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Three Tips for Living Well When Your To-Do List Seems Unmanageable

By Barbie Boules »

The information provided herein is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as medical advice or to replace professional medical care. You should always seek the advice of a medical professional before starting any new medication or dietary supplement, as well as when starting new exercise regimens. The opinions stated herein are those solely of the writer who has been compensated by the up4® Probiotics Brand, and do not portray the opinions of the brand, i-Health, Inc., or DSM.

Barbie Boules, RDN, CHC, is a registered dietitian and certified health coach. In practice for 15 years, she counsels private clients and conducts corporate workshops in intuitive and mindful eating, with an emphasis on anti-inflammatory foods and creating optimal gut health.

If meeting your wellness goals—like eating healthy and exercising daily—seem like daunting tasks, I have good news. With the right expectations and realistic objectives, the journey to reaching those goals doesn’t have to feel like a sacrifice. Small, manageable commitments each day are what lead to lasting wellness. Here are three great ways to get started:

Meal Prep Like a Boss

My favorite tip for eating healthy while saving time, and money, is meal prepping. Committing to having nourishing food at your fingertips is a sure-fire way to up your nutrition game and avoid the pitfalls of nightly take out. This means collecting some recipes you’d like to try. Search online for dishes that include your favorite foods. Choose a regular time and day for shopping, once or twice a week, and an hour or two of prep, cooking and storage. This allows for a fridge and freezer bursting with nutritious goodies that are ready to heat (or not) and satisfy. Store meals that are fully assembled, or create what I call Beauty Bowls—great for workday lunches and emergency dinners when pizza delivery is calling your name.

If you’re thinking “I don’t have time for this!”, think of all the idle hours spent on social media or watching Netflix that you can exchange for a great podcast and getting busy in your kitchen. Make it a Sunday Funday event with your partner or a friend. With a little practice, you’ll master this process—leaving you feeling empowered and living healthier. Success, of any kind, has the wind of preparation at its back.

Create a Morning & Evening Routine

Ask the most successful people on the planet their key to success and they will say routine, hands down. Routine keeps us focused and on-point.
When I started investing my morning and evening time wisely, my energy, productivity and attitude radically improved. We feel out of whack when we’re not creating time for very real essentials—like sleep and downtime. New experiences are great, but chronic randomness upsets our systems. Routine is calming and balancing. Take a moment and consider what this looks like for you. What would get you energized and focused in the morning? And what will have you nice and relaxed in the evening? Write it down in a journal and start following your own instructions.

Make Your World Your Gym

Our bodies were not designed to be sedentary. Getting your body moving daily is essential to great health. Yoga, barre, CrossFit, Power Plate, a personal trainer at the gym, it’s all great…when you can get there. Making time for exercise may seem like a challenge, but you’re up to it! Here are my favorite ways to sneak in 30 minutes a day:

  • 30 minutes in one sitting may not be possible every day. If this is the case, break it up into three 10-minute sessions. Create a short routine that can be done anywhere.
  • If you can stand instead of sit, add some calf raises. If you can take the stairs, skip every other step. If you can walk instead of ride, take the long way.
  • Make your bathroom break or extended phone call a mini-session of 20 push-ups and 20 squats. Grab a co-worker and add a five-minute walk to every lunch break.
  • Strengthen your core by exchanging your desk chair for a stability ball.
  • If you have 30 minutes for the treadmill, try this HIIT (high-intensity interval training) routine:
    • 5-minute warm-up
    • 20 minutes, alternating one minute of a fast-paced walk with one minute of a more intense run
    • 5-minute cool down.

We all get busy, but your health is too important to be viewed as an afterthought. Add a few great actions to your day, and your health will become a priority without feeling like a chore. Remember, consistency is key. Eventually, you’ll find those physical and mental muscles getting stronger and flexing with ease. A new habit chosen well is something you’ll actually start to look forward to. Don’t waste another minute!