At Aegis, we're on the road a lot. Check out some of our favorite memories, stories, lessons learned from our time on the road through our blog series, "Tales from the Road". Some of stories may make you laugh, some might even pull on your heart strings, but most of all we hope you'll find some valuable nuggets on how you can be great leaders in your life.
This was the text I just received from a friend who is experiencing one of the dark sides of working from home—the kitchen is ALWAYS calling! On the surface, working from home would seem to give you unparalleled control of your diet. You decide what and when to eat. You have a pantry filled with healthy food and snacks. What a great time to lose those ten pounds you’ve been fighting with forever. What could possibly go wrong?
In short, everything!
I’ve worked from home for over the last 15 years and the struggle is real. It’s way too easy to meander into the kitchen and “just have one bite” or convinced myself that I NEED that brownie to give me that boost to get through my next Zoom call.
And, my pantry isn’t helping my battle either during this crisis. Yes, we are stocked with lots of immunity-boosting, good for you foods; fruits, veggies, lean proteins, almond milk, yogurts—you name it, we go it. But, let’s face it during times of stress and uncertainty along with having a ravenous college junior and high school senior now hunkered down with us 24/7, our pantry has gone to the dark side. At this very moment you’ll find cosmic brownies, cookie dough and peanut M&Ms—all whispering my name.
During the first few days of the pandemic, I heard so many people proclaim, now that I’m going to be home, “I am going to exercise every day!”, “I’m going to lose 20 pounds”, “I’m going to do a cleanse and cut out sugar!”. While these are all noble aspirations, this truly isn’t the time to set lofty goals. We are all under enough stress and pressure as we all adjust to this new normal.
Instead, over the next few months let’s shoot for being HEALTHY. Let’s take the pressure off and start with small adjustments and tweaks. This will allow us to stick with our changes, experience success and help us be even more fit to lead during these trying times. Remember, most habits take three months to establish, so hopefully we can come out of this crisis with several new healthy habits that are sustainable and will give us the energy and stamina we need to give the most to our jobs and the people we love.
Here are a few things I’ve learned over the years:
Start the Day off on the Right Foot!
Have you ever noticed that after a brisk walk or even some stretching you come back with a different mindset? Exercise truly is a magic pill. In as little as 15 minutes you can boost your mood, turn from sluggish to energized and clear your mind. Also, by starting your day on a healthy note, you will be more likely to continue that trend throughout the day.
Before you jump into your schedule for the day:
I am not a big breakfast eater. The thought of food first thing literally makes me nauseous first thing in the morning. But I have developed a routine that works. For me, after my coffee, I shower and get ready for the day. Right before I head to my office or spot for the day, I make a smoothie loaded with fruits, kale, almond milk and protein power. This along with my water bottle filled to the brim sustains me for the morning. I also feel “healthy” and keep the munchies at bay.
Pack your Lunch and Snacks
I know it sounds a bit crazy, you can just stroll down the hall and make lunch when your hungry. Well that’s precisely the problem. If you’re like me, I’m on the phone all morning and when it’s time to grab lunch, I am ravenous. So that salad I told myself I would eat that day now looks as appealing as cardboard. I convince myself that “just for today” I am going to skip that salad and have something fun – it’s now day 22!
My big joke when people would ask me what I do for lunch is I would tell them “I eat my Lean Cuisine over the trash can!” The worst thing you can do is mindlessly shovel in food while on a conference call or inhale it in a hurry. Get up and move away from your office, even if it’s for a few minutes. And, just because you don't have coworkers to drag you out to lunch doesn't mean you have to suffer in silence.
I am a big believer in moderation. It’s okay to eat those M&Ms, just not the whole bag. Many times, when we deprive ourselves, especially under stress, we only make the cravings worse.
I live with some very tall people and I am not. Our family joke is that I am 5’5” when I puff my hair (80’s and a Jersey girl!!) I’ve been known to ask family to place my favorite indulgences on the highest shelf in our pantry so it’s literally out of reach. If I truly want that snack, I have to work for it. Either I have to drag over the bar stool to reach it or go find someone to get it for me. Most of the time, I resign myself to the fact that the effort’s just not worth it (or the cajoling from my fam). But if I do go through the gyrations to get that coveted snack I’ve at least gotten in some movement to earn it!
Have an accountability partner
Once you start building healthy habits, they'll be easier to stick to. You’ll start feeling better and have more energy to tackle your day. However, if you need help, don't be afraid to reach out and get it. When working from home, willpower can only take a person so far. Keep a food journal, ask a friend to be your partner or create a health challenge with your team.
Now wipe those Doritos off your fingers and let’s get started!
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Mike & Stacey