Workout of the Day

Turning Off The Lights


If you left all of your lights on, your air conditioner blasting, your stove on, your faucets running, and your stereo playing and TV on every time you left the house, you would naturally expect a pretty hefty utility bill at the end of every month. Anyone with a mind to conservation of resources and basic financial responsibility knows that when you’re not using something (a television, the kitchen sink, patio lights), you turn it off.

Yet we often forget the same conservation of resources when it comes to our own physical, mental, and emotional energy expenditure.

Take this example: your long day at work is over, and you’ve just finished a challenging evening training session at the gym. Before you’ve even stopped sweating, you say your hasty goodbyes and you’re sitting in your car and on your way to stop at the grocery store to pick up dinner before you head home. In the grocery store parking lot, you check your work email, and spend 5 minutes jamming on your keyboard to respond to a few emails. You get your groceries and head home, where you inattentively shovel spoonfuls of dinner as you try to prepare children for bed, knock out a couple more work emails, and catch a glimpse of your favorite TV show. Eventually, the children are in bed and you attempt to clean the kitchen countertops while you eat your now-cold dinner and catch a few more glimpses of your TV show. Eventually, you sit down on the couch in front of the TV, only to fall asleep and catch a couple hours of slumped over, poor quality sleep before you put yourself to bed. The next day, you wake up early, hurriedly shower and pack your lunch for the day as you rush out the door for a long day at work, and the cycle continues.

Perhaps you view this example as rather grim, or perhaps you view it as the heroic life of a modern American “making it” in every way they can. What it is, though, is an example of leaving the metaphorical lights, stove, TV, water, and everything else running, 24/7. It’s a common and relatable story of being “on” all the time and spilling your resources all over as your rack up the metaphorical utility bill.

The thing is, it really doesn’t take much time or energy to turn off the lights or the faucet. It would be absolutely silly to try to justify leaving the lights on in your house 24/7 by claiming that you just don’t have the time or energy to flip the switch from “on” to “off” on your way out the door. But this is exactly what we do when we run from one thing to the next, never taking a literal moment to pause and turn down.

Consider this: the above story changes completely with a few simple additions and omissions.

Before heading to the gym, the cell phone is turned to “Do Not Disturb” and work email is shut down until the next day. After training, you take 3 short minutes to breathe slowly and stretch, to start the recovery process before you head home. Upon arriving home, you take 60 seconds in your car to breathe and create intention about managing the things that need to be done when you step in the door. When you get in the door, you do one thing at a time. Put the children to bed. Eat dinner, mindfully. Clean and prepare for the next day. Upon waking the next day, you take 3 quiet minutes to meditate or reflect in silence before heading out the door.

Virtually nothing has been added to the day time-wise, but the stimulus and energy expenditure has changed dramatically. All the same work gets done, all the same duties are attended to, but the outcome, in terms of your conservation and enrichment of self, is kicked up a few notches.

If you insist that you just “don’t have the time or energy” to turn down, I would argue that the opposite is true. You need those moments to turn down, because they’re worth far more in the grand scheme. Look for the simple ways that you can turn off the lights on your way out the door. It only takes a few seconds.

- PS


  • With a partner, complete, for time:

    • A total of 2400m of running

    • A total of 3000m of rowing

  • * only one partner working at a time

  • * complete in any order and in any increments of distance