Feeling yourself on edge at work on a regular basis? Finding yourself wondering, “why can’t I seem to snap out of it?”
The answer may not be as complicated as you think. In fact, it may have to do with how your evenings end, and your mornings begin! More often than not, our evening routine can set the thermostat for the temperature the next day.
Let me paint a picture for you….
It’s 10:00PM and you finally sit down to eat dinner – a high calorie, fat-laden “gourmet” frozen meal, washed down in 10 minutes with a couple of beers and a King Size Snickers bar.
By now, it’s 10:15PM and your spouse is wanting to spend time connecting but, being totally overwhelmed at work and wanting to squeeze every second out of the remainder of the evening, you jump back onto your computer to answer a few emails - one of which sends your temper flaring, your heart rate soaring and your stomach twisting. You slam your laptop shut and hop into bed, hoping for a good night’s sleep. However, your brain can’t shut off and you toss and turn most of the night because those beers didn’t sit very well with that frozen dinner. Nor with that email Mr Co-Worker sent to you at 10:05PM.
Fast forward a few hours. It’s 5:45AM and you’ve finally hit REM sleep. Before you know it, the dreaded alarm goes off. You hit snooze. Four times. When you finally get one eye open to see the time, you leap out of bed, frantic because you overslept by 45 minutes. Forget a shower, a quick sink bath will have to do. You then rush over to your closet to get dressed. Only, half of your wardrobe is in a heap on the floor, and the remaining items on hangers are wrinkly, unorganized and don’t fit. You can already feel the panic rising up in your throat. So you grab whatever you can find, quickly dress and rush into the kitchen to grab a bite to eat but realize that there is no time for breakfast. So you open the pantry (which is a disaster) and you take hold of whatever you can find - a can of tuna and some chips - toss it in your bag, and off you go.
When you arrive at work, you feel cranky, tired, “hangry” and you look totally disheveled. Within ten minutes of sitting down at your desk, you are already snapping at co-workers and feeling totally defeated…. And it is only 9:05AM.
If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. Millions of Americans battle this every single day. But, there is hope!
If you take a closer look, you can see the pattern in this story that I have painted for you. A few simple tweaks could really make a huge impact on your day.
So let’s see what things would look like with a few adjustments.
It’s 8:30PM and you sit down to eat dinner – one that is full of nutrients; a salad loaded with fresh veggies, some fish and one glass of wine - eaten slowly and not in a rush. By now, it’s 9:00PM and you decide – even though things at work are crazy and you could totally put some more time in fighting fires, you need to unwire and get some fresh air. So you go for a walk around the block with your spouse. After all, you don’t get much time in the day to connect otherwise, and having the time to talk about what’s on your mind helps you both to feel much more connected - and helps you to clear your head as well.
It’s now 9:30PM, you take a nice hot shower and get in bed to read a book for a few minutes before drifting off into a deep, peaceful sleep.
At 6:00AM, your alarm goes off and no need to hit snooze! You wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day. After your morning shower, you walk into your closet and easily pick out what you want to wear because everything is in order. You then sit down for a nutritious breakfast and head off to work, arriving on time and ready to tackle the day.
Do you see where some simple changes can make a really BIG difference? Ready to give it a shot? Try this exercise: Over the next week, pay extra close attention to what your evenings REALLY look like and how your early morning goes. This is not a time for you to judge yourself, but to just observe. Then, try making one small adjustment. Maybe it is choosing to eat dinner a little bit earlier, forgoing the King Size candy bar for some dark chocolate, or drinking 1 beer instead of 3. Or how about taking an hour or two over the weekend to clean out your closet and do a little bit of organizing? You can even lay out your clothes for work the night before.
You’ll quickly find that taking some small steps towards positive change will in fact lead to some pretty quick results AND a greater sense confidence that you CAN do this! After all, you don’t scale a mountain in one giant leap. You scale a mountain one step at a time.