Whilst you’re still in holiday mode after a long, hot summer, wouldn’t this be a good time to take stock of your life and decide what could be changed to support a healthier lifestyle? Assessing your life is far easier whilst you’re relaxed so let’s look at 5 key points that could help you.
- Where does all your time go? Keep a diary for a few days, noting down the time you naturally wake up, whether you get up straight away, where you take extra time that could be harvested – like staying late at work. What tasks take longer than they should? Do you get your priorities in order and stick to them? Are you doing things that other people should be doing; what can you say ‘No’ to? When you stop and add up all the extra 15-30 minutes you take as an indulgence, think about how you could use that time more effectively if you added them all together, like getting home earlier and cooking yourself a healthy meal, or going for a run before dinner.
- Do you write a to-do list? Is it realistic or overly long; are you overloading yourself? If you set clear priorities or intention at the start of the day, you can be clear what you need to get done by the end of it. Make sure that your prioritized list contains your health goals as well as the things you really need to get done. Then imagine you have 20% less time and slash any items that you know can wait. Lastly, don’t over-commit – you don’t have to say ‘Yes’ to everything that’s asked of you.
- Cut yourself some slack; be kind to yourself instead of trying to achieve the crest of perfection all of the time. Just focus on getting things done, one at a time, so that you get to relax more often. Create rhythm in your life by knowing how long to work for and when you need to relax or switch off. Stick to that knowing and avoid being thrown off track by getting sucked into the drama.
- Get to bed earlier. If you want to get more out of your day, you need to be properly rested. You would be surprised how much time stressed people waste by running around in circles feeling like they are busy but not being effective – more sleep = less stress and better ability to cope. The extra time you save in the day can be put towards your sleep time. And finally on this point, when you first feel tired in the evening and begin yawning – that’s when your body is saying it wants to sleep. Do not penalize your body by refusing to rest just because you feel the need to ‘treat’ your mind to a film or other type of distraction instead of going to bed. A few early nights will soon show you what your body prefers.
- Get up earlier. Firstly, not having to set your alarm means your body can wake at a time that feels natural without breaking into a sleep cycle; this alone will get you off to a better start. Secondly, the morning is a great time to get things done, before the interruptions begin and jobs begin to pile up. Start the day by getting a few things out of the way and you’ll have a wave to ride.
De-fragmenting your life and stream-lining it into fewer categories makes it easier to manage and you’ll be more able to give your long term health the priority it needs. That factor alone takes a lot of stress out of life and leaves you more able to enjoy it.