When Things Slow Down…

1 Oct

“When things slow down, I’ll be able to get into a routine and focus on me.”
“After the next deadline, I’ll go back to eating right.”
“Once the kids are back in school, I’ll start exercising regularly.”
“I can’t get enough sleep; I don’t have time to prepare my own food; I’m lucky to squeeze in two sessions at FIT a week, BUT when things slow down….”

In the chaotic rat race called life, the majority of us are over-booked, over-worked and over-committed making it very difficult to find time for the basics: sleeping, eating healthy, exercise, water intake, etc.  Regardless of whether you are a full time mom, working and parenting, or retired, the majority of us fill our plates until they are over-flowing.  On a daily basis, I hear clients, friends, family, etc. say “I’m just so busy.”  For some of you that means, traveling non-stop for work, and running from deadline to deadline all while juggling family life.  For others it involves driving to and from school, from one appointment to the next, and finishing the day with kids at three to four different locations for practices followed by homework.  And then there are some who have a very busy day of bed, bath & beyond, home depot, and Costco followed by a hair appointment, nails, etc.  Everyone’s definition of being “busy” is different, but what seems consistent is that as life gets hectic, the first things pushed to the bottom of the list are the things that keep us running and energized: sleep, nutrition, exercise, water intake, etc.  But when things slow down, you’ll address those again, right?

When things slow down you’ll have time to sleep for more than 4-5 hours, you’ll have time to prepare food for the next day, you’ll have time for that hour-long workout, right?  The reality is, in some way, shape or form you will probably always be busy: as soon as next week’s deadline is met, you will take on another one.  While it is inevitable that there will be weeks where everything does slip because of one task, deadline, or project that takes precedent, in general we have to stop using “I’m just so busy” as an excuse for neglecting the important components of our health and wellness.  These components actually energize us and enable us to perform our jobs and daily tasks more effective and efficiently.  Below are a few tips for addressing these neglected components in the midst of the crazy, hectic times:
1.    Something is Better than Nothing: can’t squeeze in a hour workout, how about 7 minutes of squats, push ups, and sit ups?  Or Tabata squats for 4 minutes?  That burst of “something” may help you reach your weight loss goals faster than that longer slow run you had planned to squeeze in anyway.
2.    Control what you Can and Move on: your company is serving a ‘bad’ meal, the school function is all junk food, etc. etc.  You can’t always control what is put in front of you but you can control how much goes into your mouth.
3.   Take 10: how much can you get done in 10 minutes?  Set a timer and for 10 minutes and do what you didn’t think you had time for:  workout, cut up veggies/prepare a quick meal for the next day, a quick cat nap.  All it takes is 10.
4.    Can’t Sleep?  Don’t stress it. It’s only one night.  Chances are you will not be affected that day and will crash the following night (the key is allowing this crash to happen!).  See Matt’s tips for getting a better nights sleep.
5.    Evaluate your “stresses: understand and appreciate the good stress and learn how to manage the bad stress.
6.   Learn how to say NO: did you just say “yes” to yet another project?  Evaluate and prioritize what is piled on your plate, establish healthy boundaries, and know that it is okay not to do it all.

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