If you are working in an industry that demands extremely long days – finance, consulting, or some other always-more-than-9-to-5 – it’s more than likely that you have negative amounts of time in the day for yourself. I mean, you’re barely getting enough sleep and by Friday you’re lucky if you’re able to keep your eyes open. To accommodate your crazy hours, you fall out of your normal, healthy routine and get stuck in a totally different grind.
But here’s the thing: that’s exactly the opposite of what your mind and body need when you’re so busy.
It’s easy to fall in the trap of taking the easy way out, hitting the snooze button until you simply can’t afford to anymore, and grabbing a sugar-laden muffin and latte on your way to work… Or even skipping breakfast altogether.
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes days like that are inevitable. You won’t always be able to have your green smoothie for breakfast and fit your HIIT session into the evening. Life doesn’t always go according to plan; and that’s completely okay.
Still, it helps if you have a plan B. Here are some easy, quick tips that will help you maintain your mental and physical well-being when life is crazy.
Get some fresh air.
Sounds simple, right? It is. Don’t make the mistake of underestimating the power of fresh air. Walk to work, eat your lunch outdoors, or even just step outside for five minutes when you get the chance. It’s easy to get wrapped up in work assignments, but getting outside helps remind you that life exists outside the walls of your workplace. Bonus: you’ll get some vitamin D while you’re at it.
Take. The. Stairs.
You’ve probably heard this one before and you may roll your eyes, wondering whether climbing a few stairs really even makes a difference. Long story short: YES. It does. Taking the stairs gets your heart pumping, boosts metabolism, and works the quads and thighs. Plus, it’s usually faster than waiting for the elevator. Why would you not?
Eat (a healthy) breakfast.
You might want to rethink that muffin we talked about earlier and trade it for something a little less sugar-heavy and a little more protein- and fiber-rich. That’s the kind of breakfast that gives you energy, kickstarts your metabolism, keeps your blood sugar levels stable, and sets your day up for success. Think you don’t have time? Think again. Quick, easy, nutritious, and delicious ideas for your busy schedule include toast with nut butter and a piece of fruit, overnight oats, hard-boiled eggs and a piece of fruit, energy balls, and homemade granola bars.
If you don’t have time to prep any of the above, you can still do better than to skip breakfast if you’re hungry. Grab a fresh juice or smoothie on your way to work, pick up a whole-grain bagel, or even a latte (at least you get some protein and calcium from the milk).
Prep some healthy snacks ahead of time.
When you’re in a mid-afternoon slump, feel like your workday is never going to end, and craving something to munch on, it’s important to have snacks on hand that not only taste good, but also make you feel good. Homemade granola, bliss balls, raw veggies and hummus, crackers and cheese, and homemade tortilla chips and heart-healthy guacamole are just a few good options.
Make fit friends.
Surround yourself with people who have the same goals as you. If your friends want to live healthy, happy lives and get excited by the thought of squeezing in a workout and eating to feel their best, you’ll find it much easier prioritize your well-being. Maybe instead of happy hour, you and your fit crew will decide to hit up a fitness class or cook a homemade meal together. You don’t have to sacrifice your healthy life for your social life. Friends who work out together, stay together.
Make a plan (and write it down) and you’ll know when you have time to meet a friend for lunch or take a quick walk out of your workplace. Fail to do so and you’ll be stuck in the work rut all day. Learn to use your limited time efficiently and you’ll realize just how much you can actually fit in a day. Hint: it’s a lot.
Breathe and smile.
You may have followed all the above pointers and you may even be lucky enough to have the time to pack meals from home and squeeze in a daily workout, but for some reason you still don’t feel a great as you would like. This is the time to check in with yourself. Slow down to take a breath, and smile. Take a moment to appreciate where you are. Sure, you’re busier than you ever thought you’d be, but you’re doing great. That’s pretty cool. Having a good attitude can really affect how you feel in the long run.
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