5 things that make my work week better.

One amazing thing about Boston is that I can drive two hours and go for a walk on the beach...in the winter.  Walking is one of my favorite ways to get some exercise in.

One amazing thing about Boston is that I can drive two hours and go for a walk on the beach...in the winter.  Walking is one of my favorite ways to get some exercise in.

The first week back to work after a break is tough.  Given that some of us are just coming back from a holiday break, I thought this was a good time to share the things I do that make my work week better.  Let's be honest - my five picks are by no means revolutionary, but I've noticed a huge impact since I've starting relying on them.  Sometimes taking it back to basics makes the biggest difference.  Without further ado...

1. Eating (a filling) breakfast at home.

I used to never, ever eat breakfast at home.  I was more concerned with sleeping until the last second I could, squeezing in a workout, getting ready, then heading out the door as quickly as I could. It was frantic, and probably not the best way to start my day.  I usually would grab a packet of instant oatmeal on my way out the door and eat that for breakfast at some point during the morning at work.  The thing is, I don't even really like oatmeal. So instead over the past year, I've been waking up about 15 minutes earlier and making myself a breakfast I actually enjoy - it's been eggs and toast for a year and still going strong.  When I eat a bigger breakfast, I find that I feel better throughout the morning and have more sustained energy.  And breakfast is just better when you aren't multitasking with work.

2. Getting in some form of movement

I generally feel dazed and confused in the morning if I don't allocate some time for movement to gradually wake up before work.  **I just want to point out that I'm really fortunate, and my commute is only half an hour to work each day, so I have time to fit this in.  Getting exercise in during the day, no matter what time, is awesome.** I've been waking up at 5:30 for a couple of months now to get in a (no longer than) 30-45 minute workout.  About half the time, my workout is going for a walk on the trail behind our apartment.  Sometimes I go for a run, and sometimes I do a quick strength session (usually from FitnessBlender - highly recommend).  I find that giving myself this time to exercise wakes me up more than coffee ever does.  Which brings me to my next point...

3. Having less caffeine

I don't know what it is, but I feel like I've been noticing people hating on coffee lately, and I'm not sure why. I think coffee is awesome in moderation, and I love the routine associated with it. However, sometimes you have to call yourself out, and (sadly) I know that I've been consuming FAR too much caffeine in the past year.  I've been trying to cut down and give my body a break so that I can get back to feeling alive without my morning (and afternoon...whoops!) cups of coffee.  To avoid caffeine-withdrawal headaches that I've experienced in the past, I've been drinking matcha green tea and also have tried some Four Sigmatic products. I find that these options still give me a small amount of caffeine, but don't make me anxious and jittery.  I still have coffee on the weekends because there is nothing better than reading a book in bed with a cup of coffee in hand, but I'm trying my best to not go wild during the week.

4. Plan (at least) one meal and batch cook.

While I sometimes enjoy picking out a recipe and cooking/baking, I generally only cook for the utility of having a dinner ready to go during the week.  Let's face it, I'm not going to meal plan and prep multiple meals during the week for dinner - I'm just not.  Since I know this about myself, and I'm usually pretty hungry by the time I get home from work anyways, we've been taking a couple of hours on the weekends to roast some vegetables and prep a LARGE quantity of one recipe for the week.  If you've ever lived with someone who runs marathons, you feel me.  Definitely still not my favorite task in the world, but I've found that it can be relaxing when you don't have to rush it.

5. Read something (not online)

Growing up, I loved reading.  I would read under the covers until WAY past my bedtime, and I savored every Nancy Drew mystery until the final pages.  More recently, I'm guilty of watching Netflix while mindlessly scrolling through Instagram before bed.  Since ordering a Kindle about a year ago, I've been making an effort to read before bed instead.  There's something so relaxing and recharging about getting lost in a good book (instead of a random stranger's Instagram feed).  My goal is to read a new book each month this year - my favorite for January so far has been Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown.

Have there been any things helping your work-week routine be easier? Do you have any book recommendations? Would love to hear!