When I first started working with my client Jeff, he was in a period of struggle. He had fallen into many unhelpful habits, like getting fast food for breakfast every morning and not exercising. Only about nine months prior to this, he was in a great place. He had been working out with a trainer twice a week, eating well, and had lost more than 20 pounds. As he entered into a busy work period, things fell apart. He stopped exercising and taking the time to meal plan and meal prep. Before he knew it, the 20 pounds came right back.Man at dusk

Initially, Jeff and I worked on getting things back on track. He started exercising again and easing away from unhealthy, convenient food options. He slowly resumed meal planning and cooking. After a few months, Jeff was once again feeling great, although we knew busy work times would continue to be a vulnerable area for him.

A few weeks ago, Jeff told me that he knew he was about to have a busy few weeks at work. He was slightly nervous that it would be a repeat of the past. Jeff and I came up with a plan in session of exactly what he would do, how he would get himself to do it, and why it was worth it to him to do so.

When we met this week, Jeff was just coming out of his busy period. We agreed: it was a huge success. He did so much better this time than he ever had in the past. Jeff and I made a list of the things he did this time, so that the next time he got busy at work, he would have a blueprint already established for how to proceed.

Jeff’s Strategies for a Busy Work Period

  1. Continue to prioritize healthy eating and exercise. Don’t fool myself into thinking that it’s okay to slip on either one of these. They matter, they’re important, and they’re worth it. No cutting corners on my healthy habits because that will lead me somewhere I don’t want to be.
  2. No matter what, schedule in at least 30 minutes for lunch and go get a salad from the restaurant down the block. Don’t take the “easy” way out of going to the bakery in my building to grab a quick pastry because that won’t make me feel good.
  3. Continue to take time for breakfast, even if this means getting up 10 minutes early.
  4. Even if I have to cut back number of exercise sessions or the length of a session, anything is better than nothing. Don’t buy into the all-or-nothing thinking that if I can do my whole workout, it’s not worth doing anything.
  5. Remember: Doing these things will make my busy work period BETTER, not WORSE. They will keep my mind and my body sharp. I’ll actually have more mental bandwidth to tackle my work when I continue to prioritize self-care, not less. Continuing to practice my healthy habits will not just be “one more thing I have to do,” it will make doing all the other things easier.

With one successful busy work period under his belt and this blueprint to refer to for the next one, Jeff feels much more confident that he can and will stay on track, no matter what’s going on with his work.