I have too much to do and not enough time to do it! A common feeling everybody has had, myself included. If only you could wake up each day energized, motivated and focused to tackle the day. Then you could conquer your to do list with some “me time” left over. Well, you can, and I’m going to help you get started.
I have outlined four lifestyle hacks below that can help you achieve this. Not ready to commit to all four? No problem. Starting with just one can provide a noticeable change to your day.
- Get Sufficient, Quality Sleep
Your ability to take on the day starts with how you slept last night. The research is clear on this, the average adult needs 7 hours or more of sleep each night. Anything less and you aren’t operating as efficiently as you could be. Your brain needs this time to fully repair from the day. We’ve all experienced the side effects of low energy and brain fog from a poor night’s sleep. Did you know shorting yourself on sleep is associated with an increased risk for anxiety and depression? Prioritize your sleep to improve your energy, mood, and focus. A regular sleeping schedule, relaxing bedtime routine, avoiding screen time while in bed, and exercise are keys to quality sleep.
- Practice Stress Management At Times Of Low Stress
Stress happens. The key is how you respond to a stressful situation and not letting one event derail your whole day. Practicing stress management before stress arrives does two things. One, it keeps your stress levels low so that when a stressful event occurs, you are able to respond to it and move on with your day. Two, should your stress reach an overwhelming level, you have a tried and true approach to help you cope. To get started, schedule three five-minute stress management sessions per week. This might include breathing exercises, journaling, meditation, prayer, yoga, or simply taking a walk around the block.
- Eat Well
We often think poor nutrition only affects our waistline or risk for heart disease. The reality is that the foods you eat also affect your mental health in a big way. Foods fuel your brain. Eating a diet high in processed foods is associated with a 25-30% increased risk for depression. This is because these foods affect neurotransmitters and hormones related to your energy level, mood and general brain health. To get started avoid skipping meals and choose whole food meals with lean protein, a variety of veggies and healthy fat. Get some meal-prepping ideas here.
- Stay Active
Similar to eating well, maintaining a regular exercise program is just as important for your brain as it is your heart. Exercise releases “feel good” hormones, is a healthy outlet for stress, promotes social interaction, and you get a little extra of the mood-enhancing sunshine vitamin if you exercise outside. If you are not regularly exercising, start small with three 15-minute walking breaks over your lunch hour. Consider scheduling this time so it’s blocked in your calendar (seeing it in your calendar also serves as a reminder to exercise) and invite a friend for a little extra accountability.
That’s it. If you want to setup each day to be as successful as possible, kick it off with a good night’s sleep, practice stress management, eat well and stay active. In the comments below let us know other hacks you do to get the most out of your day.