In my last post (Honouring Your Beastmode Days – Part I), I talked about how I love days where my schedule is full with clients, my own workouts, self-development and continuing education, working on my business, running errands in between appointments, etc.
A) Because I love what I do;
B) Like most people, I get more accomplished and will not procrastinate (say a workout or a blog post), when I am pressured for time;
C) There’s an adrenaline rush/high that comes when you are highly performing and crossing things off your To Do list.
We all have our own version of beastmode days: you might work 9-5pm and have extra curricular activities (for yourself or your children), a busy household to run, an active social life or volunteer commitments, or you might be a full-time student balancing a part-time job and trying to enjoy your university experience — the possibilities are endless. Safe to say, we have all experienced hectic days where life requires us to wake up and hit the ground running, with little to no breaks all day.
Whether these kinds of days make you anxious or you thrive on them, the caveat of is, of course, burnout. We want to avoid burnout so that we can consistently show up and be the greatest version of ourselves; being of service to the people who need us the most while keeping ourselves happy and healthy.
6 Strategies to Dominate Your Beastmode Days
- Prioritize sleep
The amount and quality of your sleep can make or break your day. If you are hitting the snooze button a few times in the morning and finding yourself falling asleep within five minutes of going to bed at night, you are sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation has been show to cause irritability, sadness, overeating and lower productivity. We do not need that kind of negativity in our lives! Solution: get more quality sleep.
The number of hours required varies from person to person – you probably already know what your magic number is (mine is anywhere between 8-9 hours), and prioritize it. Create a nightly ritual where you get ready for bed at a decent hour, turn off electronics, unwind (read, perhaps); creating a good atmosphere to get your melatonin on. I use a night mask most nights (especially in the summer), to ensure I fall asleep and stay asleep.
- Ground yourself
For me, grounding myself translates into meditating/praying and/or journaling and setting my intentions for the day. If I do not do this first thing in the morning because of an early morning client (and I’m working on #1 – getting more sleep), I will make sure I do this sometime before noon on a break. Sometimes it is long soul sesh at a coffee shop before I do work; or a few minutes in the car, where I listen to a guided meditation and do breath work for five minutes before my next appointment. It is not always perfect or lengthy, but I adapt and it works wonders for my spirit, mindset and productivity.
I also commit to meditating at night. LIFE HACK: Meditating before bed allows you to get away with less sleep. Meditation changes (i.e. slows down) your brain waves from beta state (where your mind spends the majority of its time – being alert and in the “thinking” zone) to alpha state (brain waves slow down and you feel more calm and blissful) to theta (this is used during REM sleep; deep state of relaxation, where you have deeper state of awareness) and maybe even delta state (which is experienced in deep dreamless sleep) (1), (2), (3).
The more you can slow down your brain waves (this comes with practice – you are not going to hit theta or delta state within five minutes of your meditation when you’re a newbie), the deeper the relaxation and more restful you will feel. Doing a meditation prior to bed will slow down your brain waves and prime you for a deeper sleep, hence why you will require less sleep and wake up feeling for rested. Win-win.
- Eat healthy, whole foods
There is no way I could keep high energy and mood levels if I did not eat high quality foods. Eating fruits and vegetables, combined with protein and healthy fats keeps me energized and feeling light. I purposely avoid simple processed carbs (e.g. white bread, cereal, pasta, rice, etc.) especially in the morning and early afternoon to avoid the carb crash. Simple carbs increase your serotonin level, which boosts your mood but also makes you sleepy (hence why it is good to eat them at night to induce a restful sleep). However, this is not ideal when I’m only four hours into my 12-hour workday. Complex carbs (green vegetables, starchy vegetables, whole grains) have a slower-release serotonin effect (3), so I’ll focus on getting my carbs in the form of vegetables.
- Set boundaries
This is where you need to be discerning and realistic. If it is in your power, only commit to the things that are important, necessary and beneficial to you (and your loved ones – e.g. your daughter’s dance recital). This is highly individual – maybe setting boundaries for you means not taking work home from the office, or turning off your phone when you’re spending time with your kids, or not attending every PTA meeting. Saying yes to everything can lead to unnecessary burn out. One of my mantras is, “If it isn’t a hell yes, it is a no.” I have to actually want to pursue something, and will not commit to something just to please someone else.
- Get some movement in
Granted that you are not sick, exercise can empower you mentally, emotionally and physically on your stressful days. Whether you work out first thing in the morning to set you mentally to tackle your day; or on your lunch hour to rejuvenate you for afternoon; or near the end of your day to de-stress, endorphins (the brain’s feel-good chemicals) do not discriminate – you will perceive your day with a better mindset. In addition, if you are getting your endorphins from exercise, you will be less likely to binge eat/stress eat, which can lower your energy and mood (see strategy #3).
Movement can be a fitness class, a hard weight training session, an easy run, a spin class, a long walk, your yoga practice, etc. Whatever you feel called to do and can handle that day, do it.
Most of us need a positive support system where we feel safe and heard to thrive and to simply feel good. Human beings are social creatures; we are meant to feel and want to be connected to one another. A phone call with a friend, FaceTime with a loved one, snuggle time with a pet or a loved one can boost your energy levels and make your stressful day feel manageable and worth pursuing. Surrounding yourself with positive like-minded people who energize you (cut out the energy draining ones, if need be) is an integral component to living a gratifying, purposeful and full life.
Do you like busy days? What strategies help you to stay sane and clearheaded on your stressful days? Comment below!