Healthy living is often portrayed as this nigh-unachievable goal accomplished through rigid diets, an infallible sleep schedule, and straight-A attendance at the gym. In actuality, health and wellness aren’t tasks that require their own distinct blocks of time – they can be incorporated into your other commitments.
The reasons people talk about a healthy “lifestyle” is because it is a lifestyle; meaning that it’s comprised of the habits and attitudes that we embody, almost without thinking about it, on a daily basis. So if a workout regime comes naturally to you and fits seamlessly into your schedule, go for it! But if you’re looking for simpler ways to keep yourself healthy and active, try these different methods of baking health into your daily life.
1. Routine Mobility
When the opportunity presents itself, choose to move, especially if your job is largely sedentary. If you’re only travelling two subway stops, you can probably walk it without sacrificing much time. Veer left and take the stairs instead of the escalator. Stretch as you’re watching TV. Often we mistake mental exhaustion for physical exhaustion when we’re not actually tired; we’re lethargic. In that case, take a walk! Put your mind on autopilot and let your body do the work. The point is looking for opportunities where you can incorporate movement into whatever else you’re doing.
1. Meal Prepping
This one sounds time-consuming, but it really is the opposite. It saves you both time and money, and disarms you of the ability to choose less nutritious meals by making healthy foods of your choice readily available. Pick a convenient day where you can set aside a couple of hours for cooking, make large batches of a healthy meal you enjoy, and that leaves you with better nutrition and one-hundred and sixty-six hours that in the week that don’t involve cooking!
Here’s a secret that health gurus don’t talk about; no one has iron-clad willpower. If you’re a chocolate fiend, a wine lover, a binge-watcher, you should still enjoy those things without self-flagellation or feeling like you’ve jeopardized your wellbeing. The key is making sure you continue to recognize that these are indulgences. Don’t eliminate them entirely – just reduce them enough that you feel justified and excited when you have the opportunity to pick up a pastry from your favourite bakery and watch a few straight hours of guilt-free TV.
3. Sense of Play
The thing that makes healthy living such an exhausting concept is our perspective on it. It becomes an obligation. So what happens when we shift our thinking? Doing the healthy thing becomes more fun! Especially when it comes to physical activity, there’s ample opportunity to turn it into a competition with ourselves. Or, better yet, a game. Activity goes hand-in-hand with enjoyment because our bodies naturally produce joy hormones in conjunction with being active. Pair that with a deliberate attitude of excitement and suddenly what formerly seemed like an obligation becomes a game!
It’s habitual to take care of others. Even if you don’t have kids, you probably have a partner, a pet, an elderly parent, or someone else who requires your attention. You make sure they are healthy, rested, and prepared for the day ahead. This attention comes naturally when we’re caring for others – so why do many of us neglect to devote that much energy to ourselves? By creating the mental dichotomy of needing to be our own parent, it becomes more intuitive to direct ourselves toward better choices. This kind of attitude helps us adopt a feeling of responsibility that keeps us on top of our needs and wellbeing.