Health In The Fast Lane: Just Because You’re Busy Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Be Healthy

Busy busy busy.

It seems like these days we are just getting busier and busier.  Between working, sleeping, exercising, raising a family and having some kind of time to yourself not to mention time with friends, it looks like we are over-scheduled, over-booked, over-tired, over-planned and just over-over.

Where is the time where we get to be healthy?

Do we sneak it in between breakfast and work?  Or maybe we can multi-task and do it while we work?  Or maybe our family and friends don’t need our full attention and we can take care of it then?

Truth be told, it’s getting harder and harder for any of us to work anything else into our already jam-packed lives, that is, unless what we’re trying to work in is a priority.

Ah, the magic word: Priority.

What we value in our lives we will always make time for- that’s just a fact of life.

So, despite being busy, you’ve decided that being healthy and living healthy is a priority.


Now where do you start?

There are a few strategies that you can use in order to keep your sanity despite a hectic schedule.  And as an added bonus, all of these strategies can be made to fit a busy family just as easily as it can be to fit a busy individual’s lifestyle.

You can be healthy on a tight schedule or as I like to call it, Health in the Fast Lane.

1. Plan on Planning: If you are truly busy, then planning is a necessity.  Whether it’s planning meals, planning time for exercise, time for sleep, time for pure relaxation, planning for childcare if needed, getting your ducks in a row is going to be very helpful. The easiest way to plan for health is to find a way to streamline what you do in your free time.  For example, when you go food shopping, know what you need ahead of time, try to make as few stops as you need and give yourself a time frame in which to get it all done.  It’s not about aiming for perfection, but rather about saving yourself  some time.

2. Chunk your time: Speaking about time, think about the tasks that you need to complete each day, each week or each month.  Find a way to “chunk” your time, meaning to group together similar tasks to get them done quicker and more efficiently.  This is a good stress management tool that will pay huge dividends in the future.

3. Never Neglect your Sleep: Ignore the “what’s the minimum amount of sleep that I need to be functional?” conversation. You need to sleep.  Period.  End of story.  If you neglect your sleep, you raise your stress hormones and your fat-storing hormones.  You tend to become cranky and less productive.  All of these spell out poor health.  If you need 8 hours of sleep per night, schedule that in and try to deviate as little as possible.

4. Become Creative with your Workouts: A gym is not a prerequisite for exercise. Find ways to incorporate exercise or movement of any kind in your day to day life that may be a little outside of your normal.  Only have 15 minutes to spare? Find a way to sneak in some body weight exercises such as push-ups and squats with some kind of cardiovascular exercise such as jumping jacks, running in place or jumping rope.  Have kids?  Find a way to include them.  Playgrounds can be for adults too, just like public parks.  Whatever it is, get creative.  The key is to make a part of your daily life in a way where you won’t feel forced to head to a gym if you really can’t find the time.  Make it fit wherever and however you can. Oh yeah and make it fun.

5. Pre-packaged can be Healthy: If you can read labels, then you will make your life a whole lot easier.  Pre-made meals may seem like a bad idea, but if you’re short on time and patience, they may be just what you need.  The trick to successfully navigating the pre-packaged foods is to read the labels.  Check the sugar and sodium levels.  Check if there is any trans fat or if there is an asterisk next to the fat content.  Be aware of the ingredients in your food.  If it sounds like a chemical, it probably is.  Just don’t let yourself discount something just because of what you think its made of.  Find out for yourself.  Take the extra 2 minutes now.

6. Ask for Help: There is nothing wrong with needing help or asking for it, for that matter.  If you need it, ask for it.  Nothing earth shattering about that.  Trust me, your ego will survive and will thank you, eventually.

7. Give Yourself Time to do Nothing: Even if you take 10 minutes out each day to do nothing, then consider that a victory.  The human body cannot be in go-go-go mode 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  We’re just not made that way.  Find a way to take time out each and every day to just be alone with yourself.  Try to do as little as possible.  However it looks to you, spend the time on yourself.  It’s a small price to pay for the gift of sanity and for healthy adrenals.

8. Enjoy a leisurely Mealtime: Yes we are still talking Health in the Fast Lane, operative word being health.  Just because the rest of your day is crazy, that doesn’t mean that you can’t take time out to really enjoy your meals.  Breathe between bites.  Engage in conversation if you can.  Use nice plates and silverware.  Slow down the process of chewing and eating.  Let your body tell you when its had enough.  Rushing your meal can very easily lead to over-eating.  Over-eating = eventual poor health

9. Make Time for Fun, even Scheduled Time: I’m all about planning and that has unfortunately led into planning playtime.  In my mind, at least I’m doing something fun.  Fun is necessary for every single person on this planet.  And it is crucial for good health.  You shouldn’t need proof for that, just believe me.  And, by the way, doing nothing is not the same as doing something fun.

Even with these nine strategies, you can see how the possibilities are almost endless.  There are so many ways to fit in a healthy lifestyle into a busy lifestyle.  All it takes is a little creativity, a little finesse and a whole bunch of experimentation.

What sounds good to you?  What is one thing that you want to try right away?

Go on, just do it.

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