Let’s face it: Most of our daily routines are completely out of whack right now. We are used to leaving the house for work on a regular basis, getting the kids ready, packing lunches, stopping for groceries and running errands on the way home, hanging out with friends and family on weekends. Having all this routine interrupted so significantly is something most of us have never experienced in our lifetimes. It’s no wonder it has left many of us feeling scattered, stressed, and in a general state of not knowing what to do next. And what do so many of us do when we’re stressed or stuck? We open the fridge! We crack open a bag of chips! We pour a glass of wine!
It adds up to a lot of potential health problems, not the least of which is guaranteed weight gain.
So how can we get this under control? How can we add some routine back into our lives to reduce stress and increase productivity & a sense of well-being, to prevent ourselves from forming unhealthy habits like “boredom snacking”?
We’ve put together a list of helpful ways to structure your day in these uncertain times, which will not only help with your productivity and state of mind, but prevent you from gaining those unwanted pounds:
Start The Day Off Right
Morning routines have two jobs: to signal to your brain that it’s work time, not goofing off time, and to give you time to gather your thoughts before you plunge in to the day’s tasks. Here are some ways to accomplish both:
- Wake up on time – If you have to set an alarm, do it. Give yourself time to complete all your morning tasks before sitting down to work or home-school.
- Fasted Cardio – Hey guess what? Working from home DOES have one added perk – it eliminates your commute time, which leaves more time to get in that much-needed fat-burning fasted cardio. Schedule a start and end time to make sure you don’t cut it short.
- Breakfast – Be sure to take some time to prepare a healthy breakfast. If you start your day without a good, protein-rich breakfast, you’ll be much more likely to snack and overeat later in the day.
- Ruminate – Take 10 minutes with your morning coffee or tea and write out your plan for the day. Separate your tasks into Work vs. Home. Make a short list of tasks you’d like to complete today for both. You can re-visit this list throughout the day to check your progress and keep you busy when you have a ‘What Now?’ moment.
- Shower & Dress – The way we present outwardly affects how we approach the day. You don’t need to put on a suit, but don’t wear yoga pants either. When the work day is over, change your clothes and your brain will switch to ‘off-work mode’.
Stick To A Schedule
Take that short list of Work vs. Home tasks you created this morning and slot them into times you can realistically complete them.
Note: Household tasks such as throwing in a load of laundry or emptying the dishwasher are great ways to get you away from your computer screen if you’re working from home. Schedule them! At 10:30, take 5 minutes to pop in the laundry. Not only will this help you with overall productivity, it will rest your eyes and spine by getting you out of your chair.
Take a proper lunch break. If you’re working from home, do this away from the computer! Dealing with kids at home too? Get them involved in making lunch with you, and sit to eat together as a family, for a welcome reprieve from screen time for all.
End the work day at a predetermined time. (It helps to schedule something right after work, whether it’s a video call with a friend or family member, meal prep, or an activity with the kids.) Change into your comfy clothes or better yet, your workout clothes, and go for a quick stroll around the neighbourhood to get your brain switching gears. If you have kids or a dog, drag them along too.
Helpful trick if you have kids at home: Place a chalkboard or whiteboard outside your office door or in a central location. Instead of interrupting you, have the kids write down what they want to talk to you about. This prevents them from having to remember what was on their minds, and you can set aside time in your schedule to address it later.
Curb Cravings with Healthier Snack Options
Even with the best laid plans and purest intentions, we all sometimes fall victim to snack cravings. That’s why it’s important to make the healthier choices whenever possible. Plain popcorn, vegetables with hummus, or an apple with natural nut butter are quick and easy items to keep you satisfied in the evenings. But if these aren’t doing the trick, keep an eye on our blog for some decadent snacking options that you can eat and still stay on track! This week’s recipe for Protein Cake (yes, CAKE!) can be found here.
Above all, remember: You are only human. We are all navigating uncharted waters in today’s circumstances, and mistakes are bound to happen. But if you start creating a routine and begin to follow it, little by little, you will regain your sense of normalcy and keep yourself healthy – body and mind.