The drudgery of the workweek can sometimes leave us feeling drained by the time Friday arrives. Every day of the week is measured by how far away it is from the weekend. Monday. Sigh. I couldn't be further from the weekend. Wednesday. Hump day. I'm halfway there.
We're so focused on surviving the week that we forget to take care of ourselves, which creates a monotonous pattern of sleep, wake, work, repeat. Here's a little something for you to try if you want to mix up the workweek a bit. This is an exercise to help you stay happy and healthy and focused on yourself even when work becomes overwhelming.
Day 1: Eat Breakfast
Sounds simple, right? But how many of us roll out of bed at the last possible second only to rush through the morning routine so we can time our office arrival down to the last second? If we're lucky, we can spare enough time to grab a quick coffee and pastry as we rush to our desk. You know who you are! I know people like you exist because I'm one of them. On the first day of this exercise I'd like you to set your alarm 30 minutes earlier than usual. Give yourself enough time to start your day off slowly. Sit down and eat breakfast at home. This gives you the chance to set your intentions for the week and create the mind space so when you arrive in the office you're not feeling frantic or rushed. And having a full belly means you can hit the ground running as soon as you get to work.
Day 2: Take A Walk Today
Have you had days where you were so consumed by work that you get up to leave at the end of the day and realize you hadn't left your desk all day except to use the restroom? Me too. Our sedentary lifestyles are creating health problems for our population but in order to combat that we have to actively work toward being more mobile every day. So on day two, every time you get up to use the restroom, take a quick walk around the block. It won't take long (unless it's a New York block). Step away from your desk and walk around for 5-10 minutes at least a few times per day. It'll help with circulation and give you a chance to step away from your work long enough to clear your mind. This is especially helpful when you're working on a complex problem.
For bonus points (yeah we're keeping track!), you should take a walk to the market and stock your desk with healthy snacks that you can grab throughout the day. It'll keep you from raiding the vending machine in the afternoon because healthy snacks will maintain your blood sugar levels throughout the day and reduce the chances of hitting that 2pm lull.
Day 3: Drink A Large Glass of Water
Drink a large glass of water before every meal is not just good for keeping hydrated, it may also aid in weight loss. It can help improve digestion and rough, dry skin. This is also a sneak way to make sure you're stepping away often enough during the day to use the restroom multiple times (and ahem...go for a walk)
Day 4: Take A Cold Shower Tonight
Sound weird? It's not. Cold showers will not only give you a jolt, but also improve circulation and focus. If done often it may help boost your immune system and improve your sleep. And we all know that we need a good night of restful sleep in order to wake up feeling refreshed in the morning. Go ahead. Give it a try.
Day 5: Let It Go
If you started this exercise on Monday then day 5 will likely land on a Friday. Congratulations! But don't go storming out of the office in a rush to get to happy hour. This is your opportunity to de-stress and prepare for the weekend ahead. Before you leave the office, set aside 15 minutes to make a list of all the tasks that still need to be completed then leave the notes at work and commit to letting it go over the weekend so you can tackle it with a clear mind on Monday. This means you're giving yourself the opportunity and permission to let go and truly enjoy the weekend without constantly thinking about work.
If anything, changing your routine breaks up your weekly patterns and that's a good way to keep the mind alert. I'd love to hear about your experiences trying this exercise or tips on the exercises you've tried that helped you stay focused and healthy during the workweek.