Are you too busy to stay healthy? We’re all overwhelmed and exhausted, striving to keep up a healthy lifestyle. Technology attempts to help, yet we still fall behind, leaving us with a sense of failure that we try to ignore.
You may be thinking that being busy is not an inescapable fact of life and that it’s a strategy to success and happiness. Unfortunately, a healthy life doesn’t work this way. To succeed and be happy in a world of too much, we have to think differently and do things differently.
We believe that we are busy because we have a busy schedule, so much to do at home and work. “Busy” is the frenetic always alert multitasking that drives us through overburdened lives. It involves being “on,” regularly glancing at our phones and jumping from task to task—juggling and cramming.
Moving Beyond Busy
The opposite of busy is not relaxation because even in much of our non-work time we have family commitments, social media, and digital consumption. The opposite of busy is sustained, focused attention. If you want to stay healthy while having a full schedule, a deep engagement in activities that matter is crucial.
How can you have a healthy lifestyle when you feel you’re failing to keep on top? When you can’t do everything, you might blame yourself in some way. You might fault not engaging in healthy activities, such as taking a walk at lunch, as lacking time-management skills. You are not to blame for a life of too much—you must let go of the guilt to stay in tip-top shape.
Get Sloppy to Get Healthy
Play with imperfection. Self-esteem and confidence do not come from being perfect but from accepting our imperfection. To get sloppy play a game to see how many unopened solicitation emails you can have at the end of the day, or throw away your to-do list. It’s likely you will remember the important stuff anyway. Instead of emptying your inbox do a 7-minute workout, take a few moments to stretch, close your eyes and meditate, or walk a few flights of stairs.
Healthy Choices Take Energy
Good choices require sustained mental and physical strength. We must accept that certain times of the day we are going to be poor at making clear, strategic decisions.
Give yourself time each day, before diving onto the treadmill of activity, to think about which task will deliver the most health value. A study found that after breaks with healthy snacks, people could make harder choices; therefore, plan your decision making around regular breaks. Healthy snacks include fruit, nuts, a smoothie, celery, etc.
Schedule your breaks, so they are more likely to be taken. Your brain will refresh, and you can review your progress and prioritize.
Do you often tell yourself that all you need is a cup of coffee at two in the afternoon to help you keep your attention? Coffee does have amazing health benefits; however, it may leave you feeling more tired once the surge wears off. Also, caffeine consumed in the afternoon or evening can significantly disrupt sleep in some people. Try drinking water or coconut water instead.
Another healthy way to increase your attention is to reduce task switching. Multitasking involves rapidly switching from task to task. Each time we move between tasks our brain has to reorient itself. Switching tasks has a high cost—the time needed to complete the task increases by 40%. In other words, that’s 40% more time you have to create a healthy lifestyle.
Get Out of Your Head
It is easy to forget we are not just a brain. A majority of people’s work and interests involve sitting, staring at screens, and thinking. In case you need to be reminded, you also have a body. To refresh your attention, you need to restore your body.
For example, breathing is a good place to start. In one study, 80% of the participants did not breathe properly while typing—this is termed as email apnea. So get up and start breathing. Make sure you incorporate aerobic exercise into your routines.
Take a Scroll Recess
Stop scrolling. Social media is linked with an increase in screen time and less time being active. An excellent way to avoid social media and lead a healthy active life is to engage in activities that naturally release dopamine in the brain.
Exercise will not only keep you physically fit and flexible but also foster your hormonal system by releasing dopamine! A couple of minutes of exercise in exchange for browsing on social media can offer many mental health benefits.