Mental & Emotional Health
Health and Fitness Guide For Busy People
Whether your work schedule is returning to 'normal' after the pandemic or you want to make a concerted effort to adopt and maintain healthier habits, it can be challenging to keep up with health and fitness when you are a busy person. It doesn't have to be, though. With some determination, time management, and a good frame of mind, you can fit health and fitness at any age into your day-to-day life. Here's how.
1. Maintain the right mindset
Think of health and fitness as a chore and you are less likely to want to make the necessary lifestyle changes. Keep reminding yourself that good health and longevity are not just their own rewards but a springboard to a more enjoyable life. If you do not feel good, work is more taxing and activities are not as fun. Tell yourself that you deserve to be healthy, and take pride in your decision to improve yourself.
2. Think outside the proverbial 'box'
You don't have to buy an expensive gym membership (although there's nothing wrong with this idea) to incorporate more physical activity into your life. Instead of staying inside and tooling around on your phone during breaks, why not take a brisk walk around the block? It will get your heart pumping and also feel like you have taken an actual break from your day-to-day tasks. Find a fun class, like a kickboxing dance class, and enroll with a friend. Take your kids to the park instead of playing video games. Not only will you be socializing while you are keeping in shape, but the buddy system will make you more likely to stay with the program.
3. Say 'bye' to bad habits
We all know that smoking, drinking to excess, and illicit drug use are not good for the body. Your efforts to improve your health can only go so far if you continue to fill your body with unhealthy substances. This means that you should also cut out eating too many sweets, salty and/or over-processed foods, and other 'junk'. Why hinder your potential success by keeping habits you know are not good for you?
4. Don't forget your mental health
It's easy to focus on physical health aspects and not remember that true health is holistic. The mind-body interconnectedness has been proven. Taking care of your mental health is an important part of self-care that you must not neglect. If your stress level is high, it affects your physical well-being as well as the mental and emotional. Identify the ways you best relax and unwind, and discover ways of maintaining your zen. This way, you will feel less overwhelmed and depleted when stress strikes.
5. Make sure you plan
Have you noticed that sometimes, upcoming events feel more 'real' if they appear in your calendar? Pencil in your exercise sessions and meditation-type practices if it helps you stay on track. Set specific time aside to plan out your meals so that you can get groceries, prepare meals ahead of time, and pack nutritious lunches to work instead of grabbing fast food. Some people are so swamped that they need to schedule self-care time. There is absolutely no shame in that!
6. Give yourself positive reinforcement
You deserve to be healthy and to live well. You also deserve a reward for persevering, because it can be difficult to maintain healthy habits. By acknowledging your own success and rewarding yourself with you've shown discipline, you are training your mind to find the right choices easier to make. Have that (reasonably sized) chocolate cupcake for doubling your vegetable intake all week. Indulge in a luxurious bubble bath for the aching muscles you worked hard on at the gym. You'll be building on your motivation and training your self-consciousness to maintain healthy habits and practices.
Conversely, don't beat yourself up too badly over 'failures'. Didn't get that bike ride in? Couldn't resist that extra slice of pizza? Guilt-tripping yourself — a negative reinforcement — may be counterproductive because choosing health may feel like less of a choice and more of a mandate.
7. Work smarter, not necessarily harder
Kill more than one proverbial bird with one stone. Not only will this save or create time, but you can accomplish more during your day. For example, if you have a half-hour Zoom call and you're not tasked with presenting anything, see if you can walk your talk during the virtual conference while you listen. If you have to network with clients, see if it's appropriate to do this over a golf game. You'll be surprised at how much you can get done in a day when you double up.
8. Surround yourself with things — and people — to help you succeed
If you are in the mood to snack and your pantry/fridge is stocked with mainly healthful foods, you will more likely consume a healthful snack. Conversely, finding yourself in the middle of a colony of potato chip bags will only encourage you to cave in to the junk food craving. Spend more time with people who are dedicated to improving their health and fitness, not cynical naysayers who might convince you that there's no real point in choosing a healthier lifestyle.
9. Stay hydrated and get your rest
Too many people forget to drink enough water during the day, but staying hydrated goes a long way to making you feel good and maintaining energy levels. Similarly, a good night's sleep will also keep your mental and physical reserves topped up. Dedicate the time to properly unwind at the end of the day, and keep a water bottle with you at all times.
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