A good friend recently told me, “Helen, you need to set sleep goals… and chase them down.”
Look, we all have those times in our lives, in our year, where the going gets tough, the stress piles on and it’s everything you can do to put one foot in front of the other.
Me last week.
I tried my very first jury trial last week. Both the week leading up to the trial and the week of the trial were pretty crazy. Hence, why you haven’t heard from me in a while.
We’re talking non-stop. Straight adrenaline. Pretty much living, breathing, eating, sleeping trial prep. You don’t have to be a lawyer to understand – we all experience days and weeks like this for various work and un-work-related reasons. You get it.
These are the times when the three most important things: sleep, nutrition and exercise, go by the wayside. But these are the times when sleep, nutrition and exercise, are truly the most important things.
During stressful times, don’t let the three most important things go. Make them a priority.
The past several weeks, I was determined, for the sake of the trial, the sake of this blog, to keep sleep, nutrition, and exercise alive and well.
I did it.
Okay, it was hard.
Wish I could write a long post about sleep, nutrition and exercise, with a header and a to-do list for each one. But it would be just a blog post. Not reality.
When under stress (and even when not) most of us just do the best we can with what we are handed each day.
And you know what?! THAT IS OKAY!
Do the best you can! But don’t cut your health short.
During stressful times, if you can squeeze in seven hours of sleep, you’re on the right track.
If you can get seven hours of sleep and log a 30-minute workout. Even better.
If you can get seven hours of sleep, log a 30-minute workout and pack your lunch with something you made in your kitchen. You’re crushing it.
If you can get sleep, exercise and cook enough dinner on Sunday night to last you through the week, so you don’t have to deal with it when you come home starving two hours later than planned… you’re a rock star.
If you feel like you can’t do any of these things, think again. You can. Sleep, nutrition, exercise. Do the best you can, but make it a priority.
I did the sleep and the workout every day of the trial. That was crucial. On the last day, the morning of my closing argument, I woke up exhausted. I knew I’d benefit from 30 more minutes of sleep. But I also knew if I didn’t get out there and sweat for at least 30 minutes, I’d be a nervous wreck in the courtroom come 9 a.m.
So, I threw off the covers, laced up my shoes and ran.
I did not pack a lunch with something I made in my kitchen. We ate sandwiches from Great Harvest pretty much every day. But hey, it wasn’t Hardee’s. I did make myself cook enough dinner Monday night to have leftovers Tuesday night – a crucial move.
Bottom line, there is no rhyme or reason to getting through stressful times. Main thing is to listen to and take care of your body.
And, if you must have a few takeaways:
- Make sleep a priority. Or as my friend says, set sleep goals and chase them down.
- Plan your meals ahead. If you can make enough to last you a few days, you’ll thank yourself when you come through the door late, tired and hangry.
- Sweat. Make time to exercise. Even if just 20 to 30 minutes. You know it helps. Just do it.
And when you get through the thick of it. When the craziness and the stress die down. That’s when you rest. That’s when you sleep that good sleep.
In the meantime, do the best you can. Work hard, hustle through it. But take care of you. And keep the three most important things, the most important things.
See you out there.