4 ways to balance health with a busy career

4 ways to balance health with a busy career

Time is a pivotal foundation in building a happy and healthy life. Unfortunately, people with busy careers struggle with managing their time efficiently.

Having a strict schedule shouldn’t be a burden to your health. After all, your day-to-day work performance will highly rely on how healthy you are. By neglecting your health and wellbeing, you’re essentially putting yourself at a career disadvantage.

The perks and dangers of being busy

Busyness can take a significant toll on your health due to the lifestyle choices you may make in spending your time.

Conversely, being busy also has its perks. In one compelling study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, researchers found that people with busy mindsets tend to make better, more healthful choices than their counterparts who aren’t exposed to hectic lifestyles.

Meanwhile, another article highlighted bad eating habits people tend to develop are associated with busy, changing lifestyles. Because of being preoccupied with work, academics and other commitments, busy individuals commit the following eating mistakes:

  • Rushing meal time and taking big bites of food
  • Eating food while distracted
  • Eating under stressful conditions
  • Eating while working
  • Eating too quickly.

“The above eating mistakes are what I see in practice as being the biggest contributing factor to digestive problems. Bloating, under-digestion, discomfort after eating, stool fluctuations, are often contributed to rushed eating or eating under stress (alongside a mix of nasty bacteria in the gut),” said Yvette Lee-Archer, naturopath and nutritionist at The Naturopathic Co.

“We don’t produce the same amount of digestive enzymes when we are stressed, therefore we don’t have the same capacity to process food properly. This causes digestive problems which accumulate and worsen over time.”

Self-control, discipline and a well-designed action plan can guide you on a positive path, despite your busy schedule. With this in mind, here are four ways to help you balance your health with a busy career:

1. Track and allocate your time

People spend time differently — that’s one reason why there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to managing one’s time efficiently.

Before implementing any changes to your busy lifestyle, the first step is to identify activities that eat up your time. How much of it goes to work? Is your daily commute taking up too much of your time? Do you still spend enough time on your hobbies and leisure?

Tracking how your time is currently spent is crucial in spending it properly. If you’re not paying enough attention to the foundations of your health — including proper diet and eating habits, physical activity, high-quality sleep and recreation — it’s your best opportunity to get them under control.

Once you’ve straightened your priorities, it’s time to organise a schedule to help you keep track of your daily activities. This way, you can optimise your time without burning yourself out, which is one cause of poor mental and emotional health among busy individuals.

2. Get meal prepping

On-the-go individuals usually don’t have time to prepare home-cooked meals.

While a healthy, balanced diet is essential to productivity, busy people often resort to ready-made meals that may not contain proper nutrition. However, there’s an excellent way to enjoy hearty meals despite busyness: preparing meals ahead of time.

Meal prep is the perfect strategy to achieve your daily nutritional requirements while avoiding unhealthy food options. There are many ways to approach meal prepping, depending on your goals, schedule and meal preferences, such as the following:

  • Batch cooking
  • Make-ahead meals
  • Use of ready-to-cook ingredients
  • Individual meal portioning.

However, meal planning and preparation can still be time consuming and stressful for some people. Instead of shopping for ingredients, planning recipes and preparing the food yourself, you can choose ready-made fresh and healthy meals from food box delivery services like HelloFresh and have them delivered to your doorstep weekly.

4 ways to balance health with a busy career

3. Time for leisure and recreation

With hustle culture becoming mainstream recently, people overwork almost daily, without taking adequate, well-deserved breaks.

While hustling at work seems promising, as you spend more time accomplishing your goals and earning more money, it can be the perfect recipe for burnout.

Surprisingly, health problems may arise from experiencing chronic stress at work. As your body is only designed to respond to short bursts of stress, it won’t be able to withstand prolonged and repeated stress from work, thus jeopardising your health. The impacts of chronic stress range from mild headaches to an increased risk of developing heart disease.

Mental and emotional health are also aspects that may become compromised once you step into a busy career. Setting boundaries with your work and personal life is necessary to attain a work-life balance. A simple bike ride on the weekends or a month-long vacation can significantly reduce your stress levels.

4. Have smart access to physical activity

Sometimes, it’s not the lack of time that hinders busy people in making good health choices but the inconvenience.

After your work shift, you’d prefer going home and taking a rest instead of going to the gym. As a result, you miss your daily exercise and just allot it for the weekends.

The key is to lessen the friction between your work schedule and physical activity by creating access and convenience. For example, you can sign up for a gym near your work location and attend after work. Alternatively, you can try walking, running or cycling as a part of your morning routine, instead of doing it later in the day.

Finding balance is key

Excelling at your career and maintaining excellent health should go hand in hand.

You can’t be your best at work with poor health and increased risks to health issues, which can hinder your performance.

Hence, take note of the tips discussed here to take control of your time and spend it on things that matter to your health and wellness.