I wouldn’t consider these things life hacks either, but merely ensuring that my lifestyle is sustainable and that I’m feeling like I’m making progress towards my goals in all aspects of life. For me, exercise has always been a big one. On busy days at work where I’ve been physically/mentally/emotionally drained, I find I can process the day significantly better when I have been for a walk (30 min is usually more than enough) and then I try to do some meditation before bed. This generally helps me to clear my head/do some debriefing and then be ready to have a good night of sleep.
Sleep is the other essential one; I try to set good routines with sleep and aim for 7-8 hours. Obviously this isn’t always achievable, particularly when on call etc. but most of the time it works when I’ve been feeling a little low or drained.
Having a really good bunch of friends or people to exercise with is also something that really helps me. Pre-COVID I was working solid 10 hours 5 days per week, plus on call, and I aimed to go to swim training and gymnastics a total of 4 nights per week. There were so many nights where I felt so crappy after a big day that I kept saying to myself “I’m not going to go tonight, too tired, too hungry, too physically drained” but once I was there and had spent an hour or more swimming laps in the pool or learning a new skill at gymnastics, I felt amazing and it was a great mood uplifter. On the flipside thanks to COVID restrictions and not being able to swim or train where I normally did, I saw a massive decline in my mental health and this has been a big challenge for me over the past 12 months in particular. But, things are starting to open up again and my outlook has improved. Just have to find that outlet that floats your boat.
Exercise won’t be everyone’s cup of tea though – most people I know will sit themselves down and watch a good series on Netflix or similar, which is great. Un/fortunately for me I can’t sit still long enough for that sort of thing, so exercise will have to do.