You probably already know what your body needs to be healthy: nutritious food, a good night’s rest, regular exercise, and less stress. The problem that many of us face, however, is fitting those needs into our busy schedules.
But, living a healthier life with a busy schedule doesn’t have to be difficult! Here are 10 tips to help you get started.
No good day starts in a rush. Setting a morning routine can give your body the time it needs to wake up and help you avoid that last-minute dash toward the door.
Set your alarm to give yourself a reasonable amount of time to wake up, shower, enjoy a cup of coffee, and even take your dog for a walk. This extra time in the morning will help you organize your thoughts and determine what you need to do with your day.
Keeping your body active is essential to staying healthy and maintaining a good balance in your life. A good workout can also give your brain a break from the office.
Staying active doesn’t have to mean spending hours at the gym, but it does mean finding different activities you enjoy. Try breaking your workouts down into three 10-minute bursts of activity a day, instead of one intense session. Whether that’s running, yoga, cycling, CrossFit, or any other activity, you owe it to yourself to stay in shape.
There are a million excuses for not eating a healthy, balanced diet. And, for those trying to live a healthier life with a busy schedule, the most common excuse is, “I don’t have time to cook every night.” The good news is you don’t have to cook every night—or even every other night—to find healthy meal options.
An easy way to make sure you’re eating food you like in portions you can control is meal planning. Dedicate a small part of your weekend to preparing a few meals for yourself. Or, if weekend meal prepping is not your style, try crockpot recipes. You can easily prepare a meal in the morning and have it ready for you by the end of the day.
When choosing foods to fit into your meals, think of eating in color. Add as many colors from the rainbow to your plate as possible to pack your diet full of fiber, minerals, and nutrients.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in one more work email or to catch up with household chores, but pushing your body to stay up and alert when you need rest can hurt you later on. You can’t make up sleep!
It’s important to have an established sleeping pattern to help you feel fully rested throughout the day. Be aware of when you go to bed and wake up each day, and try to stick to a consistent sleep schedule. Your body will adapt and help you get the rest you need.
If you struggle getting a good night’s rest, you have options. To help quiet your thoughts, try downloading a white noise app on your phone so you can fall asleep to sounds of the forest, city, sea, or simple static. If soft sounds are more of a distraction than a relaxation tool for you, a calming tea, like chamomile, is a simple addition to your evening routine that can help your mind and body settle. Other tools to help you unwind are meditation or a cooler bedroom temperature.
Being constantly on-the-go may allow you to complete many tasks on your to-do list, but it also adds a lot of stress to your life. Learning to take a second and breathe can help you reprioritize your tasks and give your brain the chance to process the information it’s receiving.
Try taking a five- to 10-minute break every 90-minutes to reorganize your thoughts and refocus. Walk to your local coffee shop, instead of rushing to pour a fresh cup from the coffee machine. Or, grab lunch with a friend you haven’t caught up with in a while, instead of working through your lunch like you normally do.
According to everyone’s social media profile, their life is perfectly ideal and nothing ever goes astray. We all know that’s not true. And, just like your social media profile, not everything at work and at home will go perfectly for you.
However, you may be struggling to give up that notion of perfection and the overwhelming need for “success. In fact, 67% of millennials feel “extreme” pressure to succeed in the workplace; that’s compared to 40% of Gen Xers and 23% of Baby Boomers.
It’s great to be determined and focused in everything you do, but striving for perfection will just increase your stress level. Remember: nobody is perfect! Do the best with what you have in each situation, remember to ask questions when you’re uncertain of something, and learn to just move forward when appropriate.
What’s holding you back? Is there an activity or a mindset that isn’t serving you? Even a small change can make a positive impact on your overall health. Quitting a bad habit — like smoking or negative thinking — will give you more time for other tasks and help you feel healthier almost immediately.
The most important thing to remember when trying to kick a habit is not to bite off more than you can chew. Focus on eliminating one bad habit at a time. Just get started. If you want to cut out pop from your diet, have one less pop today than you did yesterday and then keep moving forward. Once you’ve conquered your first challenge, move on to the next.
With a busy schedule, it’s easy to get distracted from your loved ones. Your focus is on finishing your current task or reaching your next level of success, and that’s okay as long as you still make time for the people who care about you.
For example, try adding a date night into your schedule (with your partner, spouse, or kids). This way, you’re aware that you need to be available during a specific block of time, and you can give your loved one your undivided attention. It’s okay to be motivated, but you also need to focus on the important people in your life.
Part of your stress could be feeling the constant need to say “yes” to major projects or social gatherings. But, with your busy schedule, fulfilling that “yes” can sometimes be difficult. The need to live up to your word often leads to cutting corners or not putting nearly as much effort into an interaction or project as you should.
It’s a hard lesson to learn, but saying “no” isn’t wrong or bad, and it won’t lead to others disliking you. Actually, saying “no” is great when it benefits your overall health! Prioritize what is most important in your life so you can put 100% into everything you do.
We’ve all been there. We get motivated and decide we’re going to change our lives for the better. We make a plan, but two weeks later we’ve already abandoned the idea and gone back to our old ways. Most often that’s because the change was big and fast!
The key to motivating yourself to live a healthier life with a busy schedule is to start small and slowly implement change. Add one small change at a time (like meal prepping on the weekend). Once you’ve mastered that as part of your routine, try a new change (like kicking a bad habit). If you pile on too many changes at one time, you’re going to overwhelm yourself and lose momentum. Pace yourself and start small.
Living a healthier life with a busy schedule isn’t about doing less or turning your life upside down. It’s about finding a balance and implementing small changes to make you happier and healthier. No one’s “balance” will be the same, so find what works for you in your life.
Paradigm Health & Wellness is located in downtown Lafayette, Indiana. We offer a unique and strategic approach to employees’ mental health, physical wellness, and more. Learn more about our services and contact us today! Like us on Facebook, and follow us on LinkedIn!