, usually while I’m having my coffee.
3. Check in with/send good morning messages to Fran and other close friends.
4. Catch the Metro to South Gosforth and then walk into work: an east twenty minute stroll which I really look forward to especially the last bit away from the road along the old waggon way.
5. Once I am in the office I check in with the rest of my team, make coffee and (usually) make up my pot of porridge.
Did you eat lunch? If yes, what did you eat?
On a work day I usually have a cheese salad sandwich from the kiosk downstairs or a pot of instant noodles, but nothing today.
What would be your perfect lunch?
You can’t beat a good cheese sandwich!
List five things that you have done, said, thought, or that have happened between noon and 5pm.
1. I took my lunch break from noon to 1pm and after catching up with my journal I read some of The Owl Service by Alan Garner. It is a wonderful book I have known and loved for decades. I thought to read it again because it is relevant to some research I am doing for my next blog post for bpHope.com. The topic is going to me the ‘enchantment’ of mania.
2. Around 3pm my time Fran messaged me with her weight (it would have been 10am with her in the US). I updated the spreadsheet we keep and messaged the graphics back to her.
3. I managed to avoid the piece of work I had been putting off until around 2pm then decided I really need to press on with it! Inevitably, it wasn’t quite as awful as I had imagined!
4. I proof-read a poster that a colleague and fellow Mental Health First Aider put together to display in the work place. I am very excited to be getting involved in mental health initiatives at work and this is a part of that, highlighting the fact there are Mental Health First Aiders in the office.
5. I made an effort to drink plenty of water, which I struggle to remember to do. Some fizzy Vitamin C tablets make it more palatable!
Do you eat dinner/tea? If yes, at what time?
Dinner was around 5pm at home.
What do you eat?
Sausage curry made with pork sausages for my wife and son, and Quorn sausages for me. With white rice and naan bread.
What would be your perfect dinner?
Quorn sausages with roast potatoes, roast parsnips, roast carrots, stuffing and gravy.
What do you do with your evening (5-8pm)?
After dinner I spent half an hour in the garden trimming more from our very overgrown ivy hedge. (‘Hedge’ is a bit of a misnomer, it is threatening to take over the property! Think Day of the Triffids on steroids!) I also weighed myself. At 7pm I had my first Skype video call of the day with Fran. We talked for a bit about our days and I read a little more of Outlander, which is the novel we have been reading together for a while now. Reading aloud – or being read to – is something people rarely do as adults: I highly recommend it!
Do you have a 'get-ready-for-bed' routine? If so, what is it?
If Fran is at home I am on Skype with her for a couple of hours from 11pm. After that my get-ready-for-bed routine comprises doing my teeth and collapsing into bed! It absolutely doesn’t involve making myself a plate of cheese sandwiches at 1am in the morning before turning in. No.
What time do you go to sleep?
Usually just after 1am
Is this when you want to go to bed? Or is it influenced by what you're doing the following day?
This is when I am ready to get to bed. It’s not usually affected by what I’m doing the next day.
Do you share your bed?
With a cuddly, grizzly bear called Pemberton. I made him years ago for a dear friend. After my friend died, Pemberton came home to me.
Which position do you tend to sleep in? e.g. foetus, starfish etc.
On my right side.
What was your favourite part of your day?
Making a proper start on the piece of work I’d been putting off felt good, although it is far from finished. I also enjoyed taking time to read for/by myself which is something I rarely do.
What was your least favourite?
I learned that a friend had been involved in a road traffic accident. They are okay, which is a huge relief, but I got quite a shock when I heard about it.
Did anything happen today that you'd like to change or re-do?
No. I pretty much take things as they come. I have never understood regret: once something has happened it has happened.
Did you 'learn' anything today? (use your own definition of this word to answer the question)
I learned (relearned, really) that my weight reflects the decisions I make several times a day over when I eat and drink. That is very empowering.
Are you looking forward to tomorrow?
Always! I never know what the day might bring.
What do you have planned?
I will be at work but apart from that I don’t have anything planned during the day. I will go out for groceries after dinner, and meet up with Fran on Skype. Whatever else comes along!
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And you can buy his book here