It’s hard waking up after a weekend of relaxation and enjoyment to the sound of your alarm clock, notifying you that you have to get ready for work. I struggle with this on a weekly basis and find myself slipping deeper and deeper into the sullen state as the days get shorter and the weather gets colder. Throughout the past 2 and a half years of working a full-time office job, there are a few things that I’ve learned work best for me when trying to combat any lethargy or laziness at the prospect of a week full of early mornings and rigid schedules. It’s important to note that the list I’ve compiled below is what I think are the best techniques to survive a work week, but not tips I necessarily always do myself, despite how much I think they work when I do. I think it’s important to find what works best for you and work it into your life organically and with as little stress as possible because we already have a lot of that on a daily basis.
This is the first thing I think about when I get up in the morning because of how desperately I need a boost at 6:30 am. While I’m aware that some people don’t drink coffee for either health or personal reasons, I think the important thing is to find what you like and what gives you energy and have that before you start getting ready for work. That could be tea or hot chocolate, or a glass of milk. It’s all dependent on what gives you that kick in the butt and helps you muster up some energy for the work day ahead. I, like many other people, have developed a dependency on coffee and it’s hard for me to go a day without it. If any of you are on the same boat, I find that taking a reusable cup to work with you is a great way to save money and keep a warm drink with you are your desk for a lot longer than just buying one in a paper cup.
GO FOR A WALK
Taking some time to actually get outside of your office building makes a world of difference to your moral and skin colour. I have to admit that I don’t always take this advice myself because it gets easy to want to stay inside especially during colder days. However, any time I did go outside for a quick walk around the area I always felt ten times better and came back to my desk feeling much more inspired and ready to continue the day. My favourite times of the year to take these walks are early summer and early fall where the weather is not too hot or cold and the sun is still bright enough to enjoy the outdoors. If you’re like me and work in the city then this is also a great time to take some photos around the area—there’s nothing more fun than accidentally stumbling upon a pretty, old building in the middle of a bustling metropolis.
EAT A HEALTHY SNACK
It’s all too easy falling into the trap of snacking on chips or chocolates just to get you through the day. I myself have fallen victim to the temptation, especially around the holidays where it seems like you can’t get away from the abundance of unhealthy food. While a chocolate bar or bag of Doritos might make you feel good while eating it, that feeling definitely won’t last because you will become hungrier as the day progresses and (like me) feel guilty at the fact that you could have picked up something a bit better to snack on. For the most part, office jobs involve some sort of mental stimulation, so there’s nothing worse than fuelling yourself with simple carbs only to lose concentration because you need to snack again in a half hour. On most days I try to bring a fruit with me, but if I need something a bit hardier I’ll keep some peanut butter at my desk and take a few spoonfuls of that just so the protein tides me over until lunch. I also always opt for the full fat options because anything that indicates less fat will typically contain more sugar and that definitely won’t help your appetite.
DRINK MORE WATER
Drinking more water is the main tip you read about in any health articles, and it couldn’t be truer when it comes to surviving a long work day. As mentioned above, I am an avid coffee drinker, so a lot of the time I will opt for a cup of coffee instead of water and the effects of this decision are noticeable. I’m always extremely thirsty and my skin begins to feel dry and depleted. As a way of forcing myself to drink more I keep a tall, reusable metal cup from Starbucks at my desk and fill it up as soon as I get to work. The metal keeps it cold for hours and knowing that I have water on hand encourages me to reach for it more often. I’ve noticed that the more water I drink throughout the day, the more energized I feel so I try my best to drink about 2-3 refills of the cup until I get home. I understand that during cold months, the last thing you want is ice cold water, but this hydration can come in the forms of hot tea or even more fruits and veggies that tend to contain a fair amount of water themselves.
LOOK OUT A WINDOW
When it starts snowing, I know that I’m not going to want to go outside for the aforementioned walks throughout the day. I’m sure I’m not alone in this sentiment, so I’ve started to take a bit of time during the day to look out of the window behind my desk. Not only does this inspire creativity, it also gives you that boost of energy of seeing some sunlight and letting your eyes take a rest from the computer screen. This was my favourite thing to do in university when I would spend hours writing essays—looking out at nature as a way of contrasting the very electronic life I live. While this may not be exactly the same as going outside and breathing in the fresh air, I find that it will give me that tiny reminder that work will be over soon and I’ll have the rest of the day to myself.
What do you do to survive the work week?