We’ve all been there: it’s the peak of the high season.
You expect another sleepless night.
Your dinner consists of takeout and large amounts of caffeine.
You can’t remember what the gym was like or the last time you sweated.
You know your routine isn’t sustainable, but it’s a busy season. What can you do?
Making diet and fitness a priority supports your physical health, emotional well-being, and success at work during high season. If you don’t prioritize your health, you can’t meet high performance demands or manage stress effectively. Start by making these simple changes to your daily routine:
Don’t let convenience shape your day. We all know it’s a lot easier to order takeout instead of packing your lunch. But don’t do things just because they’re easy. It is possible to spend your time efficiently while maintaining healthy habits.
Preparing for success can be as simple as starting to plan your meals once a week. Start by making a plan: how many meals do you need to prepare and what is your grocery budget? Write down the foods you like to eat and the foods you want to avoid. While you shop, stock your desk and fridge with healthy snacks like nuts, jerky, granola, veggies and protein bars.
If you don’t have time to stop at the grocery store, a meal prep delivery service can provide all the ingredients you need to whip up a healthy meal in 30 minutes or less. Or, if you don’t have the time or inclination to cook, there are also pre-cooked meal services. The initial cost may seem high, but when you compare it to the daily cost of take-out meals, the meal prep kit or service is likely saving you money while improving your diet. When you have ready-to-go food in the fridge, it’s easy to have a healthy breakfast or lunch, rather than defaulting to take-out at the office.
Remember not to overcommit yourself. Just because you’re planning your meals doesn’t mean you’ll never be able to eat out again – after all, it’s busy season. It’s okay to allow yourself the occasional order or purchase of food on the way home. Bonus points if you choose something healthy, like vegetables and protein.
How many hours a day do you spend sitting at your desk, in transit, or at home on the couch? the Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention recommends 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic exercise per week for most healthy adults and strength training at least two days per week.
If you don’t put a meeting or call on your calendar during peak season, it won’t happen. The same goes for exercise. Schedule time each day to be active to make it easier to follow through on your plans. Set a reminder on your phone or computer to get up once an hour.
Schedule your workout for noon or early morning: most busy professionals are exhausted at the end of the day. They don’t have the energy to work out, or they get stuck working late and can’t make it to the gym. If your office isn’t close to the gym or doesn’t have access to showers, a sweaty midday workout might be a no-no. You can still use this time to clear your mind and get moving. Take a walk outside or do yoga in your office.
Do you hate mornings, but it’s the only time to train? If so, think about how you can maximize the benefits of your workout while minimizing the time spent. Don’t let lack of time be an excuse not to exercise! You can easily complete an effective workout in 30 minutes or less.
Taking breaks may seem impossible during peak season, but taking breaks is key to setting yourself up for success. It allows your mind to relax and unwind.
Set times when you’re not connected to your phone or email. Use the auto-reply feature on your email and set up your voicemail to let customers know you’re away and when you’ll be back. Set boundaries for yourself and your customers while letting them know you’re not ignoring them.
All work and no play makes you a prime candidate for Burnout. That’s why, just when the hours of the day are numbered, you should take time for yourself. It’s as simple as leaving work an hour early once a week for a massage or taking an hour off to read your favorite novel.
Slowing down may seem counterintuitive, but it’s the fastest way to ensure your well-being and overall success for a hectic few months. Learning how to stay healthy during the busy season not only makes you more productive, but also helps reduce stress and anxiety. And don’t forget that you will start again at the same time next year.