Life tends to move quickly for some people. Does that sound like you? Maybe you’re constantly busy taking the kids to and from school, practices, and extracurriculars. Maybe you’re a bit of a work-a-holic and spend all of your extra time in the office.
Or, maybe you just can’t seem to say “no” when someone asks you to do something, so your schedule is consistently swamped.
While being busy isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it can cause your health to suffer if you don’t make it a priority. According to the Council for Responsible Nutrition, Americans don’t typically get all the nutrients they need. Unfortunately, that can lead to a variety of different physical health issues. It can even impact your mental health, contributing to problems like depression or anxiety.
But, if you’re extremely busy, you might think you don’t have time to fully focus on your health. That isn’t necessarily true. It just requires a bit of creativity and dedication.
The more you pay attention to your health, no matter how busy you are, the better you’ll feel. You will have more energy, you’ll be able to stay focused, and you can even boost your mood with things like diet and exercise.
With that in mind, let’s look at six easy ways you can stay healthy, no matter how busy or hectic your life gets.
1. Make a Better Breakfast
The old saying about breakfast being the most important meal of the day really does ring true. While no one meal is “better” than another, having a nutritious breakfast can help to jumpstart your metabolism and give you the energy to last through the morning.
People who are extremely busy are often the most guilty when it comes to skipping breakfast or grabbing something less than healthy on the run. Thankfully, there are plenty of quick breakfast items you can grab or make in a few minutes that will start your day off the right way.
If you’re really crunched for time, a container of Greek yogurt is a great way to get some protein in at the start of your day. Pair it with some fresh fruit for energy, and it will help to keep you satiated.
Don’t be afraid to get creative when it comes to a quick breakfast. Everything from whole-grain toast with high-protein nut butter, to a fresh fruit smoothie with coconut water can be a great way to start your day, and they take only a few minutes to make.
2. Pre-Portion Your Meals/Snacks
If you avoid eating all day because you’re too busy, you run the risk of binging on unhealthy food when you start to feel that afternoon slump.
A good rule of thumb is to take a few hours, one day a week, and “meal prep”. By pre-portioning your meals and snacks for the week, they are always ready for you whenever you get a chance to eat. Plus, you know every ingredient that goes into them, and you can create healthy, realistic portions that will keep you full but won’t cause you to overdo it. If you want to make your health and wellness a priority, make cooking for yourself a priority too. Set aside a few hours each week in your schedule. You may just find the art of meal prepping to be relaxing.
3. Try Interval Training
Too many people think that in order to get in a good workout, you need to spend at least an hour at the gym each day. That simply isn’t true. In fact, high-intensity-interval-training (HIIT) has become increasingly popular in recent years because it is not only effective, but it doesn’t take much time.
HIIT consists of short, high-intensity workouts that get your heart rate up quickly. Most HIIT workouts are anywhere from 20-30 minutes, and you might be surprised at how quickly you work up a sweat, and how impactful those short workouts can be.
When you want to pay attention to your fitness, focus on working harder, not smarter. High-intensity-interval-training workouts are difficult, and there aren’t many breaks. But, if you’re willing to put in the work for just 20-30 minutes of time, you can enjoy all of the benefits of a longer workout. Whether your fitness goals are to lose weight, improve your cardiovascular health, or simply to stay fit and healthy, it’s a good idea to give HIIT a try.
4. Work and Walk
Studies have shown that spending time outdoors can improve your mood and give you more energy. But, if you feel like you’re swamped with work or other things on a busy schedule, you might not be getting outside as much as you’d like.
If you have a job that allows you to work somewhat remotely, or you’re on a call that doesn’t require you to be at your desk, you can squeeze in some exercise almost any time of day by taking a walk. Walking in a quiet neighborhood means you can chat on the phone with clients or employees.
If you’re in the middle of running your kids around somewhere, find a quiet park or trail to walk until you need to pick them up.
Even if you truly are stuck at a desk all day, you can still find different ways to move. Desk exercises are easy for anyone to do, and they actually can make a difference. Do a few shoulder shrugs, stand up and stretch once an hour, or try some of the following:
- Chair squats
- Arm circles
- Neck rolls
- Tricep dips
- Seated crunches
Creativity is the name of the game when it comes to exercise. You absolutely do not need an expensive gym membership to find small, yet effective, ways of staying active.
5. Take Nutritional Supplements
If you feel as though your body isn’t getting the nutrients it needs from your diet alone, it might be time to consider adding certain nutritional supplements into your daily nutrition plan. Natural health supplements are a great way to make sure your body is getting everything it needs in order to stay healthy, without having to make too many changes to your diet.
Food supplements can even help you to get all the nutrients you need if you’re specifically ‘deficient’ in one area.
For example, if you tend to lack things like calcium or Vitamin C, you might not be able to eat enough foods to make up for those deficiencies, even if you have an extremely healthy diet. A supplement will typically give you a full day’s worth of whatever nutrients your body needs, and in many cases, you will notice a difference in how you feel very quickly.
6. Eat More Mindfully
One of the best ways to be more conscious of your diet and your overall wellness is to be more mindful of everything you do. But, that is especially true when it comes to eating.
If you feel like you’re busy all the time, it’s easy to eat quickly, scarf down pre-packaged meals, or indulge in fast food while driving in your car.
No matter what you do decide to eat, try to be more mindful during your meals.
What does that mean?
Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on the present moment. Many people use it in tandem with meditation to focus on their breathing and letting thoughts come and go freely without holding onto the past or worrying about the future. It’s a great way to help with anxiety and stress. But, you can eat mindfully, too, and the practice is pretty much the same.
When you sit down to a meal, take the time to enjoy it. Savor every single bite instead of just eating it quickly. Make your mealtimes an experience, rather than a necessity. Think about how the food is nourishing your body, and you’ll be more grateful for it. Consider how good it tastes, and you will feel more relaxed and less overwhelmed. Think about how it makes you feel while you’re eating it, and you will quickly learn to appreciate each and every meal. They will start to become something you look forward to each day. Even if you have a busy schedule, everyone can take a few extra minutes out of their day to fully enjoy and be mindful of the food they eat.
As you can see, it’s not impossible to live a healthy lifestyle no matter how busy you are. By getting a little creative and thinking outside the box, you can come up with innovative ways to improve your diet and fitness.
When you make your physical health a priority, one of the added bonuses is that you might see positive changes in your mental health, too. That includes less stress, fewer worries, and a lower risk of experiencing burnout.
Keep these tips in mind as you start to make a stronger commitment to your health. You can start most of them right away with just a few small changes to your daily routine, and they can make a big difference.