Do you ever feel that you have so much on your plate that one wrong foot will scatter your life in pieces on the floor? That you try so hard to flow from your work to your workouts that you end up more stressed than before.
I sure do.
Balancing your work life, home life and staying true to your health goals can be really stressful, and striking up a harmony between being ‘busy’ and ‘overworked’ can really prove a challenge.
With our modern lifestyles being so divorced from nature, pushed to work more, achieve more, earn more and want more, we can find ourselves far from a natural state of vitality and suffering with a severe case of adrenal overload. At the end of the day, you’re so exhausted that falling asleep is just not an option because your mind is racing at a million miles an hour.
So how can you strike a balance between what you need to do and want to do without letting all your hard work go by the wayside? And how can you maintain the health goals you have for yourself at the same time?
I personally love a list. If I don’t have a list I get distracted by all the different things I have going on in my life. By creating a schedule of activities I can plan enough time for the things that I need to do (work/chores) and those that I want to do (workout/social activities)
Making a ‘To Do’ list or schedule for your day/week/month can show you the bigger picture and help prevent you from sweating the small stuff. If you have projects or deadlines that are time sensitive you can instantly see how these fit in, and where you should allocate more flexibility in your day. In can also help you identify areas where you waste time. Which brings me on to my second point.
Stop wasting time. How many minutes a day do you spend mindlessly scrolling through social media, checking your emails and getting into a twitter debate? Are there any periods during the day when you could be utilizing your time more efficiently? I love listening to podcasts, I have a long list of different ones I subscribe to and I listen for personal growth, research and enjoyment.
These are often long, at least an hour. I do not have an hour or more in my day where I can just sit and listen.
Or so I thought.
Once I’d written my schedule I realized that I spend an hour a day driving to and from work, I have an hour for lunch and usually do a 30-50 min workout at the end of the day plus the drive back home.
Not only during those activities can I listen to podcasts but I can utilise my lunch break to do just that and spend some time outdoors in nature going for a walk (weather permitting) That’s two and a half-ish hours where I am doing other activities but can utilise the time more effectively for self-growth and to learn new things.
Love and define your workouts!
If you don’t love the exercise you’re doing then you won’t do it. It’s as simple as that. Equally, If you don’t know why your exercising, then it’s even harder to work up the drive to do something. Goal setting can really help here, it will give you more focus and something to look forward to.
I find that for me if I think of something as ‘exercise’ I find it harder to work up the motivation. Instead, I don’t class my workouts as ‘exercise’ I class them as ‘self-improvement’, a time where I’m working on my strength, my flexibility, my stamina. Working on my functional fitness so that it will serve me in the ways that I need it do. Even if this is just 10 minutes of stretching.
Focus on your food. I love to get creative in the kitchen by developing recipes and experimenting with new ingredients. Working full time, trying to build my own business and complete further education (not forgetting to spend time with the OH) doesn’t always leave a lot of time for the creation of healthy and nutritious meals.
Many people are so time poor that thinking about their food choices just isn’t a priority. This can lead to the breakdown of healthy habits we might be trying to encourage, and result in food choices which provide us with less than optimal nutrition.
Preparation is key. At the weekend I usually set aside some time to make up components for different meals which can be kept in the fridge. Think a couple types of beans/legumes, roasted veggies, soaked and cooked grains and homemade sauces. This means as soon as I walk through the door I have to hand the components I need for quick, delicious and nourishing meals which can be prepped in minutes.
Lastly, plan 30 minutes of doing nothing. Seriously.
If you really can’t sacrifice 30 then make it 15, even 10. I do this at the end of the day, right before I go to bed. I set aside some time to just sit and think.
During this ‘do nothing’ time all sorts of thoughts, about my day, what I have to do, projects I’m working on, worries, fears, anxieties will often float into my mind. I write them down, acknowledge them. Doing this right before you go to sleep helps to calm your mind and slow down your thoughts.
Having some time, even if it is a small amount, to relax and recharge using a reflective practice such as this will help reduce the level of cortisol (the stress hormone) in your bod’. This aids in promoting better sleep, essential so that you are able to get up the next day and do it all over again.
By monitoring and acknowledging that which is essential to you, your life will begin to reflect your values. This will make remaining faithful and committed to a healthy lifestyle easier in the face of temptations or at the end of a long week. Using these practices and approaching life’s challenges in a more mindful and thoughtful manner you will help set yourself up for success, restoring balance to your busy life.
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