1) Sleep was my #1 priority. The magic number of minutes you need to be productive is a 30 minutes. Any less, you will feel MORE tired; any more, you'll end up groggy for hours. No matter how little time I had between work, school and one job interview, I tried to get a nap in. I would hop in some yoga pants, soft tank top, set up the timer on my phone and apologetically take a nap. It's enough time for your brain to rest effectively but not go into a deep sleep where it's hard for your body to bounce back from drowsy-ness. You will pop up out of bed and be good to go for hours. Make sure the room is DARK as possible (wear an eye mask if you have it), get into your most comfortable clothes and indulge in a nap. When I had 4 1/2 hours to sleep, I did the same thing so my body knew what time it was.
|If its a meme, it has to be true|
2) Eat as Healthy as possible. This was easier than it sounds because of my sleeping habits. I wasn't dying of sleepiness so I didn't have to succumb to eating junk food for energy. Instead of going to fast food places near by or eating at restaurants, I looked for grocery stores. A quick wrap, a premade salad with Deli Turkey slices, apples, Broccoli florets, protein shakes and almonds were a constant source of sustenance while I had Munchies at 4 am. If I was eating out of boredom, I made sure I was mindlessly eating healthy food. Whenever someone offered me junk, I said, "No thank you, I don't eat junk food" Instantly so people know I was 100% about business, 100% of the time. You might think about how hard it is to stay healthy is a stressful situation but think of it this way, of all the times you need to be healthy, this is it! In a situation where it is acceptable to fall apart understandably, you need to be stronger than ever. Just like when someone passes away, everyone would understand if you wanted to lay in bed all day and cry but what you really need to do is be strong and take care of your kids/home/spouse or what have you. I found it in myself to really put things in perspective and maintain control when everything felt like it was falling apart.
|These were FREE and available to anyone who wanted them...all of them were "share" size. Why is the world cruel?|
3) Eat as little Carbs as possible. Like I said before, eating healthy is important but the type of healthy food was important to my sugar levels. I refrained from brown rice, the tortilla part of a wrap, and anything remotely starchy. My sugar levels never dipped or sky-rocketed...couple that with good sleep and I was never starving for anything. Did you know that if you're sleepy, your body craves carbs for that immediate sugar high of energy? Well, the vicious cycle is that you come down quickly as well and it starts over again...I wasn't going to let myself be the hamster in that circle.
4) Limit the Caffeine. I know, it sounds sacrilegious but I would only have one source of caffeine in the "morning" (10 pm) and the rest of the time I felt tired, I would either eat or nap. My concept for these shenanigans is that I needed to sleep better than I needed to stay awake. Make sense? When I needed to nap, I really needed to be able to do it at the drop of a hat. And boy did I ever! As soon as my noggin hit that cool pillow, I was out... like a tits in a low cut tank. no wait, not the right expression but you need to understand how imperative it was to get sleep in when I had the time to do it. Otherwise, I would probably be laying in bed wide awake, and end up drooling in class.
5) Work out even a little bit. I didn't have time to go to crossfit but I did have time to workout at home. Some days it was a full WOD other days? maybe 50 air squats. Was it beneficial? I don't know. Maybe. But the fact is, I didn't want to lose the habit. Maintaining that habit will help you through a myriad of problems. It lets your brain and body know that you're NOT going to let a schedule change affect your workout habits. Even with all the VALID excuses I had, they were still excuses and I didn't want it to roll into an avalanche of excuses over time. The benefit was that I got better sleep, more energy, and I even felt the nice sting of soreness which is an excellent reminder of accomplishment.
6) Be Nice! When I had the chance to be kind, I was. It wasn't just a stressful time for me but for everyone I worked with and everyone had their own demons to battle while they were exhausted and frustrated. If I could offer some comic relief, I would try to be chipper and crack a few jokes to break the tension. This also helped out when I needed to leave early to go to class or people would cut me a break when I needed to come in a few minutes late. At home, my wonderful BF made sure to make me meals when he was around or take care of my dog when I was running around switching my out of work clothes, yoga pants back into regular clothes twice a day. He also had my apartment cleaned up, stocked the fridge and kept the dog quiet while I napped. I'm not sure if it was because I didn't bitch about every single miserable moment of my day but I'm sure it helped. He's also just kind of amazing all on his own...so there's that. Regardless of how you're feeling, you're not going to get ahead by being an A$$hole. That I know for sure.
7) Being Grateful. When you feel like you never have enough time, food or sleep, it's easy to forget all your blessings. When things were getting out of control, I took about 5-10 mins to think about all the good things I had going on. I was getting paid GOOD money to go to work. I had the finances and opportunity to buy and eat healthy food. I had a nice comfortable bed to sleep in when I needed it. My car got me to and from work quickly and efficiently. My professors were really funny and made me enjoy the class (even Organic Chemistry...someone give that guy a medal). My boyfriend was extremely supportive and all around incredible. It made everything else seem insignificant and lightened my mood which in turn made all of these rules a lot more manageable.
Now it's all over, I think I broke a personal sleep record of 12 hours and I haven't gained a single pound! Matter of fact, I think I can see more of my abs and lost the fat above my belly button. I would take a picture but I'm stinking tired and I still have that lunch date with Sinbad.......