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. For those of us that are fortunate* enough to be working a 9-5 (*insert descriptor you feel is most appropriate); it can be hard making it to the gym post rush-hour traffic on your way home; or trying to cook a healthy dinner after a long sluggish day.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
If we reverse engineer our current methods of postponing “the healthy stuff” until after work; and instead incorporate it in our actual workday – staying healthy might be a bit more attaintable than you think. A few small habits go a long way, and can lead up to not just “getting fit”, but creating a healthy lifestyle that keeps you balanced.
1. Pack your lunch
Rule number 1 for all of my fellow corporettes: 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, however, 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’s.
How to: Allocate a couple of hours on a Sunday (and/or Wednesday) to get a few lunches packed up and ready for your work week. Or, as I like to call it: get down and dirty with your #mealprepsundays.
Not only does this get you to eat healthy for the week – but you actually save a significant amount of time, instead of trying to do all of this night after night during the work week.
2. Bring your water bottle with you, EVERYWHERE
We should all be consuming a minimum of 8 cups of fluids 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 we go, our water bottle comes too. This includes meetings, coffee breaks, subway 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, so be sure to leave some buffer time as you run from meeting to meeting. 😉
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 x 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, 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! Hit the gym 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. 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. Now for this one: proceed with caution. There are several great workout guides nowadays that show you how to get a good workout in right from the comfort of your own home. Working out at home of course provides you with more flexibility when it comes to timing. The only issue with this though, is that sometimes home can be a little too comfortable, which puts you back in the place you started. It’s easy to skip a workout here and there when there’s not an actual outside-of-the-home-routine associated with it. I would suggest getting a good rhythm and routine on your workouts before you opt-in to “at-home” workouts only.
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, it’s important for you to pay attention to how and what you’re feeling, and put yourself first. Remember that work is work, and your health always trumps any major deadline or big deliverable you’ve got going on. 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. Observe yourself, be aware, and listen to your body, because nothing is as important as your well-being.
Just remember: caring for your mind is just as important as caring for your body – one can’t be healthy without the other.