You get up in the morning, you stumble around half awake, grab something, anything, and toss it in your bag for lunch. You frantically search for that other shoe while realizing you no longer have time for breakfast, so you leave it until you hit the coffee shop by the office. Now you’re at work, chugging a coffee and sugar laden pastry, hungry & frazzled and it’s barely 9am.
Fast forward to 5pm, you’re on the commute home, still stressed from your day and now the looming question of dinner has taken over. Since you were so frazzled this morning, you neglected to take something out of the freezer, so you decide to grab something to go from the restaurant around the corner and plonk yourself down on the couch an hour later, exhausted. Too tired to think anymore, you “give yourself the night off” only to start the vicious cycle all over again.
But what if you had a weekly plan? A daily road map that pointed you in the right direction, 24-7.
There is power in routine. Sure to some it may seem boring, but it can also being freeing. Freeing? Sticking to a plan is freeing? Well, yes. When you have a plan or a set routine, you free yourself from the stress of the unknown, of the “what’s next?”
Look at how much more efficient something like grocery shopping is if you walk in armed with a list! Better yet, step it up a notch and have a meal plan for the week, before you make your grocery list. Now you have your shopping done (efficiently and quickly) and know exactly what you’ll be cooking and eating for the next 5-7 days. All of that extra brain energy you would have wasted each day answering the ” what’s for dinner?” question is now freed up for other uses.
There are certain activities that happen every day, week, month. Plotting them on a calendar or chart can help you plan ahead and set up an efficient routine. For example, my swim day is every Monday, so part of my weekly plan is to immediately gather and pack my swimming gear when I take the kids up to bed Sunday, before I wind down and settle into my own evening routine. There are many other examples of tasks that you can set in stone on your calendar right now I’m sure. Your weekly bootcamp classes, your laundry, your monthly night out with the girls. Once you have your routine tasks in there, start filling in the advance plans. (vacations, sporting/entertainment events, etc…) The benefit of having your routine on paper, is that you can plot ahead and prepare for any conflicts in advance.
We spent so much time after the new year clearing the physical clutter from your space, now it’s time to clear the mental clutter. Take note of your “routine” next week, and start to plot it on a calendar. See if there is any particular day that is overly stressful, and try to move some tasks around. See if there is anything that routinely slips through the cracks and try to fix that. Then the following week, stick to the new schedule you have made for yourself and see if your mental load seems lightened.
Something else to keep in mind: You eat well, get plenty of sleep, & exercise regularly all week..right? But come Friday at 5pm, all bets are off! The schedule, food plan and general awareness go out the window until Monday morning when that alarm seems even more painful than the week before. Now you’ve tossed away all of the hard work you put in last week and are starting fresh again. Sound familiar?
Try to stick to your routine as much as possible over the weekend. Sure you can sleep in a little one day, or over-indulge during Saturday nights dinner, and that’s okay. Offering yourself a healthy balance of indulgence is okay on the rare occasion. Just remember, your body & your health don’t delineate between weekday routines and weekend routines. Something that you wouldn’t eat during the week because it’s “unhealthy” isn’t any less unhealthy if you eat it on Saturday.
Likewise, if you need 7hrs of sleep on Wednesday, why is 4 hrs of sleep Friday night ok? It’s not! Don’t sabotage your wellness by being a weekend warrior! Your body is an amazing thing, and it actually thrives off of routine. Your body systems prefer a consistent schedule to function in prime condition. Give your body the tools it needs to help you feel great, so you can focus on living your life the way you want.
(note from the author: This article is for general advice only and a diagnosis cannot be given without a consultation with myself. For all inquiries please email firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be taking on a handful of new personal coaching clients over the coming weeks so please feel free to contact me.)
photo credit: Nat Caron
Jenn Pike is the founder of Simplicity Yoga Studio in Kenswirk, ON, a registered holistic nutritionist, yoga and Pilates educator, master personal trainer and medical exercise specialist. She is the television host ofSimplicity Fusion Flow & Living Simpliciously as well as Spokesperson & Brand Ambassador to Genuine Health, Lululemon , Pascoe, Greeniche Naturals and Juice Matters. She is a regular contributor to Rogers Daytime, Georgina Life, CHCH Live, and City TV’s Breakfast Television. Jenn is the author of The Simplicity Project and the accompanying DVD, The Simplicity Project: A Core Revival To Transform Your Body: Yoga, Pilates and Functional Strength Training inspired. Learn more about her work at jennpike.com.
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