A new year is a fresh start. A chance to choose new goals for a new set of 365 days. For many, one of those goals usually encompasses improving health and vitality. We’re committed advocates of health and wellness here at ConvergenceCoaching. Each of our team members has their own health goals and methods for staying energized physically and mentally. We especially love when we can get our clients in on the fun, too (did you join our 2018 Holiday Exercise Streak?).
Many of you are about to hunker down for the upcoming spring busy season. With any extraordinarily busy time, priorities change and certain ones become harder to focus on until things calm down. Unfortunately, all too often, people allow their health to fall to the bottom of the list.
This is so sad! Because, when you make health and wellness a priority year-round, you experience countless benefits, including:
- More energy
- Better cognitive function (e.g. memory, ability to problem solve and innovate, mental stamina)
- Reduced illness
- Happier moods
- Greater likelihood of making positive food choices
- Improved sleep
- And so much more!
In a time when your greatest work contribution is required, why wouldn’t you make your health the utmost priority? Because time gets in the way. I get it – you have commitments chasing you at work and at home so your personal time is what’s pushed to the backburner. The problem with allowing this pattern to persist is that you live in a constant cycle of letting your health go during peak periods just to “survive,” then the peak period ends and you regain your health mojo, only to gear up for the next busy season and lose it again. Not only is this demoralizing to you personally, it is inhibiting you from being your best self when you need it most! You are more likely to deliver better quality work, be more productive, and be more inspiring to work with when you feel good than when you don’t. At home, you’re more likely to maintain strong relationships with your spouse or significant other and children, to manage the many aspects required to run a household and to feel connected and in control even when you may be less physically available.
Maintaining your health should be part of your job – and that means during peak periods, too. Since time is often the biggest excuse for not focusing on health, and we can’t get more time in the day, the key is to make choices that take little to no extra time from your day but that will bring you positive results.
In this blog, I’ll share 13 ideas for helping you maintain your health and positivity this upcoming busy season. Then, attend our upcoming webinar for more discussion on this important topic.
- If your office has an on-site gym, use it. Even just 20 minutes of walking at a brisk pace on the treadmill is beneficial. I am confident that you can find 20 minutes – arrive to work earlier, stay later, walk over your lunch break, or take a mid-morning or mid-afternoon break.
- Join a gym that’s near your work or on your commute path – then set a plan for how many times a week you’ll go. If you sign up for a group class and put it on your calendar, you’re more likely to stay committed.
- See if your firm would be willing to bring in a yoga or other fitness instructor to teach classes during busy season. There are probably others in your firm who would jump at the opportunity to get some exercise in and not have to leave the office or home.
- Create walking or running groups with other co-workers. You’re more likely to stay committed when you have others expecting you to show up for your group walk or run.
- Go for a short walk outside – there are plenty of studies showing the benefit of taking frequent breaks for your work (you actually become MORE productive than when you don’t break at all). Plus, connecting with nature outside brings its own separate set of benefits. Take 10-15 minutes to walk around your office block or along a nearby walking path (including when it’s cold outside – it’s more energizing!), or even around the office floors if you must.
- Bonus: Ask a team member to take a break or go for a walk with you. It’s a way for you to build relationships with coworkers while getting refreshed.
- Do exercises at your desk throughout your day. Squats, push-ups, calf raises, lunges, and crunches are all exercises that you can easily do in the floor space of your office. Embarrassed to start? Send a heads-up email to your team that you plan to do exercises periodically at your desk to keep your energy going so no one is surprised. Better yet, get some co-workers to join in on the fun. If you have access to a standing desk, rotate between standing and sitting throughout your day.
- Sign up for a virtual exercise program. If going to a gym isn’t your thing, there are many options for workout subscription programs that you can do from the comfort of your own home (and many are 30 minutes or less).
- Make exercise a family affair. If you’re finding yourself choosing between getting your workout in and spending time with your family, combine the two. Take the family pup for a walk, go trail running together, play soccer or basketball or do yoga together at home. Your kids and significant other will benefit from it, too. One of my favorite activities growing up was going for a long family bike ride or walk and then getting ice cream or dinner together immediately after.
- Make grocery shopping work for you. If you typically do the grocery shopping, see if you can delegate it to another family member. If that won’t work, consider outsourcing it to someone else. You might have a childcare provider, an extended family member or a friend you could hire to get groceries. There are also sites like TaskRabbit that connect you with trusted individuals available for hire for tasks like grocery shopping. If you can’t delegate or outsource the groceries, you might be able to outsource the commute to and from the store. Many grocery stores in metropolitan areas now provide delivery options. Whole Foods and Walmart are nation-wide examples, and many local grocery store chains have started offering delivery as well. You place your order online and your groceries show up to your door at your desired date and time.
- Alternatively, consider a meal kit service. There are multiple brands that focus on healthy, nutritious meals and most allow you to choose how many meals you’d like delivered per week. They provide you with the groceries and instructions, all you have to do is follow them – and it could be a fun activity to do with your significant other or children.
- Outsource any other tasks that you can. Hire a local cleaning service (even if just once a month), subscribe to a lawn or garden maintenance program, schedule laundry or dry cleaning pickup and delivery services – any task that you don’t enjoy doing and have the means to outsource during busy season, do so. This will free up valuable time that you can spend with your family or doing other things that you do enjoy doing (or have to be involved in). Similar to TaskRabbit, Amazon Home Services helps you find others to complete tasks or jobs for you from house cleaning to making home improvements. If you need someone to help manage your family’s calendar and any administrative details you handle for your kids’ school or sports or your own personal commitments, look into virtual assistant services. There are affordable options available to help with a variety of responsibilities.
- As you read these ideas, you might be questioning the cost of outsourcing the various tasks presented. You may not want or have the means to outsource meal prep, house cleaning, lawn maintenance, laundry and personal scheduling, for example, but you may be able to outsource just ONE or two of those tasks during busy season – which frees up even a little bit of time in your week. It is an investment in your success because it allows you to focus on the items which require your attention most, while someone else manages the task(s) that require your attention least. When you invest time or money in things that improve your physical and mental health, you experience the benefits outlined at the beginning of this post, which means you perform better and do more in all areas of your life. How much is your personal health and success worth?
- Meal prep. Consider preparing meals that you can freeze prior to busy season and then heat up later. If that’s too much planning, schedule time during your weekend to prepare lunches and/or breakfasts that you can take to work the following week. Also, you can hire a meal prep service to deliver prepared meals to your door, which are ready to cook (or eat) at your leisure.
- A note on meal planning: busy season isn’t the time to take on new extravagant recipes (unless that’s your stress reliever). Find a handful of simple, healthy recipes that you enjoy and rotate them throughout the months. Think about other ways to make eating efficient and beneficial for you and your family. Make a batch of oatmeal on Sunday and reheat it for breakfast throughout the week. Use mason jars to make single-serving yogurt parfaits that you can grab and go. Buy pre-cut fruits and veggies that eliminate the chopping work. There are countless more tips you can find by doing a quick search online.
- Nurture your mental health. Your mental and physical health are interconnected. Your mental health benefits when you exercise and eat well, but your mind has to be in the right place to make those positive physical choices in order to reap their benefits. Here are several ways to support your mental health during busy season:
- Make a daily gratitude list
- Take frequent breaks from your work
- Create to-do lists to help you manage your responsibilities
- Read books or articles that interest you
- Foster relationships. Your relationships with others are key to your happiness. Ensure that you spend some focused time with each of your family members every day. Use the free time you do have to engage in meaningful activities and conversations with your family. If your firm supports Anytime, Anywhere Work™ (ATAWW), try to plan your schedule so that you can have a designated time with your family, whether that’s a meal together or picking your kids up from school or attending their baseball game, and then returning to work (at home or the office) after. It’s understandable that your social activities may dwindle during busy season but remember to communicate those expectations beforehand. Your friends and family are more likely to support you and reach out to help if they know what to expect.
Make a promise to yourself today. Commit to make your health a top priority this busy season. It isn’t just for your benefit – your coworkers, your clients and your family will benefit, too when you take care of yourself.
If you want more ideas for maintaining your health, plus ideas for supporting a wellness-centered culture as a firm, attend our webinar on January 22 at 11am ET.
What other ideas do you have for maintaining your health and wellness during peak periods? What advice would you give to others for juggling work commitments, home responsibilities and personal health? Share with us in the comments below!