Happy Humpday!! Is this week going by quickly or slowly? I can’t tell…
Whatever it is, I’ll take it! In any case, I’ve been wanting to share this post with you guys for awhile because I honestly know the struggle of trying to live a healthy lifestyle when you have a 9-5 and I think so many of you can relate. I mean, any job that requires you to sit for a certain number of hours, or even devote that many hours to one thing, can be super hard on your body and really hard to plan around.
Though I’m still trying to figure it out, I think I’ve gotten so much better at making my health a priority with this lifestyle. As you all know, I use to be a professional dancer, so going from being an athlete to sitting at a desk for 8 hours was kind of a shock both mentally and physically. I’ve been working a full-time, regular adult job for a year and a half now and here are a few things I do to take care of my mind and body!
1. Plan ahead – I put this one at number one because it seriously is! I don’t know a lot, but I can promise you that if you don’t take the time to think ahead, you probably won’t be able to stick to the healthiest choices. I literally live by my planner, but if that’s not for you, then just take a moment to scan at your calendar or just think about what you have coming up for the week. For me, I always like to plan a rough schedule of my meals so that I know what to buy at the grocery store, when I’ll be going out to eat, when I can squeeze in my workouts, and when I have downtime to re-group and refresh.
2. Stock up on the goods – Okay something else I can promise you: if you don’t have garbage in your pantry and fridge, you can’t eat it. Now that’s just common sense! I personally know that if stock up on fresh fruits and veggies, healthy whole grains, sources of protein, and nutritious snacks, then I’m obviously going to be eating those things. Granted, I also know myself and if I don’t provide a cushion for the times my sweet tooth is raging, I’m SOL and will without a doubt head out on an impulse trip to find whatever dessert I can get my hands on. So this is something I like to plan ahead and stock up on, too – healthier options for when I need to calm my raging sweet tooth😅 (ie. fruit like apples or frozen mangos, portion-controlled servings of dark chocolate, etc.). I like to make a grocery list so that I know exactly what I need going into it.
3. Schedule my workouts in like meetings – Like I said, my planner holds the key to my entire life. If I don’t pencil in time to workout the days that I want to, it’s probably not going to happen because a) I don’t see it on the page so I’ll put something else in that slot and b) out of sight, out of mind. I recently joined ClassPass, and also purchased classes to other studios, that use online scheduling. What’s so great about this is that you pretty much have to sign up in advance, otherwise you risk not getting a spot. They also usually have penalties for cancelling last minute which is both good and bad, but honestly mostly good because it keeps you accountable😂
4. Take advantage of breaks – So I know I’m extremely lucky to be able to step away from my desk at lunch, but I’m sure that whatever your situation, you can take a 15-minute break to take a stroll around the block! Whether it’s during a phone meeting, or even a few moments in between them, I highly recommend taking this time to get up and get out. I usually eat lunch at my desk while working so that I can use my break to walk outside. While I aim for 30-45 minutes of walking and listening to my favorite podcasts or calling family, sometimes all I can swing is 10 or 15 minutes. It’s amazing how energized I feel afterwards and how much better my back feels, too! Besides, it’s not good for our eyes (or brains, let’s be real) to be staring at a screen all day.
5. Prioritize Sleep – While working out and eating healthy are obviously great and important and blah blah blah, SLEEP is your best friend. Have you ever had one of those days where you slept like garbage the night before, or woke up too early, and the rest of the day is absolute hell because you can’t function and just want to shovel in pizza? Yep. Been there! So, the point is, if you’re trying to choose between your 6am workout class or more sleep, the class just ain’t worth it if it’s going to derail your entire day (both mind AND body). On those days, just go for your walk instead, or even throw on a 10-minute YouTube exercise video.
6. Make friend dates more active – I think one of the things we all struggle with, regardless of our work schedules, is maintaining a good work-life balance. I also think that we all want to have healthy relationships and see our friends, so it can be tricky to do allll the things in just 24 hours (well less since we need that sleep ^). My advice? Schedule your friend dates as activities! No joke, I made a friend through Instagram (hi Audrey!) that I literally just take workout classes with. Obviously we’ll grab coffee or something afterwards so that we have time to catch up, but we consider our “dates” as the actual workout class, which means we bang out our fitness AND friend time in one. I also have “walking dates” with my friend Pam and we’ll catch up after work while walking/hiking and watching the sunset. It’s GREAT. Highly recommend.
7. Limit meals out – Guys I knowwww this one is extra tough, especially since the thought of meal-prepping or just putting your lunch together in advance can be super daunting, but I promise you that your wallet and waistline will thank you later. Figure that each lunch you buy out costs around $12, give or take, AND you have no idea what’s in it. Even if you buy a salad, it still ain’t cheap. The compromise I made with myself when I started my new job was that I was allowed to buy lunch one day a week, which should be Thursdays since we have an amazing farmer’s market near the office on that day! I also like to go out to dinner with friends or my boyfriend some nights, so I’d rather save my budget (and calories tbh) for those nights instead!
8. Self-Care – I know what you’re thinking – how is self-care related to health? And my answer to you would be a series of questions: Do you ever get stomach aches when you’re stressed? Do you tend to stress-eat or even the opposite, lose your appetite when you’re stressed? YEAH. None of these are good options, which means that self-care and taking the time you need for yourself is crucial for a healthy mind, body and spirit. Just take 15 minutes to meditate, do a face mask, read a book, journal, whatever – a little is going to go a longggg way. I honestly sometimes schedule this time in my planner too as a little date with myself so that I don’t skip it!
So there ya have it – these are some of the things I do to prioritize my health with my 9-5 job, but I know I could be doing better! Let me know in the comments how you stay on track with your health and fitness goals with your busy schedule – I’d love to hear!
P.s. If you want 20% off your next order of Square Organics bars (my new fave – organic, plant-based, high protein!) then use the code ‘dancing.for.donuts’ at checkout!