I LOVE BEING BUSY, but busy doesn't often translate to productive. Being busy is great, but not if it lacks direction, passion, and makes your health suffer.
While it's always important to focus on "the major players" of your health, including diet, exercise, sleep and stress management, these are broad categories and are easier said than done, especially when trying to fit them into your busy schedule.
Finding easy, productive health solutions that fit your life can be the difference between living and living well and there are easy things that you can incorporate into your routine without having you spinning your wheels.
Below are strategies for the insanely busy that will help to simplify your healthy efforts, making you a lean, mean, productivity machine!
1. Go-To Healthy Snacks:
While many of us aim to eat healthier, especially at the major meals of the day, even the best laid out menus can fall by the wayside if we fail to prepare for the inevitable stomach growls that happen when we don't have healthy snacks on hand.
The "infrequent" cookies, chips, donuts, and other not-so-healthy snacks seem to pop up when you are most hungry and unprepared. Picking up snacks at the office or coffee shop not only interrupts your day, but results in choices that are high in sugar, trans fats, and low in essential nutrients.
Preparing and keeping small snacks and beverages at the office, in the car, or within easy reach at home are simple ways to incorporate healthier foods throughout your day, maximizing productivity, and keeps hunger at bay.
Excellent examples of easy, on the go, snacks include:
- Carrots and celery with hummus
- Organic apples and grapes
- Almonds, walnuts and nut butters
- Yogurt and granola
- Boiled eggs
Protein bars and super-charged smoothies are also excellent choices as protein helps to promote feelings of fullness and less sugar cravings, the ultimate productivity food!
Keeping two to three of these foods with you at all times and eliminating "junk" will ensure you regain control over your snacking. It's nearly impossible to pass off that cookie for a veggie stick, but if there are no cookies and only veggie sticks I guarantee you'll be OK munching on something, even if it doesn't cut your cravings 100 per cent.
2. Meal Prep Tips:
If you're a busy parent or working crazy hours meal preparation is key but can also feel daunting. Thinking about shopping, spending time cooking and planning what meals to make for the week might be enough to throw you over the edge.
It doesn't have to be this way and a little preparedness can actually mean more free time for you and will reduce some of the stress around meal times.
Pull that slow cooker out of storage and throw in any vegetable and protein you have before you leave for work. Add in tomato sauce, coconut milk or soup broth for a dinner ready when you walk back in the door. And don't forget to make extra to freeze for later.
Increase productivity by making a shopping and cooking routine. Pick up essential meat and protein once a week and your day-to-day produce on your way home from work or class can help to simplify your schedule.
Taking 15 minutes to shop daily may feel more manageable than one two-hour bonanza on the busy weekends. Better yet, order your groceries online! Stores or local farmers who can drop off produce at your front door will help to free up your valuable time.
If all these still seem like too much work, try asking someone to cook for you, or if financially possible, hire a chef. There are many different ways to eat better that don't mean hitting the drive through or spending hours over a hot stove. Maximizing your time and preparation can be all that is needed to ensure healthy eating each and every busy day with minimal stress.
3. Tips To Stay Active For Work-A-Holics:
When we are insanely busy even a daily shower can be too much to ask for, let alone hitting the gym. However, if we find easy ways to fit exercise into our busy days you'll find keeping fit is something that happens without a second thought.
Try parking in the furthest spot from your office or take the stairs instead of the elevator to move exercise from the gym into your already established routine, maximizing your time.
Make it a habit to take hourly breaks during your day to walk around the office or to get some fresh air, which will help to improve focus and concentration.
Taking the opportunity to find simple ways to keep active will maximize your health and your time.
4. Ways To Reduce Stress For Busy Minds:
Too much stress will have even the most organized person feeling inundated and unproductive. Sometimes our schedules and responsibilities can become overwhelming, having us feeling "stressed out." We may not always feel like we have room for "me" time, but taking the opportunity to reduce stress and prioritizing what is important to us can actually have you feeling more productive.
Ensuring that you get adequate sleep is essential to stress management. Engaging in hobbies and creative tasks such as knitting, drawing or music can have a positive effect on your physical as well as mental well-being, building a resilience to overcome future stressors.
Practicing mindfulness, meditation, and gratitude can increase feelings of wellness and emotional balance. Even something as simple as smiling and laughter can support positive affect under stressful conditions while also improving heart health, immune function, pain tolerance and long-term anxiety.
While everyone seems to be busy nowadays we don't want these efforts to be without direction, especially when it comes to our health. Seeking simple ways throughout your day to find healthy solutions to achieve your major health goals will help you maximize your time and energy, helping you live a healthy busy AND productive life.
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