Fitting in Health & Fitness When Your Life is Jam-Packed: Part 1
Another evening of mottled sleep leaves you wandering around like a strained zombie? Deadlines at work are looming, yet more keeps piling on your plate? When these are your primary experiences, it’s a challenge to make time for exercise and healthy eating.
Does your work life stretch you thin and leave no time for extras? Or perhaps your children and busy life consume most of your waking hours and leave you exhausted, with hardly any energy left at the end of the day for more than a glass of wine and some primetime TV viewing. If you find yourself way too busy and exhausted to prepare healthy foods and stay committed to regular fitness, consider the following:
Putting out energy produces more energy. The irony is that although you may be so tired that the last thing you want to do is get up and chop vegetables or get changed and get yourself to the gym, the investment will pay off tenfold. If you’re having trouble mustering up the gumption, push yourself; or find someone to push you, such as a coach, a personal trainer, or someone who cares about your well-being. Vibrant health habits, especially when practiced on a regular basis, give us superpowers.
When our plate of activities and commitments is so full that we can barely breathe… and we pray for just one day to ’sleep in’ until even 8 am… we eat on the go, and try to perk up for the next meeting or event with yet another coffee… we are staying in a cycle of just getting by. We spend each day making it through activity to activity, and compounding the stress of an overwhelming lifestyle by neglecting our physical needs. As problems arise, whether they are stress at work, challenges with our growing children, financial shortage, and all of the other incidentals of life, we become more and more weighed down and too exhausted for anything more.
Yet, the real solution for handling it all lies in treating your body right. All of the things that life throws at you can be handled with more ease if your body is in balance. It’s the mind-body connection. Your ability to handle stress weighs on your mind’s functioning, and ultimately your nervous system. If you aren’t feeding your body the right foods or moving it as it was designed to be, then your mind will be much less resourceful at handling what’s on your plate. Consider the popular analogy of the well-oiled machine. When you take proper care of a car, it will perform much better for you than if you neglect to change the oil, or tune it up regularly.
So, step one is to adjust your attitude. The more you affirm “I’m too tired, too stressed, and too busy”, the more you belittle the importance of your body in the bigger equation of your life. Watch what you tell yourself about exercise or healthy food prep: “I have to workout. Sigh… I don’t feel like it.” I frequently remind clients that the commitments they make in life are a choice, not a sentence. If you tell yourself that you don’t have time for something, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Here’s an alternative: put it at the top of your priority list, and it becomes “I choose to” and “I’ll do whatever I can to preserve time and space for maintaining my health”, rather than “How could I possibly squeeze this in?”
Prioritize your health habits. You may have to do some re-arranging of commitments, or even knock something off your plate, but the bottom line is that if you want optimum performance in work and life, if you want to be well-equipped to provide a quality experience for your family, then taking care of your physical well-being should be a non-negotiable.
Most importantly, watch your language. If you notice that what you say about your time or commitments includes such phrases as “not enough time” or “too tired/stressed”, it’s time to reframe things. Making time to take care for your physical health will give you the biggest ROI (return on your investment) and the dividends will impact every area of your life.