I was honestly at a loss for what I wanted to write about this month, so I did what any millennial would do: I asked my Instagram followers what they wanted to learn about! I actually got a huge response back, too, which is awesome. There were a handful of people that had some unique suggestions, but the overwhelming response I got back was “tell us how to stay in some sort of health/fitness routine when things get crazy busy!!”
So, in honor of “Back to School” season, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
You know that feeling like you’re trying to juggle way too many things at once? I have had that same nagging feeling since I started college 5 years ago, and it has yet to go away (except for a couple weeks at a time when I’m on vacation or going through a slower season at work). I’m sure this means I’m probably suffering from adrenal fatigue upon chronic stress and other disorders, but there’s just not much I can do to change it right now.
These days, everyone’s professional life seems to be full of hustles, side hustles, and side hustles for your side hustles. The more you’re doing, the more “admirable” you are in society’s eyes- which is not necessarily a good thing at all.
Here’s a little insight into my own life: On top of my job where I work 30+ hours a week, I am studying for another certification, creating a website, trying to create content for brands and myself on Instagram, planning beach boot camp events, modeling, all while trying to make sure I sleep 8 hours a night, spend time with my boyfriend and friends, keep in touch with my family, eat 5-6 nutritious small meals a day, make it to all those necessary adult appointments my mom used to schedule for me (weren’t those the days?), and still somehow find the time to workout 5-6 days a week.
It may sound slightly dramatic, but that’s the gist of it, and I’m sure a lot of you reading this are rolling your eyes because my agenda sounds like cake compared to yours. Nonetheless, for me personally, this is a lot to take on, and I have to make sure I put working out, eating well, stress management, and sleep at the TOP of my priority list. If not, you can best bet that none of the rest of these things will ever happen, and someday I’ll be found on the side of the road, dead from pure exhaustion from trying to do everything besides take care of myself.
That’s how you have to look at it: working out, eating well, getting proper shuteye, and going to yoga or meditating are all forms of self care that will help everyone live longer, live happier, and be more youthful and successful in the long-run. These things are not a punishment, nor are they just another thing to check off your day’s to-do list. These are essential aspects of your life that you should try to accomplish at least 3 days a week, if not every day.
So how do I find time to stay healthy and fit while dealing with the daily demands life throws at me?
Here are my 5 steps to ensuring that you practice at least one form of self care every single day, and successfully keep all your health and fitness goals even in your busy season:
1. Schedule your days a week (or more) in advance
This one’s for all the planners out there, and if that’s not you, do the best you can! Schedule what meals you are going to eat, what days you’re going to workout, and when you’ll take some alone time to read, stretch, meditate, or whatever is rejuvenating for you. Even schedule what time you are going to start winding down so that you can make it to bed in time for a full 7 to 8 hours of sleep.
All of this planning ahead means that if you get invited to happy hour last minute, you will have to sadly decline because you already have a workout planned for after work. Not only is this saving you calories from all the apps and drinks you would have consumed, but you’ll be one step closer to whatever fitness goals you’ve made for yourself by making the time for your workout.
2. Find someone to help hold you accountable
This can be someone close to you like your spouse, your roommate, your best friend, or a coworker. Have them commit to meal prep every Sunday with you, go for a walk during your lunch breaks together, or try out the new yoga classes at the local gym with you for the next month. When talking specifically about fitness accountability, this could even be a studio or personal trainer holding you accountable via your finances.
Let me explain: Any yoga studio, boutique group training studio, or personal trainer will require you to sign up in advance. They do this via your card on file, and if you are a no-show or late cancel, you will be charged for not following through with your commitment. As much as this sucks, if you’re having trouble showing up I suggest you do this as a way for you to take your fitness goals seriously, because now your hard-earned money is on the line if you don’t show up. Just remember, half the battle is getting there!
3. Fight complacency/Change things up
In both your workouts and your nutrition, it is so easy to do the same routines and cook the same meals day in and day out. This can lead to either no gains in the gym or skipping the gym altogether, and more frequent cheat meals or binging in the kitchen. Take it from old Einstein, who believed that “insanity: [is] doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
If you’ve been eating the same foods at the same portions and doing the same workouts at the same intensities for a while now with little to no results, CHANGE THINGS UP! Even if you did see initial results when you first changed your lifestyle routines, plateaus are easy to come by, and people tend to give up on their newly acquired diet and exercise once they reach that plateau.
If you notice your body not getting positive results anymore, incorporate some new training into your workouts, add in an additional day at the gym each week. Cut out one food that’s been your vice for a while now and replace it with something even healthier. Change up your portions (most of the time, I actually find my clients are eating too little as opposed to too much).
Do your research, ask professionals for advice, and have fun with this! After all, this is your body, your life, and we as humans are constantly changing and adapting. You just have to learn to ride the waves.
4. Separate “work” from “play”
It is so important that you know when to shut off “work mode,” which usually doesn’t happen for people until they’re trying to fall asleep. Their mind keeps going rampant with different to-do lists and tasks that haven’t been completed yet, or all they have to get done the next day. This is a common human tendency and I’m as guilty of this as anyone. But, doing this is keeping your body in “fight or flight mode” and can ultimately cause adrenal fatigue (as I humorously mentioned earlier).
I recently started attending hot yoga classes one or two nights a week after work, and if I could accurately describe to you how much better I feel after those classes, I would. I am reminded to breathe deeply and slowly, versus the shallow breathing I do all day every day. I get to finish my day with restorative movement, which is awesome after the intense workouts I do in the mornings and the sitting I do most of the day. Not to mention, my quality of sleep on those nights is amazing.
Find a ritual you can do that helps you get out of your stressed out self and into a more relaxed self. Maybe that’s getting your workout on right after work, a yoga class before bed, or even just a dinner with friends where work isn’t brought up and you can focus on the present moment with loved ones. You simply must learn to give yourself permission to relax, move, and be present.
5. Be efficient
It doesn’t have to take 2 hours in the gym to get a good workout, nor does it have to take 5 hours in the kitchen to meal prep. Heck, even relaxation can be done in as little as 10 minutes a-day with tools like the Headspace app, which leads you through a 10-minute guided meditation. If you’re pressed for time and that’s the reason you don’t think you can fit in a workout today, squeeze one in anyway!
Ever heard of Tabata? It’s a killer workout that could technically be done in as little as 4 minutes if you give your all-out effort. Only have 20 minutes but really want to smash a good weight session? Try circuit training, and lift as heavy as you can while doing so as to get the most out of your quick workout. Ten 100m sprints with 1-2 minutes rest in between and you’ll be huffing and puffing for air in less than 15 minutes.
Get the idea?
When it comes to cooking, I keep it super simple (my boyfriend will tell you I can’t cook, but I like to say I’m just a minimalist). I batch cook a huge portion of a lean protein, keep tons of fresh greens for salads, prep any veggies that I can, and it’s as simple as that! I’ll buy pre-chopped vegetables when I know I’m going to be on an extra time crunch that week, too.
Moral of the story, it’s not about what you can’t do, it’s about what you can do (now I’m starting to sound like my father). If you can only fit in a few gym sessions a week, that’s a start! Make them worth it, though. Go in with a plan. Set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely (SMART) goals for every area of your life.
If you’re running on empty all the time, what fun is life anyway? Most of the successful people in the world, when asked what their secrets are, mention something about making time to take care of themselves. I recommend that you do the same!
What is one fitness goal you want to accomplish?
Share your comments at the bottom of the page.
Whatismyhealth © 2017