Our work plays a big part in our daily lives. But, it can easily become our main thing because we want to achieve some much in our career. Having ambition is just fine but it shouldn’t ruin our health. Striking the right work-life-health balance is necessary if we want to stay sane along the way.
Determine the triggers
A normal workweek that lasts between 40 to 60 hours comes with a handful of challenges. Tight deadlines, difficult workers, unreasonable clients are just some of the causes of stress. All of these are triggers that cause an emotional response. When people feel this professional overwhelm, they tend to eat their emotions or generally succumb to unhealthy habits.
When you define your triggers, you get a chance to control your emotional response and develop a coping strategy. For example, an angry email from your client can trigger an emotional response. If you respond to this by running off to the vending machine to get chocolate, then you can define this as a response to the stress trigger. The solution here is to have a healthy snack in your desk drawer, like a trail mix.
In order to determine your stress triggers, note down any stressful situation over the past week and how you responded. Then, you’ll know which responses are bad for your long term health. After this, you can work on developing healthier stress responses.
Evaluate your habits
The only way to smash your health goals even when you are the busiest person in the world is to define your daily habits. Make a list of the things you do on workdays and a list of things you do over the weekends. Are these activities healthy or unhealthy? Can you do them all the time without sacrificing your health?
By now you probably know the answer. If regular sleep, exercise, healthy meals, reading, meditating, journaling are not among these, then it is time to reevaluate your habits. Which change of habit will be good for you in the long run? Focus on alternative habits that are good for your wellbeing like eating home cooked meals and taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Think about the ways to incorporate these into your everyday routine if you want to smash your health goals.
Define your goals
Thinking about changing your habits without defining your health goals, won’t lead to a real and sustainable change. Take a moment to pause from being busy all the time to write down a list of your health goals. The New Year celebration is almost here so these can be your resolutions for 2020. Either way, try to define them so you can change your habits accordingly. Small changes are the way to achieve set goals. If you want to lose weight, you need to take one step at a time. Anything different from that will result in you giving up before you even tried to stick to a healthier diet.
Start small, but be smart about steps you have to take to achieve long-term results. These changes should become a part of your lifestyle, not just a temporary whim.
Say no to everything that might ruin your health goals
If your goal is to lose weight by leading a healthy lifestyle, you cannot order a pizza with your coworkers when they ask if you’d like to join. You need to practice saying NO to the things that led you to where you are now.
Saying now is empowering because you get a chance to take hold of the decisions that lead to unwanted results. You’ll also learn how to resist the temptation that might ruin your health goals. The best way to do this is by saying I don’t eat pizza. When you say I can’t eat pizza you remind yourself of the things that don’t align with your goals but are just too good to pass on. The goal here isn’t to force yourself (I can’t) but to remind you of your control of the triggers (I don’t).
Meal prep in advance
A proper diet fuels our body the right way. It gives us the energy we need, fuels our focus, and spreads that energy throughout the day. If your meals are properly structured, you won’t consume your daily calories in just one meal.
This is actually why people gain weight when working crazy hours. They don’t watch what they eat. Instead, they look for a quick boost of energy that is often packed with a thousand calories. Eat a few meals like this throughout your day and slowly your waistline will expand.
The best way to control your cravings is to meal prep in advance. This technique helps you control your cravings and resist the temptation to eat unhealthy meals. Start by making a list of easy recipes. Go grocery shopping and get everything you need for making these meals. The process of meal prepping can be both fun and enjoyable. Moreover, it gives you a chance to reach your healthy eating goals one day at a time.
Once you get used to the process of cooking your own meals and eating them daily, you’ll be one step closer to achieving your weight goals. What’s more, you’ll also maintain them and allow yourself to indulge once in a while and order a pizza with your coworkers. Balance is the key to a healthy and happy life.
Schedule regular exercise days
Regular physical exercise is the only way to reduce the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle. We sit during our workday, which further leads to a slower metabolism, weight gain, back pain, bad posture, and other health issues.
So, add regular exercise to your weekly routine. Aim to work out at least four times a week. If your workouts are intense like boxing our cross fit, you can work out just three times. Many people that work long hours feel like they don’t have time for this. It is all about the way you perceive the time you have. Exercising four times a week takes just four hours of your time during a seven day week. Think of it as a needed daily activity like eating or going to work. You need it if you want to be healthy.
Think of plan B activities for when you do skip your workouts
In case you do have to skip your workout, you can rely on plan B activities. These activities give you a chance to make up for a missed workout. One of these activities is riding an electric bike around the neighborhood. You can turn this into a family activity easily and invite your kids to join. There are many affordable kids bicycles for sale you can get for your kids. All of you will benefit from just 30 minutes of riding and get a chance to spend some quality time together. Apart from building stamina, reducing stress and fatigue, a 30-minute bike ride will improve your memory and creative thinking. You’ll definitely make up for not going to the gym and also sleep better afterward.
Sneak in more movement throughout your day
The best way to achieve this is to get reminded to take active breaks during your work hours. Set up a timer to remind you to stand up every hour. You can walk around the office, go and ask your worker something about work, pick up a fresh glass of water or simply do some stretching exercises.
These short breaks won’t disrupt your work-flow but will add up at the end of the day and have a positive impact on your body. Whenever you can, skip the elevator and take the stairs. Walk while you talk on the phone and have active meetings.
You can also switch your chair for an exercise ball and work on your balance and posture while working. Standing desks take the pressure off of our backs, so they are also a great option. Either way, aim to walk as much as you can throughout your day and you’ll reduce the negative effects of sitting all the time.
Snacking can ruin your healthy eating efforts if you don’t plan them wisely. First, keep a bottle of water near you all the time. Many times people snack on something is just their thirst craving water, not food. Next time you feel like eating a snack, drink a glass of water first. If you still feel like eating aim to have the following instead.
Fruit – a piece of fruit has more value than a sugary snack. It might be a thing you need to keep you full until the next real meal. Berries, kiwis, apples or bananas are your best choice but be moderate.
Greek yogurt – mixed with fruit or low carb granola can be a nice snack between meals. Make sure you keep the portion small.
Trail mix – this is an ideal after-lunch snack to keep you full until dinner. Healthy fats are the reason to eat nuts but you should pay attention to the portion size, A handful of nuts is a recommended dosage.
Self-care is a health care
Finding time for self-care is essential for long term health. This is especially true for people who work a lot and sacrifice everything else to achieve professional goals. Unfortunately, working non-stop might stop you from achieving your professional goals because you might reach burnout. To avoid burning out before you reach your goals, find the time for self-care. Reading, journaling, meditating can all put your mind at ease and reduce any work-related stress. Find the time for fun and you’ll see how focused you are later at work.
Say yes to sleep
Sleep is just as important as a nutritious diet. It is the source of energy and it should be on our daily to-do list. Lack of sleep can also contribute to burnout. But, proper sleep hygiene can reverse any side-effects of stress and even increase focus and productivity later on. The road to a good night’s sleep starts with an exercise in the afternoon followed by a nutritious meal. Then, spend at least two hours on a tech-free wind-down routine before sleep. Once your body gets used to sleeping regularly each night, you’ll even achieve more during your 9 to 5.
These tips are super-easy with the right mindset. This isn’t something you have to do. It is something you chose to do for your own benefit and a better life. Strike a proper balance and achieve more during your 9-5.