Many of us are exhausted by the end of the week (or maybe by noon on a Monday). We chalk it up to a busier day than normal, an above average use of our brain power, or just a rainy day. While any of these can certainly be factors, the human body is an amazing machine that can provide multitudes of energy when the right fuel is introduced. I’m not a health professional – I’m a digital marketer – but I know what has worked for me on my journey of being healthier and treating my body the way it deserves. Here are some non-professional suggestions about how to power through your days and weeks with productivity!
Sleep is King
I could go on forever about the health benefits of sleep and the repercussions of too little. There’s an article that can explain it a lot better than I can here. I absolutely LOVE to sleep and prioritize it every night, and you bet I’m sure to get 8 hours. Each body is different and some people may need a little less or more – but the principle is the same. To go along with a healthy amount of sleep, you want to make sure that your sleep schedule is as consistent as possible. I personally set an alarm to remind me that it’s time for me to get ready to wind down for the evening, and I give myself 30 minutes to get ready before I actually hit the sack. Humble brag incoming: I’ve worked hard on a consistent sleep schedule and now I naturally wake up with the sunrise at 7am without even setting an alarm. It’s not an easy schedule to practice, but the benefits are well worth it.
Breakfast is Important
You wouldn’t leave for a road trip with your car’s gas tank left on “E”, right? Well, I certainly hope not. We shouldn’t treat our bodies like that either. Our first meal of the day sets the energy levels for the next few hours, and will definitely affect your brainpower well into the afternoon. In fact, when an early breakfast is done correctly, you probably won’t even feel hungry until late into the afternoon! I can hear some of you saying that you don’t like breakfast foods, or that it takes too much time in the morning. I hear you. I’ll tell you a secret: any food can be a breakfast food. Your first meal doesn’t have to be a hearty spread of sausage, bacon, and eggs (to be honest, it shouldn’t be, for max health benefits). It can be small, cold, packaged, blended, toasted, or raw. If you really feel like overachieving, take an evening or afternoon on the weekends to prep your breakfast. Check out some breakfast options here.
Get Your Blood Pumping
Yes, we should absolutely be exercising throughout the week. Our bodies want to move and do active things, and the more active we are, the better our system operates. As tempting as it is to plop down on the couch after work until bedtime, this does more harm than we realize. To scare yourself silly from the terrible things that can happen when you sit too much, read this. Even if you’re not able to have hour-long workouts in the nearby gym every evening, even a brisk walk a few times a week can do wonders for your brain and energy levels. Actually, exercise even helps you get more benefits from your sleep! Another fun fact: you don’t have to wait until the weekend or the end of the workday to exercise. Every half hour, I get up and take a tiny, 2 or 3 minute walk around the yard. This helps to raise heart rate, which pumps your blood to your brain, which helps you to be a more thoughtful, quick thinking employee. And that’s what we all want, right?
Me Time is a Good Time
Personally, I have nothing BUT me time. However, I am aware that this is difficult for some people that actually have lives. That being said, I do believe that taking time to ourselves is extremely important to recenter ourselves and to put our worlds into perspective again. When we are by ourselves, we might be able to tackle some things that have been bothering us lately and begin to sort them out. If you’re into that kind of thing, I heavily suggest meditation, too. Meditation doesn’t have to be a long, fancy event. It can be as simple as sitting outside on the porch/balcony/park bench with a cup of coffee/tea/water in hand and relaxing. Regular meditation has been proven to reduce stress and prevent failing memory, among many other mental and physical benefits you can check out here.
Do Something Fun!
In my experience, giving ourselves time to have fun during the week makes us better workers. Our minds and bodies crave happiness and joy just as much as they do food and sleep. It’s important to remember that we should allow ourselves time out of work hours to let loose and pursue our own hobbies or interests. When we do this, we are able to work harder when it’s time to do so, because we know that we have our own time later to unwind. There’s a lot to be said about training our brains to expect rewards and how to work to achieve them, though this does take some self discipline. For some of us, letting loose to experience happiness means binging YouTube on the couch for a while, and for others, it’s experiencing a daring hike or taking a spontaneous trip. Hopefully, you feel alive and fulfilled in your work. But if you’re struggling with that, it’s critical to the health of a human being to do things that help you feel alive.
I’m passionate about treating our bodies and mind correctly by practicing consistent healthy habits. When we start with taking care of ourselves, we can then begin to feed back into our work with full energy and thinking power. Whereas these tips do require some work and planning, I think that we are worth the effort. When we are adequately fueled, we have nothing to lose.