Stuck in a rut is a poor state to be in. With my first university exam period looming and a minimal amount of study being tackled, it’s time to consciously evaluate how I spend my time, and how to feel better at the end of each day.
This guide isn’t about how to study for exams (I hardly even know); it’s about generally optimising productivity without spiralling into exhaustion. It’s about how to use your time to find balance, and look after yourself 🙂
- Rise Early
I don’t mean you should set a blaring alarm for 5am. Simply, don’t sleep in until midday and waste half of your day. I recommend a 7am or 8am start – a time which isn’t too harsh, but still allows you to pack the most into your day.
- Make Breakfast
This isn’t just “eat a biscuit on your way out the door”; spend a few minutes preparing your first meal. Some say it’s the most important one, after all. Make yourself a coffee or tea, or a juice, and drink some water. Allow yourself some time to enjoy your breakfast.
- Dress for the Day
Wear clothes that make you feel good.Wear makeup if it makes you feel good, or don’t wear makeup, if that makes you feel good. Detox day is mostly about feeling good.
This is both a mental and a physical process.
First, clean up. This shouldn’t be a long, boring chore. I don’t necessarily mean the whole house; I usually opt for one room, or even just one space. This is one short step in the process, it’s not supposed to fill your entire day and leave you drained. Once this is done, I like to light candles to invite an ambiance, and circulate a fresh scent.
Next, a mind de-clutter. What’s at the very top of your list of priorities right now? Forget about the rest of that list, and do that thing. When you’ve finished that, do the next thing.
An important point to note is that many things are a process. Studying for the dreaded economics exam is my top priority at the moment, but I can’t allocate a day to study and then stamp it as finished. I can, however, dedicate an hour or two to it today, and understand that I’ve initiated a process which will find completion in dedication.
By the end of this step, I’m always feeling a lot calmer, and less stressed.
This seems like a popular thing to preach, but there’s a good reason for it. Drink plenty of water. There’s no strict amount you should be having, but make an effort to drink lots of water throughout your day.
- Spend Time with Loved Ones
This step can really vary in length, depending on you. For me, this means sending off some messages to my friends who don’t live close anymore, talking to my family, playing with my dogs. A little bit of socialising is often not what I feel like doing, but usually what I really need, and manages to lift my spirits.
- Play Music
For me, this step is integrated into all the others. I listen to music all day long, and on these days I make an effort to listen to music which encourages a good mood.
(You can catch up on my top picks here)
For you this might mean a workout at the gym, a team sport, a walk around the block, or anything in between. Get moving, stretch your muscles and do some exercise.
- Allow Yourself Time to Relax
Give yourself an hour to read book or a magazine. Bake something, have a bath, draw a picture, play some music, or write something. Give yourself a break, and relax.
For me, this always includes a face mask, moisturising every inch of my skin, and a cup of tea. Highly recommended approach.
Early to bed, early to rise. Compensate for this morning’s early rise with an early night. On days like these, I always ensure I wash my sheets and remake my bed, so I can go to bed fresh and clean. Promote a good night’s sleep by minimising the time you spend on your phone or laptop in the hour leading up to bed.
I hope the schedule outlined helps you to a relaxing day which eaves you feeling refreshed and invigorated. It’s obviously not a practical day-to-day routine, but it’s vital you give some time back to yourself every once in a while.
Have a lovely day xx