We all know that working a full-time job usually isn’t as simple as it sounds.
You have to wake up early, get ready, commute, sit through meetings, resolve problems, deal with people, and commute back home.
By the end of the day, you’re exhausted mentally and physically and all you want to do is relax.
I get it.
However, your health should be one of your top priorities.
Many people use work as an excuse to avoid healthy eating and exercise.
I’m here to tell you that you can still lead a healthy lifestyle while working full-time.
Your mental and physical health do not require hours and hours of your day. You can implement healthy habits into your current schedule.
Small changes can make a huge difference and it’s time to take control of your health.
Routines have the ability to shape your life in the best way possible.
You can intentionally create routines that incorporate your health.
Instead of rolling out of bed at the last minute, design a morning routine that replenishes you and includes things like movement, meditation, or stretching.
During your lunch break, step away from your desk to eat your food. Then go on a walk while listening to a podcast.
Instead of lounging around when you get home from work, push yourself to get moving. Change right into your gym clothes and don’t hesitate.
Of course, this is a lot easier said than done, but the idea here is to be intentional, put in the effort, and replace bad habits slowly.
You already have routines in place, but they aren’t serving you.
Meal prepping has changed my life. I’ve been meal prepping every weekend since early 2016 and I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon.
If you want to simplify healthy eating and gain control of what you consume, start meal prepping.
I spend less than 2 hours in the kitchen on Sunday and I have lunch and dinner ready to go for 6 days.
The key is to prepare foods that are flavorful and that you’ll actually enjoy. This may take some time for you to figure out, but it’s worth it.
The first time I meal prepped it took me over 4 hours, I followed extensive recipes, and the meals were boring and bland.
Over the years, I’ve figured out my staple items, the foods I love, and simple recipes to follow.
When you prep your food you remove the need to get lunch or dinner out, you control your portion sizes, and you save time.
I know it may sound like a huge commitment now, but try it out for a couple of weeks and you’ll see why I love it so much.
Don’t underestimate the power of walking.
Walking improves your cardiovascular health, reduces stress, strengthens your bones and muscles, among other benefits.
Taking a midday/post-lunch walk is such a treat. Not only does it get you moving, but it allows you to take a break from your work.
If the weather allows for it, I highly suggest taking it outside to enjoy the daylight and nature.
During my walk at lunch, I prefer to use it as a time of reflection. However, you can talk on the phone, have a walking meeting, or listen to a podcast or audiobook.
If you absolutely can’t fit in a quick walk, then I suggest you at least opt for the stairs when possible. Forego the elevators and challenge yourself to take more steps.
Time to yourself
In my post, You Become the Content You Consume, I mentioned over-consumption.
We are constantly tied to our phones and computers. Both of which contain lots of information and content.
We listen to other people speaking whether that’s through conversation, podcasts, or television.
How often do you take time to be silent with yourself?
As a society, we are addicted to consuming content. However, even strictly positive or educational content doesn’t allow you to think for yourself.
Many people are afraid to be alone with their thoughts. But you can learn so much about yourself by doing so. And not only that, you invite new ideas and revelations to come through your mind when you just exist.
Give yourself time alone every single day. I incorporate this into my morning routine and my afternoon walks.
Drink more water and/or tea
Reduce your caffeine consumption and opt for more water and herbal tea.
I suggest starting your day with warm lemon water, which is known to boost your immunity, flush out toxins, and promote digestion.
Many people fill their workday with coffee and soda. This isn’t ideal for your physical health and they may even affect your mental health by causing anxiety and poor sleep.
The afternoon slump is real but instead of making your 3rd cup of coffee, take a walk and drink plenty of water.
RELATED POST: 10 Ways to Drink More Water
Sipping on herbal tea is also beneficial for your health and will help to reduce stress.
Stand up/stretch frequently
Dr. Levine, a professor of medicine said, “Sitting is the new smoking.”
And even if you exercise regularly, that doesn’t counteract the effect of sitting for half the day.
Sitting too much can shorten your life span, increase your chance of dementia, lead to weight gain, and cause back pain, among other side effects.
Be intentional about moving more throughout your workday, especially if you have an office job.
If a standing desk is not an option for you, set alarms throughout the day to remind you to get up and stand, stretch, or walk.
Avoid the office snacks
Office snacks are never healthy.
Your job may have snacks all the time or co-workers may bring goodies frequently.
This is going to require a lot of discipline and willpower to avoid, but those snacks will not only lead to unhealthy habits and poor health, they’ll also make you more sleepy.
The best way to prevent office snacking is to decide ahead of time what you are going to eat. If a bag of chips appears in the break room tomorrow, you just ignore it because you already decided that it wouldn’t be in your meal plan for the day.
Another trick is to bring your own healthy snacks. Apples and peanut butter or veggies and hummus are great options.
Of course you may want to enjoy some food when there are office parties, but don’t turn it into a daily habit.
Schedule in your workouts
Working out after work can be quite challenging.
This is why it’s so important to start planning your workouts into your schedule.
This may mean going to a few workout classes in the week, getting a personal trainer, or packing a gym bag to go straight to the gym after work.
Scheduling your workouts makes it easier for you to commit to being active and helps you to create a routine.
Your workout sessions don’t need to be time-consuming either.
Aim for quality workouts that take 20-45 minutes a few times a week. I suggest incorporating strength training, cardio, and stretching throughout the week, but do what you enjoy and what works for you!
RELATED POST: How to Make Exercise a Habit
Leave work at work
To put it bluntly, your job can probably replace you within a day or two.
This is why I believe work should stay at work.
Going above and beyond by taking on more work at home may be your style, but I don’t believe it’s worth it.
Your life outside of work is more important.
If you’re struggling to finish everything while at work, this means you need to work on your time management and productivity while on the clock. I understand some people may have a bit more to do when they get home, but too much can lead to stress and burn out.
You’re probably not being paid to work more after your hours, so instead use that time for yourself and/or your family.
This is why I like to incorporate an “after-work” routine too.
Give yourself the time to switch gears and detach from your full-time job.
RELATED POST: How to Transform Your After-Work Routine
Working a full-time job is the norm for most of us, but it doesn’t need to take over your life.
Your health is your true wealth because without it you wouldn’t even be able to work.
Be intentional about what you fit into your day and you’ll see that you CAN be healthy while working full-time.