To say that my life is busy right now is an extreme understatement. Eric and I are moving soon and life at work is focused around getting a grant out the door. Weddings, birthdays, graduations, other celebrations - not only am I strapped for time physically, but my mental time for research, cooking experiments, and keeping up with a steady, healthy routine is diminished. It's easy to see how healthy habits can slip out the door as soon as you get busy. So, how do we combat this? First and foremost, it's important to identify and stick to a set of priorities: what main goals must you stick with no matter what?
Here is my list of top 5 priorities when my life gets insane:
- Have vegetable juice for breakfast: Juicing makes me feel great in the morning and gives my body the nutrients it needs to face the day. Easy on the digestive system, full of important vitamins, energy-producing - sometimes I really want something else, like pancakes and bacon, but I just remember how good I feel and power through. I only skip juicing when it becomes impossible due to travel.
- Eat a raw lunch when possible: It's quick enough to throw together salad ingredients for lunch, and it's frankly exactly what our bodies want anyway. Today for lunch I had kale, walnuts, chia seeds, strawberries, and grape tomatoes. Why raw? Because high heat cooking can destroy or diminish important enzymes and nutrients - while I'm not pursuing a fully raw diet, I often aim to eat raw foods up until dinner time as a means of maximizing my food choices.
- Stretch for 10 minutes per day: When you're busy and tired, exercising is often what gets left behind. I'm definitely guilty sometimes of skipping yoga so I have time to cook or do errands. I do walk roughly 2 miles a day on my commute, but the longer you go without stretching, the harder it can be to start up the habit again. Can you do 10 minutes? I've been experimenting with 10 minutes of stretching directly after I get home, as it doesn't seem to happen if I wait any longer.
- Sleep: Our bodies need sleep to heal and regenerate. My mind needs sleep to calm down. Yet, I never seem to go to bed until after 11pm, with a daily wake up at 5:45am. In our new apartment, my goal is to have no technology in the bedroom (no TVs, no computers) as a means of creating a more calming environment and removing the distractions. .
- Don't indulge: This past weekend I was at a party and decided to indulge in some of my old favorites: a glass of wine, a meatball sandwich, and salad with dressing / cheese. I can't prove that this combination generated a note-worthy reaction, but I spent much of Sunday feeling tired, feverish, and congested. Point taken. Whenever I'm feeling emotionally or physically depleted, one if my ingrained instincts is to reach for the comfort of certain foods and sweets. This is not to say that I'll never have another glass of wine or a piece of chocolate, but it is to say that cravings lurk below the surface no matter how long you've been eating well. Pay attention and indulge in small, more strategic quantities.