Sunday, 11 March 2018

Sunday Steps to Simplify Your Week

Sunday Steps to Simplify Your Week

Everyone wants to start off on the right foot on Monday morning.  When you get off to a stressful start, it can often impact on the rest of the week and make you feel like you don't have control of your life.  Instead of spending a Sunday night running around like a headless chicken getting your life in some semblance of order for the coming work week, these are a few easy steps you can follow, at your leisure, to help ease you in gently...  

Meal Planning
I'm lucky in the sense that my husband tends to plan meals a full week in advance.  We shop on a Saturday morning and pick up all the ingredients we need for 7 days. Although this is completely Les' thing, it really can take the stress of those last minute trips to the supermarket and the sinking feeling of getting home after a long day at the office and wondering if you can pull together a hearty meal with an out of date packet of fajita mix and a bag of green beans*. 

Organise Your Bag
This might be your handbag, gym bag, or whatever other bag you need for weekly activities.  I keep my gym bag, packed, in the back of my car. Incidentally, it's been there for the past 4 weeks, but that's a whole other story.  Anyway, what I do find annoying as hell during the week is not having the stuff I need in my handbag.  I also seem to pick up every single piece of rubbish in the world during the week and keep it there.  On a Sunday, I like to empty it out and start again.  That way, I know I have the important stuff.  Like painkillers.  And my purse, obviously.  This saves me a bit of time, raking through old receipts, earrings, tampons (there's always one, isn't there?), loose change and, on occasion, sachets of tomato ketchup that my husband has appropriated and then randomly thrown in there. 

Now, I know that lots of people own (and use) an iron.  I have one, but having just made it through my second full year of not using it, I'm damn sure not gonna ruin that record by looking smooth and crease free. I just think life's too short and I make no apologies for that. So, while I'm hanging up dresses, matching cardigans and shoes for the week ahead, I understand that some of you will also have to iron all this stuff (probably not the shoes though...). I don't have time to work out what I'm going to wear in the morning, so I have everything lined in my wardrobe (including scarves) the night before.  More often than not, I can do it for the full week at one time. This means I never have to worry about grabbing items of clothing and then making to work, only to realise that I have two different shoes on and nothing matches. 

Breakfast and Lunch
Yes, I know that lots of people actually eat in their homes before they leave for work, but I am not one of those people. I eat breakfast bars and I eat them at my desk.  Every. Single. Day.  I also take lunch with me to work and this usually consists of a packet of cous cous or a Mug Shot noodle soup type thing.  I put a full box of breakfast bars in my handbag on a Sunday night and grab enough packets of food for lunches.  I then dump them all in my desk drawer on a Monday morning and that's me organised for the week. I keep a jar of coffee in the office at all times and just replace it when needed.  I find this works much better than having to do something each morning.  I'm just not sharp enough for that, I'm afraid.  Also - having everything in place on a Monday stops me popping to the Spar next door to my office and buying crisps.   

How do you set yourself up for the week?

Suz x

* No, you can't. 

Sunday, 4 March 2018

How To Become a Morning Person

How To Become a Morning Person
An actual photo of me first thing in the morning.

'I hate mornings.  I always have.  I have never been one of those people who could get out of bed for the joy of simply starting another day...' 

If I had my way, my days would start around 10am, but being worker, I find my employment really gets in the way of this.  Also: at weekends, my husband gets in the way because he likes to vacuum at 8:30am on a Saturday.  I'm not the best at sleeping without the aid of sedatives these days but, even when this wasn't the case, I wasn't any more of a morning person than I am now  

'It's not that I'm groggy or anything; I just really, really don't want to get up...'

I've tried so many suggestions to change this over the years and some have actually stuck.  This is my gentle guide to becoming a morning person... 

Easy Does It
Whenever I read advice on how to make me a fabulous morning person, it usually involves springing out of bed hours before you need to be anywhere and taking it easy.  I'm not wired this way.  I will NOT leave my bed at 7am to skip round a field of fresh flowers to clear my head and count my blessings, or whatever.  What I *will* do is get up 5 minutes earlier over the course of a few weeks because,'s much easier to deal with.  

All that's needed here is literally 5 minutes each morning - even each week if you're really, really not good in the morning.  Obviously, you have to stop getting up earlier at  some point or you'll end up not going to bed at all after a few months, but it all depends on how much time you think you need to build up. I'd like to be able to sit and read the news with a cup of coffee of a morning, so I need about 20 minutes extra each day.  Doing this in one swift movement won't happen, but in four relatively painless ones, I can just about manage.  

Be Prepared
I hate nothing more than opening my eyes in the morning and then immediately rolling them at the thought of everything I have to do before I leave the house.  Instead of this making me get up, it has the complete opposite effect of making me want to stay in bed longer.  In order to stop this, I get as much as I can prepared the night before.  To be honest, if I could shower, dress and then sleep in my clothes, I would.  But, I can't, so I do everything else apart from this.  

I grab breakfast and lunch and stuff it in my handbag, I put out what I'm going to wear (including shoes, because they're rarely ever where I think they'll be), download whatever true crime podcast I'm going to listen to on my way to work, fill the coffee machine with water and put my pods out on the counter.  This way, when I wake, I know I'm fairly organised and not rolling my eyes wondering if I really need my job.  

Just so we're clear - I don't do this.  I'd like to, but I don't.  It does seem like such a gentle way to bring yourself round and is certainly far better than my method, which is leaping out of bed at the last minute and flying around the house.  I have been meaning to try it for ages and have even gone as far as looking for gentle exercises on YouTube and downloading a podcast.  

In order to get into some kind of pattern with it, I have to try it on my days off and then build up to doing it before work.  At least then, I'll have an idea of what I'm doing and it shouldn't (*shouldn't*) be stressful. 

Have a Day Plan
Obviously, it's impossible to plan your day out without something going awry (or is this just me?), but having a basic structure to your day can help you feel a bit more willing to get out of bed.  We all know how it feels to get up when your day seems overwhelming, so having a wee plan can help to combat this and make everything feel a bit easier to deal with. Even if this is a short to do list, or just an idea of anything you need to deal with at work, feeling organised can cut your stress in half.  

What I must point out at this point is NOT doing the tasks you set yourself for Monday will only make it harder to get up Tuesday.  Don't overload yourself, obviously, but it's amazing the boost you can get when you tick something off your list and clear it from your frazzled brain.  

Are you a morning person, or do you need as much support as I do??

Suzanne x