Weekdays are all about routine…you get up, brush your teeth, go to work, go home, go to bed and it follows that basic pattern. Let’s break the day down and make sure you get the best out of it, don’t just fall into line like a lemming (80’s babies you’ll hopefully understand that computer game reference).
First thing in the morning
- Wake up calmly. Ideally, you would open your eyes to the sounds of nature and the light of the rising sun through half-open blinds. “Daylight signals your biological clock to stop secreting melatonin, a hormone that makes you sleepy,” psychologist James B Maas says. If that’s not possible you could invest in a ‘Wake Up Light Alarm Clock’, which mimicks Sunrise to wake you with light, or a Sleep Sensor to wake you at the optimal point in your sleep cycle.
- Rehydrate. Mornings are busy and hydrating is probably not the top job on your list, but this one is really important. After hours of sleep and not drinking anything, having water when you wake up is essential. Take a glass of water to bed with you, so you can drink it all when you wake up. And if you’re a coffee lover, it’s especially important to drink up beforehand!
- Choose wisely. Your first meal will set the tone for the whole day. If your breakfast consists of a good-size portion of protein (such as a cup of low-fat Greek yoghurt with a 30g serve of chopped almonds), you’ll feel fuller and less likely to overeat for the rest of the day, according to data from the University of Missouri.
1. Scrambled Eggs on Wholegrain or Soy + Linseed Toast (really quick in the microwave. 2 eggs + seasoning in a mug or bowl = done)
2. 1 cup of high protein natural greek yoghurt (e.g. Chobani) + a handful of mixed berries and cinammon
3. Green smoothie with protein powder to give it some substance and fill you up
- Meditate. Look I get it, mornings are frantic, but 10 extra minutes of sleep really doesn’t make you feel any better, so get out of bed and meditate before you leave the house. Meditation is very topical and more and more people practice this everyday. When I went to the doctor about depression 3 years ago they prescribed exercise and meditation, which is exactly what I practiced. An amazing resource is the Headspace app. Headspace is your very own personal trainer, to help you train your mind. Try a free trial of their app.
- Move. “Prolonged sitting is associated with premature death, heart disease and diabetes,” Katie Williams, an accredited exercise physiologist at Exercise & Sports Science Australia, says. “Get up every 30 minutes, place your bin on the other side of the room or stand up when you’re on the phone.” Sitting is the new smoking, as they say.
- Mind your own business. Workplaces are rife with gossip and bad mouthing about this new process or that promotion you missed out on. Negativity spreads like wild fire, don’t be part of it and don’t initiate it. Rise above it, keep your wits about you and hang on to the calm feelings you had at home earlier this morning.
- Don’t eat ‘al desko’. Lunch is best served ‘al fresco’, get out into nature – find a park and eat away from your to-do list. This will boost your performance in the afternoon – you’ll have increased focus and energy.
- Have a nutritious meal. My lunches are pretty much the same as my evening meals – I have protein, carbs and veggies. If I don’t get my veggies in at lunch, then I have no chance of clocking up my 5 serves of fruit & veg a day with breakfast and dinner alone (remember 3 of your 5 serves should be vegetables).
- Pre-plan your dinner. Before you leave work make sure you know what you’re going to eat and either have the ingredients at home or pick them up on the way home. You’re much more likely to make unhealthy choices when you’re hungry, so make sure you have planned ahead and stick to it! Finish the day strong.
- Draw the line. Pick a physical location on your route home or a time period once you’ve walked in the door to stop thinking or talking about work. Tom & I do a quick de-brief when we walk in the door and while we prepare dinner then we don’t talk about it for the rest of the evening. You need to have boundaries and distinguish between your work life and your home life. Don’t be a slave to your job.
Evening + bed time
- Catch up with friends. You should see your friends in the week too, not just on the weekend. Meeting them for dinner is a great way to break up your working week – making sure Monday to Friday doesn’t become groundhog day with everything revolving around your job.
- Exercise!!! I clearly wasn’t to miss this one out. Now I’m a morning exerciser, so fit it in wherever works best with your body clock. Exercising has so many benefits that I could take over this entire post, but I’ll refrain from doing so, instead I’ll say that it rewards you with energy, a healthy body and mind. It helps to relieve stress and anxiety and should be part of your weekly routine 3 – 5 times a week.
- Carbs before bed. If you have had an early dinner and fancy a snack before bed or actually have a late dinner then make sure they include carbs. Have any snacks at least an hour before bed and make them carbohydrate-based – such as wholegrain crackers with a thin spread of peanut butter – to help raise the body’s production of serotonin and prepare the brain for sleep.
- A bedtime routine. For us ladies, our routine will probably involve taking off our make-up. I really enjoy this process, it feels so soothing to wipe away the day with some soft cotton pads and nice smelling lotions & potions. Oh the wonders of being a woman. Go to bed at the same time every evening, I usually start the process of packing my bag for the next day at 10pm, and am in bed by 10:30pm. That will set me up with just over 7 hours of sleep a night, which is just right for me. Most people sleep between 6 and 8 hours per night, and it’s a case of finding what works best for you. Make sleep a priority, your body needs to recover and get ready for another day!
Look after yourself and I hope you have as many great days as possible.
Love yourself, love your body and if you would like some workout ideas you can grab your free copy of my workout guide below.
Would you like a FREE workout guide?
Sign up to receive your download link, and weekly emails with PT + nutrition tips.