Here they come! The holidays have arrived and while we may be excited for the celebrations, we also know there will be stress, and dynamics with which we must contend.
If you’ve been following this blog for awhile, you know my default mental settings are worry and anxiety. My threshold for this stuff is so low, I’ve become a semi-pro at actively fighting it.
I have a few tricks up my sleeve I thought I’d share. First, you have to know your triggers and make a game plan ahead of time to avoid the trap.
I learned this about myself last month. I had a hectic travel schedule that included three round trip cross-country trips in a two-week period. The third trip was to Huntsville, Alabama to keynote a conference for women entrepreneurs and marketers. Morning keynote. Morning their time which is middle of the night my time. At the end of two crazy weeks.
I am not a morning person.
This was my anxiety: How I was going to have the energy and presence to kick ass on that stage at 8:30 am (6:30 am my time) and inspire and excite the attendees before a full day of learning?
It was compounded by the fact that I’d arrive the evening before. The organizers would pick me up at the airport and take me out to dinner, stopping first at the hotel so I could get cleaned up. In the morning, I would be picked up at 7:30 am to go to the venue. Now, it was wonderful to feel so welcomed and to go out with a group of smart women, don’t get me wrong. I just know this has the potential to find me exhausted and drained.
So I laid out my game plan. I read somewhere ages ago that the best way to combat jet lag is to drink a lot of water, and no alcohol. (boo!) So I packed my handy Hydro Flask, empty of course and fill it up in the airport and at each layover. Most airports have filtered water stations now. Save the planet from plastic bottles, please!
The other thing is to ignore what time “it really is” for you. So, I landed in beautiful Huntsville at 7:30 pm and stop adjusting the time in your head. This will be more helpful to me in the morning when I get picked up because if I tell myself “it’s really” 5:30 am, I am going down.
I knew I’d have to workout in the morning so I wouldn’t feel like I just rolled out of bed. It gets the blood flowing and it generally improves self-confidence. That means I’ll have to be in bed by 9:30 to get my required eight hours of sleep. (Wake up at 5:30 – don’t think what time it really is!)
Without sounding high maintenance, I let the event organizers know I had an early morning the next day and want to do a great job for them, so I’d need to make it a short night. Of course they understand – they have just as much, if not more, interest in my doing well. And it turns out, they have a big event too, don’t ya know. All this was calculated and thought out the week before.
I skipped the sugar at dessert, one glass of wine, ate very lightly for dinner and in bed by 9:30, I was. Whether you actually fall asleep or not is another thing. I try not to worry about that part. It will only make it harder to fall asleep.
Alarm goes off at 5:30. Get up, throw on those workout clothes you laid out before you went to bed, put on your headphones and head outside for a five-minute warm up jog. You could use the hotel treadmill or elliptical but I almost always opt for fresh, outside air. It’s a great time to see a new place and even catch a sunrise. That’s the sunrise in Indianapolis up above.
Exercise calms my nerves. Jen Fisher, owner/trainer at The Shed, where I go twice weekly, gives me workouts tailored to my goals and body woes. I had asked her for a travel-friendly 30-minute workout that would give me energy and self-confidence at an ungodly hour. She nodded gleefully at her mission and gave me my marching orders (shared with her permission):
Quick workout to boost energy and self-confidence
(best if played with your favorite music in the headphones)
Warm up jog outside…5 min
Three times (or as many times as you have time for):
- 60 sec push-ups
- 60 sec chest press
- 20 alternating lunges (with dumbbells)
- 20 ea. rear foot elevated lunge
- 20 jumping jacks with weight press
- 20 sit-ups with mason-twist
- 60 sec bicep curls
- 60 sec tricep kickbacks
- 20 squat jumps with weights
- 60 sec weight jabs
- 5 min cool down run outside
Back up to my room by 6:30, coffee while I shower and change, check out of hotel, lobby by 7:30 am with my wonderful hostess waiting for me to take me to the venue feeling fresh and ready, and excited. Fun dinner with smart women. Keynote delivered. Success.
Let me recap and give you something to apply to your own routines. It takes planning, first and foremost. Know what will trigger the negative and the antidote for that negative.
How will you get in what YOU need to perform at your best – be it exercise, quiet coffee time, or maybe it’s listening to a certain podcast during your commute to work. It might mean scheduling time in the calendar for yoga or your run and fiercely protecting that time slot. Someone needs you during that time? You’re either not available, or you shift that reserved time somewhere else. Just don’t delete it.
Make your game plan and set yourself up for success.
I would love it if you’d share your advice in the comments.[ssba]