Life can get hectic when you are juggling work, family, and all your other responsibilities. When your calendar fills up, it can be tempting to let your health and fitness routines fall by the wayside. However, staying active and eating well is crucial for reducing stress and building resilience when the going gets tough. Follow these 8 tips to keep your health a priority even during the busiest seasons of your life:
- Plan Ahead
The key to sticking to healthy habits when life gets chaotic is planning. Take some time at the beginning of each week to map out your schedule – including when you will exercise and what healthy meals and snacks you will eat. Pencil in fitness on your calendar just like any other appointment. Planning ahead helps ensure you fit it in rather than leaving it up to chance.
Look for ways to habit-stack exercise into your regular routine. For example, mix activity into your commute by biking or walking to work. Take walking-meetings rather than sitting in a conference room. Use the stairs rather than the elevator whenever you can. Small bursts of activity throughout your day add up and keep you refreshed and energized.
- Get Efficient
When your schedule is tight, look to efficient workouts that maximize fitness in a short time. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) packs a huge benefit in a 20-30-minute workout by alternating intense bursts of exercise with recovery periods. Similarly, strength training builds metabolism-boosting muscle in just two or three 30-minute weight sessions per week.
- Meal Prep
Preparing healthy meals and snacks ahead of time saves you from grabbing fast food when things get busy. Use one evening per week to batch prep nutritional breakfasts, lunches, and snacks to last you through the week ahead. Keep fresh fruits and vegetables washed, chopped, and front and center in the fridge. Having healthy options on hand makes clean eating convenient. Even something as simple as prepping your lunch box the night before can keep you from panic-packing that frozen burrito when you’re running late in the morning!
- Prioritize Sleep
Adequate sleep boosts immunity, focus, and energy levels. This is absolutely critical when managing a hectic schedule. Make sleep a priority by developing good bedtime habits, like limiting blue light electronics before bed and sticking to consistent sleep and wake times. If necessary, block off time for naps, or cut back evening commitments to ensure you get 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night.
- Schedule Relaxation
Stress-reducing practices like meditation, deep breathing, yoga, or short walks outside recharge your mind and body. When things feel nonstop, schedule time to unwind and re-center. Even 5-10 minutes of sitting quietly with some deep breaths makes a difference. Maintaining inner calm will boost your ability to power through even the most hectic days.
- Set Manageable Goals
When every minute feels accounted for, set small, manageable goals so fitness and healthy eating feel doable rather than overwhelming. For example, walk for 10 minutes during lunchtime, do a quick bodyweight circuit before dinner, or pack a healthy snack to have mid-morning. Checking little goals off your list one by one keeps motivation high.
- Make It Social
Working out or eating well with others provides accountability and makes healthy habits more fun. Schedule walking meetings with colleagues, take a yoga class with a friend, or invite loved ones over for a nutritious homemade meal. Having your fitness and nutrition routine double as social time makes it feel like less of a chore.
When life gets extremely busy, maintaining healthy habits may be challenging but it remains absolutely essential. Staying active, eating nutritious foods, relaxing, and getting proper sleep gives you the physical and mental stamina required to power through hectic times. With some planning and prioritization, you can keep your fitness and well-being a priority even during the busiest seasons of life.
For a more in-depth look at how to manage your health and wellness as a busy professional, check out our interview with Corporate Nutritionist, Mandy King: