4 Steps to Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle While Working Full-Time
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be difficult to achieve in and of itself, so there’s no question that staying healthy is even more tough when you’re working a full-time job. Whether its in or outside of the home, time is a precious commodity.
For those of us that are fortunate* enough to be working a 9-5 (*insert descriptor you feel is most appropriate); it can especially difficult to make it to the gym post rush-hour traffic on your way home when you have million other things to do, i.e. play taxi driver, pick up the dry cleaning, make some random school project, attend that PTA meeting… you get my drift!
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
If you just reverse engineer your current method of postponing “the healthy stuff” until after work; and instead ,incorporate it in your actual workday – staying healthy might be a bit more attainable than you think. A few small habits go a long way and can lead to more than “getting fit”, but creating a healthy lifestyle that keeps you balanced.
1. PACK YOUR LUNCH
Rule number 1 for all of my fellow work outside the home mams: Pack. Your. Lunch.
You’ve heard it before and I’ll gladly say it again: the easiest way to stay healthy while working full-time, is to bring your own, nutritious lunch. Let’s walk through some of the pro’s and con’s of bringing your lunch to work:
Pack the healthy food you want, according to your preferences
Eat a properly portioned and healthy meal
Save money… a LOT of money.
In other words: win-win-win.
You don’t get to go out for lunch with that one co-worker you don’t like that much anyway.
(Sounds more like a pro, if you ask me.)
What people often struggle with the most is actually finding the time to pack their lunch. After a long day at work, no, you’re not going to want to come home and scrummage through your Tupperware to pack a lunch for the next day. So don’t. Leave the heavy lifting (aka lunch-packing) for a time you’re full of energy: Sunday? Saturday? Tuesday night? Pick one.
How to: Allocate a couple of hours on a Sunday (and/or Wednesday) to get a few lunches packed up and ready for the week. Or, as I like to call it: get down and dirty with your #mealprepsundays.
Not only does this get you to eat healthier for the week – but you save time, worry and money.
2. BRING YOUR WATER BOTTLE WITH YOU, EVERYWHERE
We should all be consuming a minimum of 8 ounces a day! Now since I’m sure we’ve all got a bit of “overachiever-fever” in us, why not down a few more cups? It’s important for us to stay hydrated even while we’re sitting at our desks all day.
How to: Watch out cellphone, we’ve got a new important thang we’re taking everywhere with us: our water bottles. Everywhere I go, my water bottle comes too. This includes meetings, coffee breaks, commutes – literally everywhere. You’ll gradually get into the habit of sipping throughout the day and refilling, and you’ll begin to notice yourself drinking more and more water overtime. Want to keep it interesting? Set yourself up for a challenge. Tell yourself you’re going to consume X bottles of water before 5pm, and track it. This’ll keep you motivated and encouraged, but most importantly, hydrated.
Now as you consume all that liquid: be prepared. You’ll be making a few more runs to the ladies room than expected.
3. FIT YOUR WORKOUT IN
Calling all commuters! This one’s for you. Fitting a workout into your day can be tough, especially when you’ve got a 45+ minute commute each day to the office. But for those of you that don’t have a long commute, you might still struggle with finding the perfect combination of timing high energy to get a workout in. Commuter or not, we’ve got your covered.
How to: Find the best time that works for you to fit in a gym session, HIIT class, spin class, barre class, stroller strides, at home workout and stick to it. I’m highlighting some of the best ways below to sneak a workout in to your oh-so-busy day:
(1) First thing in the morning. We’re talking pre-breakfast, pre-work, and pre-anything! Do it first thing in the morning and get it out of the way. Now if you’re already struggling to wake up in the morning’s, this one’s going to take some practice. If you’ve got a long commute -this one’s likely not for you (Refer to #2 or #3)
(2) During lunch. If you’re lucky enough to have a gym right near your office, take a lunch break and go get your sweat on. It’s an easy way to make sure you get to the gym given that it allows you to get out of the office for a bit too. Not a gym goer? Walk!! Find a route, strap on your tennies and get that booty moving!! Too much work and can’t leave the office? We’ve got a few other options that’ll work for you.
(3) Immediately after work. No, this doesn’t mean go home, eat dinner, relax, and then if you feel like going you go. We’re talking straight from the office to the gym. Have your bag packed (along with some additional snacks) and bring it with you. Make this part of your routine. For those of you that commute by driving and often get stuck in rush-hour traffic – this is a perfect way to get your workout in while avoiding the rush. Join a gym right near your office and go straight after your workday. Once you’re done your workout, you’ve beat the rush hour traffic, and you’ll get home with no time wasted and a workout complete!
(4) Sweat at home. Ya’ll know this is my jam! I do it in the morning from my living room and love it! I love Beachbody on Demand (and if you’re interested let me know), but find what works for you: Kayla Itsines, Tone it Up, Peloton… there are a ton more, so shout them out in the comments!
4. PUT YOURSELF FIRST
By now, you’ve got your lunches packed, your water-bottle filled, and your gym bag all set for tomorrow’s sweaty workout. But there’s just one more thing you need to help maintain that healthy lifestyle while working full-time, and that’s mindset.
Your mental health is important. Throughout your workday, pay attention to how and what you’re feeling, and put yourself first. Remember: work is work and at the end of the day, your health always trumps any major deadline or big deliverable. If you push yourself past your limits, you will burnout as a result. Stress, fatigue, and anxiety are all signs that you might just need a break. Listen to your body and be aware of your stress and exhaustion cues. For me its swollen glands, extreme fatigue… I feel those and I know I need a little TLC.
Just remember: caring for your mind is just as important as caring for your body – one can’t be healthy without the other.