Modern life seems to suck up free time like a vacuum. Moments to thoughtfully care for yourself are few and far between. It's a trend that is certainly exacerbated in the lead up to the end of the year. With work deadlines creeping up and celebration on just about every weekend, finding the time to get to the gym or even get your eight hours sleep is never easy.
But regardless of how difficult it is, prioritising self care and finding a balance is essential for health and wellbeing. And there are ways that you can make things easier on yourself. Below, are our tips for balancing life and health when you always seem to run out of time.
Remove the guess work from healthy cooking
Curating an array of both healthy and interesting meals is challenging at the best of times. But when you haven't had a moment stop and think about what you might like for dinner, it's all too easy to fall into a hole of ordering take-away - even though it's not the healthiest option.
The solution? Having an array of these healthy recipes on hand. I personally like the HelloFresh recipes because they have accurate measurements and calorie counts. It makes it extremely easy to monitor what you're eating if you're on a diet or just trying to be more health conscious. You can also order the full boxes and have all the ingredients shipped straight to your house. It's exactly what I do when I've run out of time to grocery shop on the weekend.
Try a home workout instead
Staying active (especially when you have a desk job) is extremely important for health and wellbeing now and into old-age. If you don't have time to drive or take public transport to the gym, don't skip your workout. Try a home work out instead. There are plenty to choose from. We've rounded up a selection of our favourite workouts from home, or you can even try something like Amy Carmody's Reset classes - they're only 15 minutes.
Or you can just buy yourself a set of weights and use them whenever you have a moment. I tuck my weights under my coffee table. Seeing them reminds me stand up and workout. Even if you can only do one or two sets, it's better than nothing at all.
Block out your calendar when you need time to yourself
Make time for yourself in the same way that you make time for work meetings or appointments - literally block out your calendar. If you know that you need to sleep or chill out, add a block to your calendar on a Tuesday or Wednesday or whenever suits. Treat it like an appointment that you can't cancel, even if your friend really wants to have dinner that night.
Focus (more so than usual) on drinking water
A busy social calendar often comes with more than a few wines - probably more than is healthy. Excess alcohol is bad for you for many reasons, but one of the key negatives is dehydration. So, during a busy period, making sure you're drinking extra water. It will help you bounce back faster, and help you feel better.
Swap your podcast for meditation during your commute
If you're someone that drives or takes the bus to work, why not take this time to listen to something meditative? Apps like Calm or Headspace have recordings specifically designed to help you take a breath and relax during moments of reprieve. These tools even have recordings voiced by celebrities like Harry Styles. Using your commute to practice mindfulness and get yourself in the right frame of mind can make a big difference to how you approach the day.
Invest in your sleep
Sleep is certainly one of the most important pillars of health. Yet, it's one of the first to fall to the wayside whenever we're busy. One way to encourage yourself to get into bed earlier is to invest in your sleep. That is, get yourself some luxurious sheets, buy a silk pillowcase and top it off with some pillow spray. It may seem a little opulent at first, but whatever you can do to mentally entice yourself into bed earlier will truly pay off in the long run.
Be kind to yourself
Let's be clear, the 40-hour work week is a concept that was created during a time when people coupled up early on in life, and one person went to work and one person stayed home to take care of life admin. It is unrealistic to expect an individual person to work a full time job and also be on top of cooking, cleaning, looking after children, remembering birthdays, attending all social events and more. The idea of having all and being all is just not realistic. So, if you can't do it, do not beat yourself up. Be kind to yourself. If you can't make Friday night drinks or you forgot to post a Christmas card, don't put pressure on yourself. Absolve yourself of guilt and know that you're trying your best.