Are you feeling stressed out, tired, running on empty and barely hanging on? You are not alone. Many people; business owners and leaders in particular, felt this way even BEFORE the pandemic. What last bit of rope they were hanging onto feels like threads right now.
Work, running a business or managing one, along with family responsibilities can demand a lot from us. We may wake up feeling refreshed, but for many, by midafternoon we hit a wall and sometimes don’t ever feel like we recover. Does this describe you?
Pandemic or not, it does not have to be like this. But it does require intention, planning, executing and managing yourself if you want to break out of this stress-fatigue-burnout cycle. You can learn to be healthier at work and at home!
You have to be ready – ready to say “it doesn’t have to be like this” and ready to break out of the stories you tell yourself that sound like “this is just the way it is”. NOOOOOOOOOO more of those stories. That is the best first step. Let’s start speaking truth to yourself which may sound something like this. “It is true in the past I have not been intentional about managing me well; my diet, exercise or how I replenish. I will begin to learn how to do that differently so I can feel better and enjoy my life again.”
When you tell yourself THAT story over and over you may begin to notice from that one step alone, that you feel lighter and more in control.
Secondarily, we are all affected by our environment, so if you are working from home, you may need to shift a few things including how you navigate your schedule to creatively fit in the things that will help you feel healthier and begin to LIVE WELL.
Create a Master Schedule- Include things in your schedule like travel times, break times for snacks and replenishing energy, and when you will engage in some kind of fitness. Fitness or FAAT as I like to call it ( Fun Activity Appointment Time) can be in 15 minute increments. In fact moving your body several times a day can be incredibly beneficial to increase blood flow and help you have a better thinking and more creative brain!
Meal Plan and Meal Prep 1-2times a week. Keep healthy snacks like trail mix, yogurts, carrots, apples, berries, hummus and crackers available to you and nearby. Take short breaks more often to eat so you can keep your energy sustained.
Take some OM time which just means interweave 5 minute breaks throughout your day to pause, deep breathe, strike a yoga pose, pray or meditate. Any of these activities serve to slow us down, access our parasympathetic nervous system which then means we are not racing around with adrenalin and cortisol – stress hormones- careening through our bodies. We are not meant to be in a state of stress all day. We can increase cognitive function, more creatively solve problems, and experience more joy and less irritability when we practice pausing to breathe and de-stress.
Healthy Food is the Food to Run On. Begin to notice what foods you eat that make you feel sluggish within about 30 -60 minutes of eating them. Then begin to replace one unhealthy food choice each week, with a healthier option and notice how you feel. Keeping a tracker is one way to monitor this and provide proof over time of how the healthier meals and snacks are affecting your energy levels.
Set Some Good Boundaries especially if you are working from home. Set aside a place in your home if at all possible that is just for work- transform another room (even if small) and do not work from the kitchen table. This will provide a clear message to others when you are “at work” vs. “at home.” It is much more challenging to work undisturbed if you are planted in the middle of the main traffic area of the family. Let family members know when your work hours are and stick to that schedule which will train others of your availability. I recently suggested this to a client who was working from his kitchen table. His job requires a high level of concentration which was impossible to accomplish from the kitchen table. Now he has transformed a workspace with a door and he can focus on work when it is work time. Productivity is up and stress is way down.
Managing you- your time, energy, food, and fitness takes some effort. However, if you tackle one of these at a time, reach out for support to make these shifts new habits that stick, and remain conscious of the fact that it takes intention, planning and execution to manage yourself effectively, you can not only survive, but thrive in these challenging times.