If you’re anything like me, you’re sitting there, looking at a long list of to-do’s, feeling like summer really ended fast. We’re in week 2 of school for most of MN, but it already feels like October! This cooler weather, along with the back-to-school schedule, has me really feeling the need to check off my list. I know I can’t make more hours in a day, so I have been looking for some tricks to get the most out of each hour that I’ve got!

Here is a list of tips and tricks to getting the most out of your day, whether you’re working at an office, at home, or just trying to squeeze in some enjoyment!

Be Present; Be Mindful

One way to make the most of every moment is to take the time to re-center, and to really experience each moment as it happens. I have found this to be far more difficult than it sounds. I’m always thinking about something, and the harder I try to clear my mind, the more somethings there seem to be! But I am finding that just by being aware, I am able to slow things down, and it helps me to better appreciate the things that I already have.

Magan Olson, Lead Clinical Supervisor, has mentioned before how mindfulness has helped her in her own live. Nissa Fougner, Director of Rehabilitative Therapies, has also discussed how focusing on mindfulness gives value to her daily life. I think they’re onto something! Being present in the moment can help all of us reach our full potential, instead of spending our time thinking about the shoulds, the coulds, the maybes, and the woulds. It’s so much more productive to make the most of what we already have and what we can already do!

Set Goals & Check Off that List!

Did you set a New Year’s resolution? Here’s the hard-hitting question – did you MAKE it? If not, you’re in good company, but you’ve also still got time to make some progress! Here’s another idea – don’t wait until New Year’s to make those goals. Looking at changes that I might want to make right now could be just the head-start that I need to feel a bit more confident by New Year’s Day.

Here’s a little gem from Mark Twain – finish the thing that you like the least, and the rest of your list doesn’t look so bad! Think about what your frogs are – maybe you need to eat them tomorrow morning, so that you can move on to something a little more tasty.

“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

Mark Twain

Have you had enough of lists, goals, and calendar items at work? Maybe you don’t want your home life to be quite so scheduled. That’s OK – you can still have some informal goals to work toward, in areas where you feel you need a bit more control. Maybe you need help with menu planning, or budgeting, or just need a reminder to set aside some time for yourself. Carving out a little bit of time each day for something that’s important to you can be a good reminder to take care of you, too!

And of course, if you or a loved one need help with some physical or mental health-related goals, contact your local HealthStar office to find out how we can help you get started and stay on track to meet them!

Re-think your schedule

Do you dread getting out of bed each morning, or do you greet the day with bright eyes and a bushy tail? Deep down, we all love to hate those bright eyes, but wouldn’t you also love to be more like that, instead of bleary eyed and bristle headed? I know this might sound super boring (#adulting), but it applies to all of us, from childhood to mid-life (with or without the crisis) to elder status: going to bed and waking up on the same schedule each day will help you feel more alert, along with offering many other health benefits.

Your body learns its expected rhythm, and your bodily functions follow that rhythm. Digestion slows when you’re on “sleep time,” and your organs know that they won’t be called into high gear until the next morning’s feast. Your mind can start to wind down when you see 30-minutes left until bedtime. Blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing can all ease into “night mode” when it’s time to rest.

Laugh, and the world laughs with you; snore, and you sleep alone.

Anthony Burgess

Yes, this means giving up on your old College Boy “up until dawn” routine. This might also mean no more binge-watching entire seasons on Netflix. But this definitely means that you will have better quality of sleep, better digestive patterns, more alert waking hours, and hopefully no more baggy saggy dark circles under those beautiful eyeballs. It’s a win-win, even though you might take a few days (instead of just one night) to watch that season of Game of Thrones.

Get Active!

Yes, we are a health-related company, but not everyone here is always the most physically healthy. I’m sure we could all do a bit more to get or keep ourselves in the shape we really want to be. And I know that around 2 pm every day, the desk jockeys among us are starting to doze off. I’ve seen it happen. The worst is when we’re all in a meeting together at that time – don’t go to those meetings.

Maybe you add a walk in the morning, or after lunch. Maybe some old-school sit-ups under your desk, or lunges in the hallway when no one’s looking. How about a few chair stretches, or a couple toe-touches? Or, if you have the ambition to add a full workout, more power to you; it’ll keep you fueled and help you squeeze a little more out of your day!

Are you wondering if HealthStar staff can help you or your loved ones with a plan to get more active? You bet we can! The folks who don’t sit at desks all day – the clinicians, the therapists, and the aides – those folks are MUCH better at getting active, and they have plenty of ideas to share!

What’s In Your Diet?

A better quality diet can help you focus. The right diet can give you the energy you need so that you can power through your day, instead of spending time in food coma-land. So what is the right diet? This one’s touchy – there’s science to say that eating snacks is better, or eating no snacks is better, or that you should intermittently fast, or maybe that you should eat more small meals, or eat more protein, or eat more fiber… the list goes on and on. But one thing that’s unanimous – more vegetables can’t hurt, but too much sugar can.

Check your shelves – do you have a bunch of crackers, cookies, and processed food in your pantry? If so, it might be time for a fresh start. Whole vegetables are on the “do” list of all the diets, whether you listen to the “don’t” side or not. And sugars should be used sparingly, so consider those packaged items a treat and not a staple. Other than this very basic advice: I am the pot, and anyone else that I talk to might be just another kettle, so I try not to say too much at all. Especially because my mouth is often full of the “don’t” list.

Do you have specialized dietary restrictions? Need some help figuring out what works for your specific needs? Contact HealthStar for some ideas – I promise you won’t get any feedback from me, it will be from our clinical staff. They might not write the blog posts, but they sure do know how to write specialized diets!

Start Something Small

Maybe you can’t finish the whole quilt, but you can sew a single square. Sometimes, just finding a place to start can mean you’ll get to the finish line. Little changes are much easier to implement than broad, sweeping changes. Maybe you’ll just go to bed 15-minutes earlier tonight, or get up 15-minutes earlier to do some deep breathing in the morning. Maybe you’ll add a vegetable at dinner, or skip dessert. Take a short walk, write down some of your thoughts, fears, and hopes. All of these things can help you re-focus on what matters the most to you, and filter out the stuff that doesn’t, so that you can really make the best use of the little time that you’ve got each day.

Have questions about mindfulness? Want to know more about modified diet and exercise for your health conditions? Need a few ideas on how you can get things moving on the right track? Check HealthStar out and see how we can work with you to get the most out of every day!

We can’t take all the credit. A special “thank you” to these pages for giving us a little extra help with this blog post:

https://psychcentral.com/lib/my-11-tips-on-how-to-make-the-most-of-each-day/

https://www.sleep.org/articles/sleep-and-productivity-at-work/

https://www.tuck.com/productivity-and-sleep

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffboss/2017/01/19/5-reasons-why-goal-setting-will-improve-your-focus/#7332866c534a

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25080035

https://hbr.org/2014/10/what-you-eat-affects-your-productivity

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