In our fast-paced world, it's easy to fall into the trap of trying to fit health and wellness activities into our busy schedules. We try to squeeze in a workout or two during the week, or we force ourselves to eat a salad for lunch instead of the fast-food burger we really want. But what if we shifted our perspective? What if we stopped trying to make time for health and wellness and instead incorporated it into our daily lives as part of our lifestyle?
This epiphany hit me recently when I realized I was becoming more stressed and less healthy as I tried to cram more activities into my already-packed schedule. I was scheduling workout time and meal prep time, but it was adding more stress instead of reducing it. I realized that I needed to find a way to make health and wellness a natural part of my day, instead of something I had to consciously make time for.
I've looked for ways to incorporate wellness into my daily routine, rather than creating "extra" time for it. By making these changes, I started to feel less stressed and more energized. I didn't feel like I was constantly rushing from one activity to the next or trying to fit in a workout before or after work. Instead, I was able to incorporate healthy habits into my day without feeling like I was sacrificing anything else.
So, how can you incorporate health and wellness into your daily routine?
Walk or Bike More
Walking is a simple yet effective way to incorporate more movement into your day. Instead of driving or taking public transportation, try walking or biking to more places. Walk to the grocery store, bike to the park, or even to work if you can. Not only will you be getting more movement, but you'll also be reducing your carbon footprint and saving money. Our family loves our bike rides to the park and to the ice cream store!
Incorporate Social Time
Instead of trying to schedule social time after work, try incorporating it into your daily routine. Have lunch or coffee with coworkers or friends during the workday, or schedule a walking meeting instead of a sit-down meeting. This will help you build stronger connections with the people around you and reduce stress and isolation. And if you're work-from-home like me, either meet a colleague for coffee over zoom, or treat yourself to a lunch with a friend once in awhile and get out of the house.
Make Healthy Eating a Ritual
Instead of trying to force yourself to eat healthy meals, make it a part of your daily ritual. Plan out your meals for the week, and make sure you have healthy snacks on hand (this is a hard one for me -- there's nothing quite like the crunch of a chip). Take time to sit down and enjoy your meals, instead of rushing through them. For me, preparing the evening meal for my family is a way to unwind after a busy day of mom-ing or working. I love that 30 minutes in my kitchen. I don't get it every day, but when I do, I cherish it. On other days (soccer games, T-ball practice ... ), I give myself a little grace and try to pack a picnic dinner for us to enjoy at the ballpark. And when I'm feeling up for it, my 3-year-old loves to help me in the kitchen, which is a wonderful way to bond with her and help her create healthy habits as well. And you know -- she tends to be much less picky when she has helped prepare the meal!
Incorporate Movement into Your Workday
If you work at a desk all day, it's important to find ways to incorporate movement into your day. Take short breaks to stretch or walk around the office. Use a standing desk or a stability ball instead of a traditional chair. Stretch while your next cup of tea brews, or take the long route to the restroom. Even small movements throughout the day can make a big difference in your overall health.
Incorporating health and wellness into your daily routine can seem daunting at first, but it's important to remember that small changes can make a big difference. And most importantly, once these habits are part of your routine, you're not adding time into your schedule for them! It's like you're gaining time and wellness at the same time!
Don't get me wrong, I still love to jump on my Peloton and go for an early morning run -- but now it's something that I look forward to doing when I crave it, or have the time. It doesn't feel like an obligation anymore, it feels like an outlet.
How do you make wellness a priority? What habits can you start developing today that will change your life for the better?