Recently my wife and I had our second child. While raising a child is one of the ultimate satisfactions of life, the commitment can be a sacrifice to our health. The time spent at home with our newborn required me to modify my daily routine a bit to maintain my healthy lifestyle. It reminded me of how important good healthy habits are when my time and energy is focused on something other than myself.
Your health is of the utmost importance. If you're not healthy, how can you expect to perform your responsibilities to the best of your ability? There's a reason airlines advise you to place your own oxygen mask before helping others in an emergency; it's because you are no good to others if you can't breathe yourself. Well, it's the same with your health. If your mind, body, and spirit are not in good health, you can't perform at 100% of your capability.
Life is interesting, and it presents you with challenges every single day. Many of those challenges can easily throw you off your healthy lifestyle, even with strong healthy habits. The birth of a child, the loss of a loved one, stress at work, imbalance at home, social distractions, travel, etc. These are a select few of the many things in your life that occupy your time, effort, and focus and can lead you into making poor decisions with your health.
But not you, not today, and not tomorrow or any other day. You have built strong healthy habits that are the foundation of your life. You won't let life's challenges derail your journey on a healthy lifestyle. In fact, it's life's challenges that are the very reason you've built strong habits. Strong habits are tough to break.
So when you find yourself in one of life's situations that requires much of your time, effort, and/or focus, make sure you maintain your healthy lifestyle by practicing the basics of your healthy habits. Here's a refresh of the basic healthy habits to keep you grounded, as well as a few ideas to minimize the impact to your health during challenging times.
5 Ways to Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
1. Continue to Practice Healthy Eating Habits
Having healthy eating habits is the ultimate way to stay healthy. If you didn't know, diet is the secret to good health. The majority of your health is through eating, so more than anything else, it is important to maintain healthy eating habits to have a healthy lifestyle.
When people get busy, they often let their diet deteriorate. This happens for many reasons, some of which are because people eat when they're stressed, they make poor nutrition choices when their mind is focused elsewhere, and they eat the first thing available for convenience. No matter the reason, a change to a poor diet can be avoided by practicing fast and simple healthy eating habits. Healthy eating habits include eating slowly, planning meals, and never skipping a meal.
Check out my Beginner's Guide to Eating Healthy for more ways to eat healthier on a busy schedule.
2. Keep up with your Morning Routine
Get up at the same time every day, stretch, drink water, eat protein, and plan your day. If you stay consistent with your morning routine, you stand a great chance of maintaining your health. You already know you may not be able to perform your morning routine every singe day like clockwork. That's fine; you're not a robot. Variety is important to keeping you excited in life. In fact, excitement keeps your mind healthy.
But a morning routine is one of the basics of a healthy lifestyle, and a very easy one at that. If you have been practicing a daily morning routine regularly, you know how it makes you feel positive and prepares you for success each day. If you're out late one night and sleep in the next day, fine. But get back on track the next day. Don't get the protein you need for breakfast; ok, but make up for it at lunch. Get derailed by a fire drill and can't plan your day; that's understandable, but make time to plan the remainder of your day when things have settled.
3. Make the Best of Your Free Time
I bet you would love to have an hour, or even 30 minutes, each day allocated to exercising. But that's unreasonable to expect in your life. If you're like me, 20-30 minutes for just 2-3 days a week is sometimes a stretch. And when life is so busy, exercising often gets eliminated from your to-do list. But just because you can't get in a 20-30 minute workout doesn't mean you have to forget physical fitness entirely.
5 minutes is all you need to keep your body in proper form. If you have 5 minutes, do a set of push-ups and sit-ups. You can do this several times a day. It doesn't have to be push-ups and sit-ups each time. Jump on your home workout equipment, perform some core exercises, climb stairs, etc. Whatever exercises you choose is fine. Just do something to engage your muscles and fluctuate your heart rate.
Although you may not be able to get the recommended 30 minutes of daily exercise that many health professionals recommend, that doesn't mean you're not physically fit. Adding up a few 5 minute workouts in a day can do wonders for your body, not to mention your mental health and emotional well being.
4. Make Walks your Cardio
Walking is one of the easiest ways to maintain your health with a busy schedule. Walking regularly not only can help maintain your weight or even lose weight, but it's also beneficial to your total well being. Getting outside to walk can help elevate your mood, provide distraction from whatever stresses you, and give you some much needed Vitamin D from sunshine.
Try power walks of 20 minutes or less throughout the day. Can't find a free 20 minutes? Bring your phone with you and make calls during your walk. Walk with your family and make it a family bonding event. When driving somewhere, park in the back of the lot and walk the extra steps. Better yet, walk to your destination if it's close enough. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
There are numerous ways to walk more in your day, so don't let a busy schedule prevent you from getting a sufficient amount of daily exercise to maintain your health. Added tips: vary your speed when walking to increase the calorie burn and change your heart rate. Include hills to work different lower body muscles and increase the intensity.
5. Be Present
Many of us think we are good at multitasking, which involves doing 2 or more things at once. But scientifically people cannot multitask. Multitasking results in our brains switching back and forth between ideas, leading to loss of attention, errors, and more time spent on the tasks. For you who already has a busy schedule, multitasking can be disastrous to your production. So what do you do?
Be undeniably present in one task at a time. If you're at work, focus your mind on your work. If you're with your family, be engaged with your family. Don't communicate (other than for emergencies) with your family when at work, and don't respond to work when you're with your family. This can be applied to anything you're involved in. Put 100% of your mind's focus on a task. Eliminate distractions. Not only will you be more productive, but your relationships will improve because you are engaged with people, and your stress levels will decrease because you are not thinking about something else.
Added tip: schedule your time for certain tasks so there is a clear start and stop. This helps your brain to unconsciously switch from one task to another, and helps you to organize your presence.
You are faced with challenges every day that make you feel busier and busier. Managing your schedule is a challenge in itself. But don't let a busy schedule wreak havoc on your health. You are solely responsible for your health, and you are the only one that can make the choice to be healthy or not. Don't let other factors influence your health decisions. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will be a main contributor of success in other areas of your life.
For hacks on how to help you create healthy habits, check out How To Build Healthy Habits. If you have a tip, question, or comment about healthy eating habits, please share it in the comments section or post it on our facebook page.