This article, written by me, was originally published in WHYTT Magazine 22 March 2017.
Trying to be healthy and the desire to be healthier, can prove challenging when you’re so busy. With hectic deadlines, long hours, and external worries, a healthy lifestyle may come last on your to-do list. Work life for creative professionals and entrepreneurs is exciting and rewarding, but can be pressurised and stressful. Healthy gets relegated. But if you do want to be more healthy let’s look at some realistic, practical ways to incorporate healthy food and exercise into your agenda, even if your lifestyle leaves you with only a little time.
> Common problems for busy creatives together with tried-and tested solutions:
Sitting at a desk for long hours can cause bad posture which may lead to fatigue and tension.
With so much external demand for our attention, and the pressures of work and life in competition for our input, we are often tied to the computer or mobile device for long periods of time. Notice when you start to slump over your desk or in your chair, this is when it’s time to stand-up and walk-around. Make provisions for at least 5-10 minutes break away from the desk. Take your lunch break! Breathe in outside air, even if you’re standing at the door gazing at the sky. Time away from the desk is being healthy.
Lack of exercise.
Lack of exercise can create lethargy and a decrease in motivation and general well-being. One tip for a busy schedule is to sit with your diary for a few minutes every Sunday and plan your exercise or yoga schedule for the week ahead and commit to it. Join a social media fitness or yoga challenge; being part of a community can increase your motivation. If you’re really struggling to motivate yourself, yet really want to change, consider finding a health coach, nutritional therapist, personal trainer or private yoga teacher.
Being constantly on-the-go can leave little room for exercising. Try to source nearby gyms, health clubs, fitness classes, yoga studios, Pilates classes. Check their timetable, schedule them in your diary, book and pay for the classes in advance. Commit to them like you would a business meeting. Or hire a personal trainer or yoga teacher if your budget allows.
Financial worries, career obligations or at times a lack of work.
Money-worries are natural, especially when you’re starting out or freelance. Anxiety or worry affects everyone. Exercising can help you burn-off excess nervous energy. Yoga can help to de-stress the body, especially a more strenuous class which can leave you feeling clearer and calmer.
Lack of structure leading to bad eating habits.
Being disciplined is part of being self-employed. Creatives naturally thrive on freedom and exploration which leaves a gap for structure. Structure may sound confining but when its purpose is to give you energy, focus and calm, then structure is a good thing. Schedule breakfast, lunch and dinner. Schedule work-out time and food prep time. Boring as it sounds, it really helps. Plan your week. Seek-out shops stocking healthy foods. Create energy-giving nutritious snacks, batch-cook on the weekend, make double quantities of your dinner, for lunch tomorrow. Prioritize this prep time. It’s the best way to stay on track. Avoid sugary snacks and replace them with one or two pieces of fruit, combined with one (that’s 1) handful of nuts in between meals. For a few days you may crave sugar, yet be strong, it passes. This is also about eating 3 proper meals (which goes back to the prep/planning).
Rounding it up: Change is a process, so make your health goals realistic and manageable. Start with just one of these hacks and make it a 28-day health goal. By achieving one of your goals, you’ll feel motivated to continue.
Are you a busy creative who has nailed being healthy? Inspire others by telling us how you did it in the comments box.
Author: Rachel Young