THE NIGHT BEFORE
Know how much sleep you need. If I get less than six hours, I’m an awful person to be around. Who wants that? I aim to get seven hours a night. You might need more. Or less. You and your body know best.
Eat dinner at home. Usually when I go out with my pals, I tend to overindulge. When I eat at home, I don’t get out of control. Bonus: Saving some money is never a bad thing.
Go on airplane mode and get off your phone. About an hour before bed, I start to power down. I get off all devices and anything that glows (lamps, however, are safe.) This is a great signal to my brain that it’s time to start winding down.
Make breakfast. If you do it the night before, you won’t be rushed in the morning. Oatmeal is fool-proof to make. Grab an empty Talenti container. Fill it with a scoop of dry oats, frozen fruit, shredded coconut, a tablespoon of your favorite jam, and a few shakes of cinnamon. Put it in the fridge and stash it in your bag the next morning. Done.
Put your gym bag near the front door. Again, another time saver for the a.m. Now you won’t have to stumble for socks and your water bottle.
Unwind with a cup of tea. Repeat after me: You are not turning into your grandmother. You are drinking “Nighty Night” tea by Traditional Medicinals. One of the main ingredients is Passionflower. It helps “calm and soothe” your nervous system. The taste is kind of minty with some citrus undertones. Yet another signal that you are letting go of the chaos of the day.
Read a print book in bed. Since you’ve turned off your devices, print is your new friend. It’s great technology and has been around for centuries. The combo of lying horizontally and reading always helps me check out.
Use earplugs. If you share a bed or room with someone who snores, give earplugs a try. Simply roll them between your thumb and index finger, gently pull your ear back, and insert. They will slowly expand, blocking out noisy neighbors.
Drink water with a bit of lemon. The water helps lubricate your body after sleeping. The lemon gets your stomach acids going and aids in bile production. These both help with digestion to get things moving. Try it and see magic. Heads up: I’m no doctor.
Go to the gym. Nothing major; half hour, minimum. Maybe some time on the rower, a run on the treadmill, yoga, or lifting weights. Just enough to get a sweat going. The endorphins you release are your foundation for the day and set you up for success.
Use a Neti pot. Yup, I’m getting kind of goop-y on you. Here was my breaking point: I was popping two allergy pills a day. They were getting me all revved up and anxious. A friend reco’d I give the Neti pot a try. After watching a video and making a few messes I got the hang of it. The way it has opened up my nasal breathing has been epic.
Meditate. It’s the one moment of the day nothing is expected of you. You don’t have to do anything but close your eyes and relax. I do it on the train for 10 minutes. Need some help? I’m a big fan of Headspace.
Write. I have a long commute to and from the office. Sure I could space out and binge something on Netflix. But writing has been such fun.
Walk to work. My train drops me 20 minutes away from my office. It’s a nice walk through suburbia. I get to take in some fantastic trees and breathe fresh air.
Say hi / interact with your co-workers. Some of the folks I work with are awesome. Others … not so much. To build good will I do my best to interact with all my peers on my team. No, I’m not running for president but I do have to spend eight hours with them working towards the same goal. And it doesn’t cost a thing to ask someone how they are doing.
Wear noise-canceling earphones. If you sit at a desk and need to focus, nothing says “Buzz off, can’t you see I’m working here?” like a pair of chunky headphones.
Step away from your computer. Go for a walk. Hit up a bookstore. Maybe even grab a pal for a slice. Whatever you do, make sure you close your laptop and get out of your office. When you come back you will be refreshed and ready to tackle the afternoon.
3:30 slump. Avoid coffee and grab an apple. Slather it with peanut butter. Or get a Chobani. That hit of extra protein will take you to the end of the day.
Not so fast. Take five minutes at the end of your day and preview what’s happening tomorrow. Write down when your meetings are. Still didn’t get feedback on a project? Make a note to follow up with your boss in the a.m. This way, you hit the ground running and things don’t fall in the cracks.