We’ve all been there.
The good intentions, the niggling thoughts of staying on track and the feeling of fuck-it when in between back-to-back meetings and endless emails you reach for that charity chocolate box to get you through that afternoon slump.
The constant feeling of not having enough time where the week goes by and the weekend goes by even faster.
And that’s just one day.
Being healthy is HARD.
I have to plan when I want to exercise and usually because it ends up being after work, I’m tired and hungry and really just want nothing more to face plant into some McDonalds. The nature of my work means I’m never around in one place and can’t always make something healthy to eat.
For those of us working full-time jobs, or even full-time lives filled with children, family, study and then trying to have a semblance of a social life – our health is usually the last thing on our minds.
More and more people are trying to cram into their days and the excuse of “I don’t have time for that” seems to be getting more common.
But it doesn’t have to be (that) difficult (there ARE still days when I do face plant into some McDonalds. No guilt) – with a little dedication and creativity you can be sure you are making the best choices all day.
Here’s a few tips on what works for me – I’ll be making this into a post series and going into each one a little more to help you guys out as well, so stay tuned!
- EAT BREAKFAST – Yeah we all know this one. Stop rolling your eyes. There is a reason why this is even more important when you are working full-time and trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. If you’re anything like me and wake up with only half an hour to get dressed and get to work, it helps to plan a little ahead. I cook my brekkie and take it with me to work (something like oatmeal or a Chobani Greek yogurt tub with some granola or scrambled eggs with toast) or whip up my favourite go-to quick portable breakfast – a green smoothie. I find if I have something a little more substantial in the mornings, it helps to stave away those mid-morning cravings when I’m eyeing the choc muffin when getting my coffee. Seriously, a couple of minutes is all it takes.
- PACK YOUR LUNCH/SNACKS – I can see you thinking, woman, who has the time to eat breakfast AND pack lunch that is healthy? But hear me out. More often than not, when I’m hungry and need to buy lunch I find myself in front of the pizza line or spending my lunch break looking for something somewhat healthy. Sound familiar? To be completely honest, lunch for me is usually leftovers from dinner (ALWAYS the best – no preparations!) or in a pinch, I grab a can of tuna and some pre-cooked rice which is a great meal with enough protein and carbs to keep me full. I try and do that with all my meals – even snacks. Keep something in your drawer or lunchbox (Yes I have a lunchbox. Don’t hate.) like almonds, yogurt, cheese etc when you’re feeling peckish to nibble on.
- DRINK WATER – I saw that eye roll. But, listen, really guys – you need to stay hydrated. More often than not and especially when sitting in dry air-conditioned offices, we mistake our thirst for hunger. I like to mix it up with some coconut water which is awesome for hydration and helps to replace those electrolytes. (Plus it’s so much more interesting than plain water sometimes.) (Although I had a glass last night that suspiciously looked like pee. Just saying.)
- MAKE EXCUSES TO MOVE - There is a growing amount of research out there shows that sitting for hours a time may shorten your life (not to scare you or anything!). So as a side effect from drinking so much water, naturally I have to go pee. In fact, it’s a common joke that I have a tiny bladder (and there re some people in my life that will go to extraordinary lengths to make me laugh when I need to go). I don’t mind the jokes because I actually use it as an excuse to get out of my chair and move around – even if it just down the hall. One thing I’m hugely bad at and should do more often is getting up and walking around to talk to colleagues. Email and phone is just so convenient – but that little extra time spent stretching your limbs will be helpful in the long run. Take the stairs!
(Awkward selfie. Clearly in the morning)
- EXERCISE IN THE MORNING – I want to be a morning person – I really do. One of the biggest things conducive to making sure I exercise is actually being alert and motivated – and after work and once I get home – well, faceplanting into McDonalds and not moving from the couch is very tempting. When I do manage to exercise in the morning – it’s bloody tough, but I do it and get it out of the way. I’m refreshed and energised and when I get home from work, I can do anything I want! The other thing that I find if I have to workout in the evenings is – having someone with me to make me accountable for it. That could be a personal trainer, workout buddy, a group fitness class – anything with a little structure in it that means there is less room for wiggling out.
Mind and Soul
- DON’T IGNORE STRESS – There are times when shit really hits the fan and work is sometimes the last place you would rather be. Deadlines, emails, work coming out of the wazoo – I’ve been there. But sometimes, it really is the way we have been looking at things rather than the situation themselves that make us feel overwhelmed. To help me manage this I try and keep boundaries between my work and personal time – as technology advances and we are connected all the time, the expectation to be always connected and switched ON is as well. As much as I can, I try not to take work home with me or think about it once I have left the office. That is my ME time. Schedule breaks regularly AT work – no matter how busy you are. Even just half an hour for a coffee with a friend can help you feel that it’s a bit more manageable. Try to say no to extra work (ha!) – honestly, there WILL be someone else that can do it. Take deep breaths and close your eyes for a few minutes. Disconnect for a while. You will feel incredible.
These are just a few ways that I try and keep healthy while also working full time and having a life as well. We don’t have to do everything and need to know that work is just a part of our life as much as everything else. What remains constant is ourselves.
I think it really is about how we approach each day and our choices. That’s not to say if you make a choice that takes you away from you goal to give up completely, no, but more to realise that each little decision we make will eventually lead to bigger ones and help us on our way to being the best possible person we can be.
How do you keep healthy while working full time?