Getting stuck in a rut is somewhere nobody wants to be. Whether it's a workout rut, mental rut, or an I-haven’t-done-laundry-for-three-weeks rut, it sucks the life out of you and seriously drains motivation. One of the best ways I rescue myself from a rut is by having a consistent night routine that relaxes, rejuvenates, and resets me for the next day. This way I wake up prepared and excited to tackle my to-do list instead of hitting snooze 10 times (three is acceptable, though).
I know many of us are guilty of coming home from a busy day and sitting on the couch for an hour straight scrolling through our social feeds (and it’s not just millennials, *cough cough* mom and dad). Collapsing on your couch with your phone, you convince yourself this is what “relaxing after work” is, right? Wrong! In reality this habit is the exact opposite; there is nothing relaxing about scrolling through Instagram thinking about all of the places we aren’t or followers we don’t have or bodies that aren’t like ours. So put down your phone and change it up!
Here are some tips to help relinquish the stressors you are faced with every day. Pick one— or do them all in a routine— and you’ll be sure to sleep easier and look forward to the days ahead instead of fretting them.
Start winding down around 7:30pm. “Take off the day” as soon as you are able to once you get home. Whether that’s right after work, or after first attending to hungry children and spouses, taking off the day will signal your body that it is time to move on from the triumphs and defeats from this one and prepare for the next. I do this by changing into comfy clothes, washing my face, and making some hot tea. Which brings me to my next point...
I know it seems tempting to dive into a bag of chips or scour the fridge before Game of Thrones, but your gut will thank you in the morning if you hold off on those late-night binges and choose to soothe your stomach instead of stuffing it. As mentioned in tip No. 1, I do this by making hot tea to not only feel instantly calmer, but to stave off that boredom hunger that comes creeping up at night. If you do decide that there is no way you’re going to bed without a nighttime snack, opt for something with substance and little to no sugar. Try high-fiber cereal with almond milk or a slice of whole-grain toast with your favorite nut butter and bananas.
So many of us often choose to put everyone else’s needs in front of our own; and although this is a very admirable trait, it can lead to mental frustration and personal neglect. Showing some self-love in the evenings is not only a great way to pamper and refresh yourself after a long day, but it’s crucial for not blowing up at the barista the next morning for forgetting to add coconut milk instead of skim to your coffee dammit! So get your Zen on in whichever form that may be (bubble baths, books, meditation) and feel that stress melt away.
Having a plan of action (literally) for the next day will not only get you on the #NeverMissAMonday or #WorkoutWednesday train, but it will help you get moving easier and more effectively. So lay out your workout clothes and commit to that early bird bootcamp, or throw them in a duffel bag with a protein bar and make that hot yoga class straight after work. (Helpful Hint: Gym41 has classes to fit busy schedules, and if we don’t fit yours, schedule a 1-on-1 or small group training session with us to guarantee you’ll scorch some calories in just 50 minutes! Check it out here: http://www.gym41.com/bootcamp-times---prices.html
Writing a couple small lists at night will help you make sense of all of the thoughts running through your head after busy days. First, make a to-do list of the things you need to accomplish tomorrow, putting the most important at the top. Then, take a moment to write down 5 things you’re grateful for. After seeing a likely stress-inducing to-do list, your grateful list will bring you back down to earth and refocus your energy on the positive in your life. Finally, set a couple short and long-term health goals that you want to reach. It could be as simple as committing to packing your lunch more this week, or as great as finally signing up for that half marathon you keep telling yourself you’ll run one day.
Forcing yourself to power through one more episode of Scandal or scrolling Facebook at midnight will only make you irritable and exhausted by the time morning rolls around, so listen to your body and power down around 9:30 or 10:00pm. Trust me, there is nothing you’re missing that you can’t catch up on the next day, and you definitely can’t catch up on sleep while you’re in that afternoon meeting! Ben Franklin said it best, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Health, Wealth, and Wisdom, Ben? I’ll sleep to that!
Be on the lookout for my next IFM post and leave a comment below on what you’d like to see me talk about next! Workout playlists, anyone?