It’s easy to start a new fitness plan or make changes to your diet. The true challenge is keeping those changes in place, no matter what daily life throws at you. In fact, when life gets busy, when you’re traveling, stressed out or focused on work–is exactly the time when you need to double down on your wellness plan and stick to it. But there are plenty of ways to undermine your success without even realizing it.
Here are some of the hidden ways that your lifestyle might be holding you back from wellness. How many of these apply to you?
Eating on the run
At our health retreats, we spend a lot of time discussing the importance of fueling your body with foods that promote wellness and provide energy. Not giving thought to how and what you eat will undercut most of your other wellness and weight loss successes.
When you get busy, you’re more likely to push aside your commitment to health in favor of whatever is fastest or most easily available. Resist the urge to eat what is provided at work, just because it’s there (or free). Avoid hitting up the company kitchen to graze on unhealthy snacks as a way to take a break from work. Instead, choose fruits, veggies, and nuts that you bring from home. Pack your own lunch or dinner. Don’t compromise your wellness for the sake of a quick bite.
The ideal amount of sleep varies by individual, but most of us don’t get enough. When life gets hectic, it’s tempting to cut into all that “free time” between late night and early morning. Don’t make this mistake. Not only does sleep give your body the opportunity to rest and repair itself, it’s a chance for your mind to tune out worry and re-set for a new day. Be kind to yourself by protecting your sleep habits no matter what.
Wellness and health retreats often emphasize the importance of taking time to calm your mind and turn your attention inward. Meditation, journaling or quiet walks are all fantastic ways to become more present. But back in the real world, these activities can become quickly forgotten or get shoved aside in place of other tasks on our “to-do” lists. When this happens, stressful and fearful thoughts can quickly creep back into your inner dialogue. Before you know it, that familiar inner critic is once again running the show.
Create space for introspection in your daily routine. Meditation doesn’t require special equipment or knowledge–just a desire to relax and turn your focus inward. You can even do it at your desk. Focus on yourself in whatever way feels most comfortable and achievable for you. The important thing is to stick to it.
Not turning off from work
Not only does work physically occupy the majority of our waking hours, many of us bring the stresses of the workplace with us when we clock out. It’s nice to be able to unplug the moment you cross the threshold of the home, but with looming deadlines or big presentations, sometimes it’s just not practical.
If this is the case for you, set a home “office hour.” That literally means: don’t pick up the phone or answer any emails except during a specific hour that you set aside for this purpose. Everything else can wait until tomorrow. This might take a little getting used to, but by carving out this space for work, you protect the rest of your time–and your sanity.
Don’t overlook the small daily choices that can create a major positive impact on how you feel. As we’ve mentioned before, wellness is not a one-time choice or change. It’s a holistic understanding of how your mind and body work together, fueled by an ongoing commitment to take action that supports your health and wellbeing. Keep choosing right.