You know that consistent sense that you’re superwoman – flitting between domestic goddess, exercise queen, workaholic and social bean?
No, me neither.
Maybe it’s just me – but no matter how hard I try, there is always something I’m supposed to be doing that I am just not! Granted, I may be slightly extreme on this scale – but it can’t actually just be me who forgets to pee or eat when work gets busy, or suddenly finds 2 weeks have gone by since that exercise regime was supposed to start.
Well, recently I have been making some small improvements and they are 100% making me feel like a winner:
- Waking up
Wakes up at 8.50a.m Monday, scrambles into creased clothes in a state of panic and find myself batting mascara in and around my eyeball, mid rush hour on the tube.
Tuesday: resolve to be ‘Monday me’ no more and sets alarm for 6.30a.m… wakes up at 8.45.
Wednesday: find myself in work at 7.30. Vow never to leave bed like that again.
Thursday: gives up on early morning’s altogether.
Weekend: forgets about morning entirely.
But now, ‘New me’:
Wakes up at 6.30a.m daily during the week – okay fine, tries to, most of the time.
Goes to the gym!!! Okay or doesn’t, but enjoys breakfast and a leisurely prep for the day.
Wakes up at 7.30a.m naturally on the weekends!!!
Suddenly, I seem to have all this extra time to fill and more so, more energy to fill it with.
But don’t just let me tell you, research will advise you to pick a wake-up time that you can maintain. Don’t feel like this has to be early either – much better that it’s a time you can be consistent with. This has been proven to help you sleep better at night, and feel more awake in the morning. Research also tells you that not snoozing your alarm is very important in this – easier said than done!
2. Going to sleep
So here is the science – We all have what is essentially a sleep clock in our brain called a circadian timer – and this functions best when it works to a regular routine. But more so, this clock is influenced by the light/ dark levels we expose ourselves to.
Basically, when we sit in front of a screen before bed, the blue light from the devices not only messes with your sleep clock, but also too often results in a 40 minute stalk session that keeps you from sleep.
What I took from that was to avoid tech devices in the bedroom, and try to go to bed at a consistent time when you can.
3. Drinking Alcohol
Alcohol I have noticed is a sure fire way to knock me off a routine. One for ‘future me’ to tackle….maybe.
4. Calendar-fy your life!
As you may have gathered, organisation is not my strong suit. Or rather, not ‘old me’s strong suit. ‘New me’ has started segmenting my day into tasks using my laptop and phone calendar. At work this has made an enormous difference to previously feeling like I was in some sort of never-ending tennis match vs incoming emails, and then wondering where the day has gone.
It works like this: I take 10 minutes at the end of each day to plan the following day segment in my calendar – 30 minutes of emails in the morning, and afternoon – and then hour slots dedicated to tasks that need doing. I’ve also started a rolling to do list in my calendar, that I move to 8.30am each day – this helps me to keep track of what needs to be done and keeps it all in one place (rather than 3 different notebooks, 5000 sticky notes and the odd email to myself in 2 am panic).
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why this makes me feel happier – although it did take me 26 years. Being better organised allows me to get work done more effectively, avoid states of anxiety and allows me to understand what needs to be done and when, rather than trying to do everything at once.
5. Break your (new) routine
Sometimes life seems to spiral – your week seemingly an endless treadmill of work, sleep, work sleep, repeat, repeat, weekend!
While weekends come as a welcome break, free time in the city for me doesn’t always leave me refreshed or rejuvenated – drinks out, dinner out, money out (the bank).
I recently signed up to a cycle to Paris in aid of Stroke Association – and while I will freely admit that training has started slightly later than I had planned, suddenly I have this fun ( & free!) new activity to do.
This weekend I cycled 20 miles through Richmond park and along the River Thames – it was a bit hilly, a bit nippy and a lot exhausting – but ultimately really enjoyable and gave me a chance to get out London of life and enjoy some amazing views.
This felt like a proper break from the every day – 100 times more refreshing than spending Sunday tucked up on the sofa with a hangover, watching re-runs of TOWIE (*other reality tv series are available) in any case.
Find times for things that you love or new experiences – it helps you feel like you’re making the most of life, and helps you go back to work come Monday with a new sense of energy.