Sometime life decides to happen all at once.
You have 2 meetings rescheduled onto the same day, a dentist appointment, a deadline to hit and a work pile that seems to have reproductive capabilities.
What are you to do? Skimp on sleep to get ahead for the next day? Try and squeeze in a workout for “stress relief” even if you can barely find the time? Here is my strategy when life takes over for a week and you have to adapt your routine:
- Prioritize sleep. We often get our order of importance wrong with health. If you have to go without food for a day, you’ll survive (or even 3). If you skip one night of sleep, you’ll have a whole host of negative side effects including being hungrier, compromising your immune system, increasing cortisol, decreasing cognitive performance and impairing your memory(1). Yikes. So prioritize sleep, even over a workout.
- Eat well. Since you’re stressed, you body will want you to reach for unhealthy foods to temporarily provide comfort, but not fullness or the nutrients you need to perform optimally. If you’re super busy, you don’t have time to eat a bunch of snacks. Instead, fill up on healthy meals with fiber, protein and healthy fats to keep you fueled and focused.
- Move. If you have time for a super quick workout, go for it. But if the week if that packed, just try to sneak in as many steps as you can over the whole day. Odds are you may be too stressed or sleep-deprived to get all the benefits of your workout so just be as active as you can with steps instead.
- Outsource. If something is going to tip your over the edge and make you pull your hair out (like cooking dinner or doing laundry) that week, outsource it. Ask your loving significant other or roommate if they wouldn’t mind cooking dinner for you. Use a service like Postmates to bring you a meal. This may not be a habit you want to budget towards all the time, but a few times a month might be totally worth it. (Or go through a drive through that you know has healthy options like Panera or Chic-fil-A.)
- Make a List. Do take the time to outline your most important tasks that you have to get done that day. If there is something you could do, but it could also be done tomorrow and its 1 A.M. put it first on your to-do list for tomorrow and go to sleep.
- Schedule a massage, bath, yoga class or something self-care related for when the storm has calmed. Knowing that you have something relaxing to look forward to once things have settled, may help give you some peace of mind that relaxation is in the near future.
Have you had a week from you know where? How did you survive? Let me know your strategies in the comments below!