Are you struggling to keep up with the demands of daily life, and worried about the consequences on your health? Guest blogger Angela Simpson, food enthusiast & athlete, shares with us 6 tips to stay on top of your health and busy schedule!
Let’s face it: the long, lazy days of summer are behind us, and that means back to school, back to work, and back into a more routine schedule. I don’t know about you, but for me, these days it certainly feels like I’ve got fewer hours than I need to tick all of my to-do’s off of my list!
I know I’m not the only one with a busy schedule, and I’m sure you’ve also got plenty of projects on your plate. Sometimes it’s easy to let our health fall by the wayside when life gets busy, but there are a few practices I’ve learned over the years that help to ensure things get done while still living an active, healthy lifestyle. I’d love for you to give them a try!
Tip #1: Be prepared with portable, nutritious meals
It’s inevitable – even with the most carefully-planned schedule, at some point you’re likely to find yourself in a time crunch. We don’t always have the time to cook up meals from scratch in our kitchens, so in these cases I always have a few portable, grab-and-go healthy options on hand. These include trail mix (sometimes prepared by me, or store-bought varieties such as Prana’s trail mix blends), whole fruit, and whole grain crackers (Mary’s Gone Crackers are my gluten-free favourites). If I have a few minutes, I also blend up a green smoothie using whatever greens are in my fridge, a few superfood mix-ins, and Vega One or Vega Performance Protein. (You’ll find a whole bunch of my best smoothie blends here.) All of these options are nutrient-dense foods that I know will give me sustainable energy on my busiest days.
Tip #2: Schedule exercise like you schedule meetings
Think about it: You wouldn’t accept a meeting at work and not turn up, right? Think of exercise in the same way – as meetings that you’re expected to show up to. I personally prefer to plan most of my sweat sessions in the early morning, before any other commitments pop up and get in the way. I also like morning workouts because I find that by the end of the work day, my brain is fatigued and the fewer decisions I need to make, the better. However, if evenings work better for you, then stick to that! Typically I’ll schedule 7 fitness sessions per week, and that way if something comes up (and let’s be honest, it’s bound to happen), I’ll still have done plenty of physical activity when all the other days are combined.
Tip #3: Sneak activity into your day
Don’t have time to get to a spin class, to the gym, or out for a run? You can still stay active during the day! A few ways I do this include walking to and from work, walking to do errands rather than driving when possible, carrying heavy bags of groceries up the stairs of my building rather than taking the elevator, and stretching out my tight runner’s hamstrings and hip flexors while blow-drying my hair in the morning.
Tip #4: Use a planning tool
My go-to system for all of my commitments, from work meetings and exercise dates to meal prep time and grocery shopping, is Google Calendar. Since I can see on my laptop and on my phone, I’m less likely to forget about things I need to get done on any given day, and this kind of organization system prevents important projects from being left until the last minute. If you prefer non-digital planning, a paper planner also works. If you need to make sure everyone in your family knows what’s going on each day, a large calendar on the fridge at home is a great option. T
ip #5: Multi-task when it makes sense
With so many digital distractions these days, I think most people could do with more single tasking than multi-tasking. However, there are a few areas where I believe multi-tasking makes sense. For example, you could make cleaning your house more fun by talking to a friend on your phone’s headset, or be inspired by your favourite health and fitness podcasters while doing meal prep for the week.
Tip #6: Geek out on sleep
It doesn’t matter how many time-saving tricks and practices you follow if you’re too tired to use any of them, right? Getting quality sleep is huge, and while the perfect number of hours may vary by person, there are a few things you can do to maximize your sleep quality: