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Running on empty

You know one of those days where you slept badly the night before and not even two cups of coffee and a walk have kickstarted you, what do you do?

Sometimes you don't have a choice, you have to work, either because you're an employee or because you're self employed and have a deadline to meet.

I try to schedule work well ahead of deadlines and make sure that I leave myself enough 'wiggle room' each week to allow myself to be honest about what I'm going to get done on a bad day.

If I'm having an 'energy through the floor' day, I know I'm going to struggle to function and that anything I do is not going to be great and probably won't reflect well on me. So when these days hit I try to avoid doing anything too high level.

Of course the tricky thing is that you don't always know when bad days are going to hit. Personally, I'm a middle-aged woman in the throes of the menopause, with a family to look after and I have work commitments (both as an employee and a freelancer), so I have plenty on my plate.

To try always to be in tip top condition I'm...

  • Eating more fruit and veg - it doesn't take much effort to add an extra portion to meals or to snack on fruit rather than chocolate or biscuits.
  • Only drinking three cups of coffee a day and no coffee after 2pm.
  • Drinking more water and fruit/herb teas to replace the coffee I'm no longer drinking.
  • Walking more - as I walked everywhere anyway, I'm also taking longer and more scenic routes as much as possible. Yes, it adds to my journey time, but also improves my wellbeing.
  • Getting more and better sleep. I switch off all screens at least 90 minutes before I turn my light out at night and I read instead.
  • I keep my bedroom tech free, well-aired and comfortable.
  • I dump what's in my brain into a notebook at least once a day so I know I won't forget anything important/that I think might come in useful.

But if I'm not...

  • First I have to be honest with myself and/or my co-workers. If I'm not functioning at my best I'm going to miss things and so I need to negotiate the best role for me that day. That might mean taking on the more menial jobs and chores and avoiding the stuff that I might not do very well and/or might need to do over if I do a poor job the first time.
The key is honest and clear communication so that everyone understands the situation.

  • Being okay with my limitations and not being afraid to admit that actually today is not my most sparkly day, but that embracing that knowledge and acting appropriately is the way to go.
  • Re-scheduling the stuff that doesn't get done, or agreeing to take my turn at the tasks I've avoided at the next available opportunity.
  • Remembering to keep eating and drinking healthily and taking exercise and getting plenty of rest to recover as quickly as possible.
  • Not beating myself up about having a bad day.

The 'not beating myself up' one is hard because I do have high expectations of myself and I do, no matter how hard I try not to, expect to be able to do it all all of the time.

How do you manage the 'running on empty' days?


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