[The Good Life] 5 tips to squeezing health into a busy work schedule
Be it taking a con call while briskly walking or prepping your meals for the week on a Sunday, there are ways you can infuse doses of health into your busy life.
The adoption of a fast-paced lifestyle has increased the number of lifestyle-related ailments like chronic neck and back pain, diabetes, obesity, Vitamin D deficiency, and others. The situation is amplified with the increase in pollution, toxins, and even stress in our surrounding environment.
Hence, it is important we start making the right choices and taking care of our health, by adopting a balanced lifestyle.
For those of us who have a desk job and work for more than eight hours at a stretch staying healthy can get challenging.
Some of the common challenges we could be facing include:
- Working until late, leading to unhealthy eating choices, like fried snacks, chips, instant noodles etc.
- Lack of exercise, leading to fatigue at work.
- Lack of time to pack lunch boxes.
- And often, not getting the time to plan or think about our health and food.
So here is a plan on how you can help fight the above challenges and work towards leading a healthy lifestyle.
Keep a safety box of (healthy) food
A lot of times, our meal times could go way off from routine, because of meetings or travel. We might not have time to get a good dose of nutritious food at those times.
Here is where you create a 'safety box' which has an assortment of healthy food and keep it on your desk or wherever is the place that you are trapped most of your working hours.
This box would contain healthy food options like
Energy bars, dry nuts, bowl of fresh fruits etc. The key is food on-the-go, which you can simply grab and eat.
Plan and prep meals for the week
To avoid the temptation of takeout food, we suggest you use the days that you are off to plan and prep meals for the entire week. Keep some sauce ready, chop up some vegetables and greens, and keep some cooked whole grains handy – pack them up in different combos in the fridge and have your own customised salad bar throughout the week. Or whip up an easy fresh fruit, oats and yogurt parfait for a quick breakfast jar.
Cut back on caffeine
A common drink to get that instant boost of energy is coffee. Instant coffees or even sodas will provide the much-needed relief but they will backfire on your health in the long run.
You probably cannot completely do without coffee, especially after a long meeting, but avoid drinking caffeinated drinks few hours before you are about retire for the night and sleep. Instead, opt for a glass of warm milk along with dry fruits or even a glass of turmeric milk.
This allows the body to recover and flush out the toxins especially since caffeine stays in the body for at least three-five hours. You can always switch to green tea or even healthier options like fresh fruit juices.
Incorporate exercise as and when you can
While there are some organisations that have office gyms and yoga studios on their premises, most people don’t get the time to take advantage of such benefits. That doesn’t mean that you cannot exercise. Skip the traditional and opt for innovative exercises that you can include in your daily schedule. Cycle or walk to your work, use the stairs, skip your social media and take a walk for 30 minutes to connect with someone after lunch, or take your meetings and one-on-ones as a walk down the road.
And then, of course, there are the basic ones like stretching, leg circles, chair squats and knee lifts and much more that you can practice when you are sitting on your chair.
Get a healthy dose of realism
Even with the best of intentions, sometimes our body is too tired from hectic work schedules that it simply refuses exertion of any kind. The mind, too, gets affected and the result is sadness, and a constant feeling of fatigue.
What is important is to realise the truth. If unconventional work schedules don’t let you exercise, just be truthful to yourself. Instead of going to a full-fledged gym and eventually letting go of your membership midway, do something that you love. Take your dog for a walk. Go for evening walks with a friend. Play with your children. Try something new and you will feel rejuvenated and refreshed.
Working long and maintaining a healthy life is not easy, but it is not impossible. However, you might have to squeeze in some healthy habits to live healthier and stress-free. Try these simple steps first and don’t forget to smile.