Prioritizing Health During Stressful Times!
Life is nothing if not unpredictable, and sometimes, despite our best efforts, we become overwhelmed with work or just life in general. When this happens, we often throw our hands up and say “screw it” to the healthy lifestyle we’ve been living. Even the thought of prioritizing something other than your to-do list may feel impossible, but fret not, as there are small everyday things you can do that require minimal time and effort and can help you stay focused and may even help you to get through your days more efficiently.
1) Meal Plan
Now this can vary depending on how much time you have available. Obviously it would be nice if you could meal prep for the days to come and have your fridge full of balanced meal options, but typically that’s not feasible. Even taking a few minutes to plan out some meals you’d like to have is a good option. If time is a big issue and you don’t think you'll have time to get to the store, don’t forget you can always order groceries for delivery from places like Whole Foods, Safeway, Walmart, and a lot of others. You can also order food for pickup too.
Another good option is finding local food delivery services that pre-make healthy balanced meals and deliver them directly to you. Most of these places give you a ton of meal options you can choose from and accommodate lots of dietary restrictions you may have. Some options include:
The goal is to try to eliminate only eating out and making yourself feel ever more tired from the lack of balance. Make sure you are getting in those proteins, carbs and fats!
2) Prioritize Sleep
While you may be tempted to just cut sleep short to get work done, you need the sleep! Ensuring you get enough sleep also helps you to feel more alert and able to tackle things with a clear and focused mindset. You can’t expect your brain to function at 100% when you aren’t taking the time to rest. It’ll often lead to working slower and making mistakes. Now get your rest so clear minds can prevail!
3) Don’t Skip the Breaks
Ever spend a prolonged period of time sitting at a desk working? Have you noticed how drained you feel? You struggle to stay focused on what’s on the screen? This is why taking breaks is important. We are not meant to work as machines. We need breaks so we can focus on something else and give your brain a recharge. It’s also hard on your eyes to be constantly looking at screens, and can sometimes lead to headaches. I always remind my clients to take breaks for something else and allow yourself the space ro recharge!
4) Get Your Vitamin D!
Along with getting those breaks, getting outside and getting some sunshine has a multitude of benefits for you! Did you know that Vitamin D helps with calcium absorption and immune function? That means getting sunshine in your day leads to strong bones and the ability to better fight off infection. It also helps with overall heart and muscle health. Vitamin D is a vital nutrient and while it’s found in fatty fish, it is not found in large quantities of other foods, so the best way to get it is by going outside.
Vitamin D also helps with improving mood and promoting stable mental health! More on this topic in my next post!
During busy times we often are so busy drinking coffee, tea, sodas, etc. and getting in that caffeine that we forget to drink water! Even if you are drinking a ton of other beverages, you still need to drink 2.5-3.5 L of water per day.
6) Know when to cut yourself some slack!
As much as we may want to make time to eat well, sleep and prioritize our mental health, sometimes it just doesn’t happen. Don’t forget to cut yourself some slack and refrain from beating yourself up our something you can’t change. You can only do your best and not harbor on the past. Note what you’d like to do differently next time and try your best then!
Navigating through a stressful time is almost a science, but with some planning ahead you can reduce the impact of these times. Prolonged stress can impact the physical and mental body, leading to a recovery period after. Prioritizing your health during these times will limit the longer term effects and reduce the feeling of being run down or sick.
Hope this helps and until next time… health is for all!