In a world where you can never truly escape your email, finding the time to take care of yourself probably feels challenging most days and downright impossible on others. Between school or work, family obligations and trying to maintain some semblance of a social life, it’s rare that you enjoy some bona fide downtime — and your health may suffer as a result.
It’s important to remember that even when your schedule won’t let up, you have to make it a priority to keep your body and mind healthy! As your life heats up with new summer job demands and a slew of social outings to choose from, keep your schedule and wellbeing intact with this simple checklist of lifestyle shifts.
One of the biggest pitfalls that busy people fall into is choosing convenient, fat-laden fast food over healthier options that may cost them a few extra minutes. You might think your time is more valuable than your health, but in the end, that greasy food is only going to make you sluggish and less productive. Instead, get ahead of your week by prepping some healthy meals at the onset.
Spend one weekend afternoon batch-cooking a few healthy meals, like veggie chili or low-sodium soup — you will quickly learn a slow-cooker is your best friend. Freeze half of the batch and pack the other half into lunch containers for the week. You can also try Mason jar salads, bento box “tapas-style” lunches and faux Chipotle rice bowls. With these convenient, healthy options on hand, you won’t go running for a burger on your lunch break.
Water does more than just hydrate the body — it aids digestion, keeps your skin healthy and dewy and may help you avoid overeating. Plus, if you replace sugary drinks with water, you’ll avoid the crash which inevitably comes after your blood sugar spikes and then takes a major nosedive.
Feel free to drink your morning cup of coffee or tea, but then switch to water for the day and keep it coming until closing time.
When people start to run low on time, the one thing that usually gets cut first is sleep. But you’re not doing yourself any favors by only getting five or six hours per night. Lack of sleep not only affects your work, it might also make it more difficult for you to maintain a healthy weight — and you certainly won’t feel like hitting the gym after a sleepless night.
So make sure you get at least seven hours, though eight or nine is ideal. If you’re having trouble getting to sleep, try meditating your way to slumber.
Speaking of the gym, fitness is another area where you’re going to be tempted to cut when you run out of hours in the day. When you fail to exercise regularly, however, you’re not just risking weight gain. You may begin trending toward a host of other ailments that come with inactivity.
Make fitness a priority and squeeze in some exercise at your job or internship. Even when you can’t make it to the gym, a lap around the building or a round of desk squats will, at the very least, get your blood pumping.
Everyone who’s ever dealt with a hectic schedule knows how difficult it can be to take the time for self-care. But ultimately, it does you good and boosts your productivity when you’re staying on top of your health. Don’t cheat your body. Eat and drink well, get plenty of sleep and make exercise a priority — even when your schedule tries to run you down!