How to Salvage Even the Worst Workday

How to Salvage Even the Worst Workday

Today I didn’t end up having lunch until 6:15 or so in the evening, and when I did, it was from a Taco Bell drive-thru which I’m definitely not proud of. By the time I made the decision to stop off at the first fast food place I could find after leaving work, I had spent close to eight hours in a mad rush from one activity to the other. The entire day was fragmented from start to finish in these barely usable pockets of time, and with meetings one right after the other, and commitments I had made to other people, before I knew it, I was waiting to hop on the bus and I hadn’t even had a single sip of water. Not the healthiest way to spend my workday. My stomach was growling for food, and it wasn’t until I got home, and had a chance to catch my breath (meaning plop on my couch for two hours) that I realized that I had no one to blame but myself for how the day got away from me.

I usually manage most of my workdays fairly well, and from previous experience, I know Mondays tend to be quite hectic, as I tend to hit the ground running, diving into my projects. Mondays are also loaded with meetings, seminars (usually smack in the middle of day), again all of which I know ahead of time. For this reason, I have a system in place to make sure that I can practice some basic self-care on a crazy busy day like today. This post is not about those systems, but about what to do when one fails even with a system in place. I had really good intentions when I started my morning, but once I got to work, I became hyper-focused, which can be a good thing, but not if you are so busy working that you keep putting off something basic like taking a sip of water. I have found that planning ahead really is the key to staving off a day like today, something I completely skipped last night in favor of calling it an early night since I was very tired from playing softball. I also need to listen to my body better and force myself to slow down and take a break even if it’s for 10-15 minutes. In hindsight, I could have made some time to grab a quick bite, had I prioritized doing that instead of making it to one of my meetings right on time (the main presenter showed up 15 minutes late). I also could have not stuck around for the question portion of our weekly seminar, freeing up close to 20 minutes that I could have used to take a short break. In the moment it can be so hard to identify if something absolutely requires your attention (and promptness) or something that you can take a more leisurely attitude towards. I definitely need to learn how to tell the difference better, because I may think that by not taking a break, I am somehow accomplishing more, but only up to a point. One day is probably not too big of a deal, but when it becomes a pattern, or when one doesn’t see how detrimental it can be to burn the candle at both ends, then it’s problematic in more ways than one.

The unintended consequence is that my one really not so great decision to neglect taking care of myself during the workday extended well past the eight hours I was at work. It’s a cascade that continues to trickle down. I didn’t eat, and was so hungry, so I found the first junk food available and ate it. I was feeling pretty lethargic after my meal, so working out was completely out of the question, and now all I’m really in the mood for is to watch Southern Charm on Bravo, and forget about packing a healthy lunch for tomorrow for my husband and I so I’m not stuck in the same situation. The one bright side is that I know that this is not the norm for me, and I’m definitely not ok with not prioritizing my health and well-being during the hours I’m at work. I will just have to do better tomorrow, and hopefully stay away from any XL burritos for the weeks to come.

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