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Women are busy individuals. Whether you are balancing work, family, school, or a combination of the three, your plate always seems to stay full. A packed schedule and laundry list of responsibilities don’t make for a lot of time to focus on your overall wellness, but there are several simple ways you can sneak some health into your daily grind.
Get Plenty of Rest
Sleep is another way your body gets the fuel it needs to power through those busy days. No matter how busy you are, do your best to get on a sleep schedule. Start by honing in on your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, known as your circadian rhythm. Find a bedtime that works for you but also allows you to get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each night. If the bedtime you choose is earlier than you’ve been going to bed, slowly ease into it by going to bed 15 minutes earlier until you reach your desired time. Also, make sure your bedroom is set up for optimal sleep by blocking out light, turning the air down to stay cool, and using a sound machine to relax and block out noise. Keep tabs on any pain or discomfort you feel as you try to fall asleep, as it might be time to replace your pillows. There are plenty of options (memory foam, latex, down, etc.) to meet your preferences such as firmness, filling, and ventilation, so shop around online. If it’s been a while since you purchased a new mattress (say, more than five years), now might be the time to replace it as well.
Prep for the Week
We tend to tell ourselves that we are going to try to eat better this week, but when you are in a rush, you opt for the convenience of fast food rather than a nutritious home-cooked meal. To stay on track, use a portion of Sunday to meal prep. Make it less of a headache by creating a grocery list that is sorted by aisles so you don’t waste hours in the store or become tempted to stray from the list. Stock up on fruits, veggies, and protein that you can cut/prepare and freeze. Search for recipes online; there are plenty of nutritious and delicious recipes, including protein bowls, salad jars, and smoothie bags. You can also prepare portion-controlled snacks for the week. These can come in handy when your stomach starts rumbling mid-afternoon, and it can help fight the urge to hit the vending machine for a quick and easy fix.
Fuel Your Body
Eating right requires that you fuel your body, but empty calories are lurking everywhere – even in foods that seem healthy such as fruit juice. What are empty calories? According to Healthline, “When it comes to food, empty means that that food contains little or no essential vitamins or minerals,” so essentially these calories offer no nutritional value. It can be hard to put down the ice cream, but try to reach for foods packed with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, legumes, and low-fat dairy. If you aren’t sure just how many calories you are consuming and whether you are meeting your daily nutritional goals, download a calorie-counting app such as MyFitnessPal to see a visual representation of your eating habits so that you can make adjustments if needed.
Squeeze in Exercise
You already know how important exercise is, but squeezing it into a busy schedule makes it easier said than done. Try to schedule workout days into your week, whether it is a quick gym session or a walk around the neighborhood. Sneak exercise into your day too by taking the stairs whenever possible, parking in the back of the lot, and making use of every possible moment to get some steps in such as while on the phone, on your lunch break, or between commercials when you are catching up on your favorite show. Also, you can pick up some affordable exercise equipment to help create a small, personal home gym. If it helps, think of exercise as an important meeting that you have to keep.
Life stays busy, but that’s not a reason to let your health fall by the wayside. Find ways to incorporate wellness into your busy schedule. It might take some getting used to, but your body will thank you for it in the long run.