With the million things I have to do every day, how can I stay healthy at the same time? That’s a question we may all ask ourselves when we put our head in the pillow at night. We all have a busy schedule — we might be studying, working, taking care of kids or relatives, taking care of our home, and so on. So, how can we fit healthy eating, exercise and meditation into our endless to-do list?
If you’re like me, when you think about this and try to find the time, you get overwhelmed. And this tends to happen in big part because we want to do it all, and not only that, we want to do everything both perfectly and quickly. But the thing is that creating new habits and changing our routine is not easy to do, and it certainly doesn’t happen overnight.
So, let’s think about this one step at a time.
What is it that you really want? Have you stopped and thought about it? You may want to be healthier, but that’s a very general statement. So let’s take a few minutes and write down not only what we want, but why we want these things. We’re going to go through some of the most common things we think about when we consider a healthier life:
This one is pretty obvious. We all know we should eat more vegetables, fruits, organic foods, and so on. The problem here is usually more practical: what kind of things should we buy, and how do we find the time to prepare them? Also, do we have the creativity to come up with a healthy menu every day?
Let’s try and make this easier for ourselves. First of all, what I did was to go on social media and look for healthy dishes with ingredients that I like to eat. From there, I wrote down a list of ingredients and the menu for the week. Also, I looked for meals that are easy to make, because I can’t spend hours in the kitchen cooking, no matter how much I enjoy it. Don’t forget that there’ll be days when you won’t feel like cooking, so the easier, the better.
Here we’ll find a lot of options, depending on what you like to do, where you live and your budget. Walking is one of the easiest exercises, because you don’t need to pay anything to do it. If you have a park close to your home, you can use it for exercising, or if you use the metro or the bus to come and go from work or school, you can always get off a few stops early and walk the rest of the way home.
If walking is not your favorite thing, you can try a gym close to your house, work or school. I find it better to go to the gym when I’m already doing something outside of the house so that I can keep the flow going. If you can’t go to the gym for any reason, technology is on our side! There are so many exercise apps to choose from. And the nice thing about the apps is that you can keep track of what you’re doing and share your progress with other members. Doing things as a group can bring the extra incentive we need to commit.
This is my favorite! Like with exercising and eating better, you need to reflect upon your routine and find the best time to fit in your meditation. Everybody says mornings are the best time to meditate, but the truth is that the best time to meditate is when you yourself have time. If you’re not a morning person, there’s nothing wrong with meditating at night. If you come home from school and have the afternoon free, then that may be the best time for you. The most important thing is to choose the time that suits you best.
Once you find a good time in your schedule, try to meditate at the same time every day. This will help you get the new habit going, and it will help you maintain it. Consistency is also very important with meditation, much more than how long you spend practicing. If you’re new to meditation, just start with five minutes every day. Consistency is what will give you results, and after you experience those results, you’ll naturally want to meditate for a longer period of time.
Did you write down your goals and why you want to reach them? If you haven’t, stop what you’re doing and make your list. It’s very important and helpful to think about these goals, and to look at your list every time you feel discouraged or like you don’t have enough time. It’s easier to keep ourselves on track when you clearly know what we want and what we need. For instance, I’ve been meaning to build muscle for a long time, but I never really had a strong reason. Now, though, I have back problems, so I know why I’m going to the gym every day and what it costs me to just not go. My life didn’t get any less busy, but my priorities have shifted. That’s what you need to discover for yourself: What’s important to you? What will you choose to prioritize?
Now it’s your turn to share with us your story and the things you want. Do you know what kind of things block you? Or do you have suggestions? Let’s keep this conversation going in the comments!