Healthy Habits In Hectic Times
With such a packed schedule, finding the time to keep up your health can feel impossible. It’s important to remember that being healthy isn’t going to the gym for an hour; that can be unrealistic and pushing yourself to that extent when you’re already giving each day your all can be detrimental to your well-being. Health isn’t about strain. A healthy lifestyle is attainable even when there isn’t enough room on your to-do list for intense workouts or involved meal plans. The secret to leading a healthy lifestyle without revamping your entire schedule is creating healthy habits. Adding a few simple steps to your daily routine can make a world of difference.
Getting up early will give you more time for your morning routine, allowing you to arrive at work feeling less rushed and more focused. If answering to your current alarm is hard enough as it is, try moving some of your morning chores to the night before. Choose the day’s outfit, and write out your to-do list the night before so your morning can be more luxurious without getting out of bed any earlier. Maybe you can use the extra time to check in with your body through some yoga or light cardio. Designating a specific part of each day to a small task makes it easier to keep the habit; light exercise isn't too daunting for a morning task and will help energize you for the day ahead.
Before you head out the door, make sure to eat something! Breakfast is the most important meal of the day is because it is the first—what you eat in the morning has to power you through to the next meal. A plate of protein with a side of fruit is simple: try scrambled eggs with cantaloupe, or Greek yogurt with strawberries, for example.
Once the workday starts, time truly feels out of your hands. But taking steps to be healthier doesn’t mean you have to revamp your whole schedule. It can be just that—steps. Make a habit out of walking. Take the stairs instead of the elevator; park in the farthest spot from the entrance or get off the subway a stop early; walk to get coffee (there’s a Starbucks on practically every corner nowadays --take advantage!); you can even schedule a walking meeting if the weather is nice enough. Carry your bag on each of these trips to keep your arm muscles active. Elbow at your side, hold your purse at a ninety-degree angle from your body, switching hands every few minutes. If for whatever reason you’re unable to do these, you can still walk in the evening after work. Find a podcast or an album that you love and only allow yourself to listen to it while you stroll. This immediate reward will help the habit stick; humans are creatures of habit but doing this will fight against that.
Specificity makes habits easier to adopt. Instead of saying, “I’m going to eat healthy,” say “I’m going to eat vegetables with each meal.” While getting hydrated is an admirable goal, it’s abstract. Figure out small, daily objectives that can get you to your goal, like “drink a glass of water with every meal.” Precise routines can go beyond food. Think outside of the box when adding exercise to your day. If something makes you smile, celebrate with a set of jump squats. Every time you get up to go to the bathroom, cover a few feet of your route back to the desk with a set of lunges.
The hardest part of implementing a new habit is remembering to do it. Leave a post-it note on the fridge and set reminders on your phone to alert you throughout the day. Keep track of how often you follow through and schedule check-ins about once a week. Schedule these as you would any appointment and set aside time in your calendar for yourself. Use this time to look back on the progress you have made. If you are having trouble keeping a habit, look to what you did on the days that you didn’t follow through. If something is making this habit impossible or impractical, adjust. Change the time of day you are going for a walk or how long that walk is. Most importantly, use this time to assess whether these new habits are helpful. A habit may fit into the flow of your day, but if it doesn’t make you feel better, then it’s not worth it. Weekly check-ins are a chance to evaluate what works and what doesn’t; it takes time to find what works for you and even longer to implement, but it’s not impossible. A healthy lifestyle is something every woman deserves; you must remember that no fit body was built in a day.