I have come to realize how important it is to set your days up for success. Planning my days out and trying to instill some consistency is the key to my own well-being. I was pondering about the amount of stress I used to have (lots) and how much I have now (little) and how I kind of feel the same in terms of my overall energy, health etc.
I've realized that it is not the stress in my life that affects how I feel - but rather how I start and end my days that affects it - and determines how much stress I ALLOW into my life. If this already seems like common sense to you - then I'm genuinely glad for you, but for me it was such a revelation.
I have been a manager in various retail environments. It was sometimes a hard job, sometimes easy, sometimes fun and sometimes really stressful. There is nothing like cold weather, shorter days, extended late-night hours, non-stop Christmas music, crazy line-ups, and entitled shoppers to make you feel completely devoid of any good cheer. I always thought - "If I just had a regular schedule I would feel better, healthier, less tired etc." Yet now my schedule is determined by me! but that doesn't make it any less difficult, somedays I have to remember that I've been working on assignment in front of my computer for 5 hours straight and I should take a break.
I've always set goals for myself such as - "I will go to the gym, every wednesday" but I find I never stick with those long term. SO - I have begun a couple of habits that I think are the answer to this. At least for me,
- AT NIGHT: Before I go to bed, I jot down 2-3 things that need to get done the next day. Be it, an assignment, the laundry or taking the dogs to get groomed.
- IN THE MORNING: I wake up and take the dogs on a quick walk around the block.
And that's it - it seems like nothing right?
But here's the thing. The morning walks refresh me - they give me a burst of energy (especially on sunny days) and when I come home I find that my desire is for a good healthy breakfast. When I go to my office to tackle my to -do list I have so much motivation! I start with the hardest task first, and then my day is just soaring. I do more, I eat better and I WANT to be more active throughout the day. I mean, I don't think it would be as effective if say I was having McDonalds for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day as well - but it makes me not want to do that!
The night time to do list, helps me to see how much I got done , and allows me to go to bed without the weight of a list in my head! I sleep like a baby! (or, I will when I get some new pillows, but thats another story).
My favourite thing about it is that your daily schedule doesn't matter here - only your actions when you wake up/before you go to sleep. If you work at 6 am, what about waking up and doing 10 minutes of stretching? Or even just giving yourself an extra 5 minutes to enjoy a cup of coffee? At night your list can include things that you need to get done at work that day...I only jot 2 -3 items because I find that any more than that and the list starts to loom over you a bit - and that defeats the purpose. Give yourself time for the unexpected!
I'm not saying everyday is perfect - and I've said before that I don't like books or articles that try to teach me "how to live" - we're all different and maybe this particular strategy won't work for you, but I sincerely hope it does. Id' love to know if you guys do something different though, do you follow certain routines?