The summer months in Cornwall are hectic for those of us who live here. Simply planning a trip to Truro town centre to buy the kids some new shoes can turn into a military mission – which back lanes will have the least traffic, that secret place to park that you hope no one else has found, leave plenty of time to dodge meandering sightseers who have a knack of changing direction on a whim!
I agree, there simply is not time to suddenly introduce a load of ‘life hacks’ that are supposed to improve your quality of life but actually seem to make you feel guilty for not finding the time. So I have decided to focus on the things you already do know but maybe you are taking for granted – to eat better, feel better and so look better:
1. Healthy Eating
Preparing a healthy, well-balanced meal doesn’t have to be prohibitively time-consuming. Try prepping meals in advance to make cooking quick and easy. For example, chopping up a bunch of vegetables on Sunday night can give you an easy salad mix for Monday and Tuesday. Frozen, pre-made meals can be defrosted during the week. Soups, casseroles and pasta are good candidates for easily frozen and reheated meals.
But be careful to avoid unhealthy addictions that supply a quick fix. While I love coffee, I know that a short-term, pick-me-up can turn into a full-blown caffeine addiction. There is no nourishment in pizza, coffee or energy drinks alone. That kind of diet is simply not the path of sustainability. Take time to eat well; it will save time and money in the long run.
A lot of people seem to approach an exercise routine with an all-or-nothing attitude. If they can’t spend all night at the gym getting a full workout, why even bother going? That attitude leads to only one result: never working out at all.
Learn to fit in exercise when you can. Even just 20 minutes of activity is better than nothing.
A couple of convenient ideas:
- Take long calls on a walk. Get your exercise in while also getting your work done.
- Playing with the kids is a great workout. Hop on the trampoline, play tag or shoot some hoops. Not only are you spending quality time with your favourite people, but your whole family is getting active at the same time.
- If you’re close to work and the roads and weather will permit it, try leaving the car in the garage and hopping on your bike, or even a push scooter, for your daily commute. Grab some exercise and fresh air while experiencing your commute from an exciting and interesting new vantage point.
Don’t forget to give yourself a chance to relax. Wellbeing isn’t about going full-force at all times, so find a relaxing activity that works for you—whether it’s meditating, tending a garden, soaking in the bath, reading a book, listening to music or just sitting on the couch to watch a funny movie once in a while.
Productivity soars when we focus on one task at a time, not letting ourselves get distracted. However, it can be harmful to focus on something so intensely that you don’t stop until it’s done, especially when working on large, complex and stressful tasks. Even more so if it involves remaining in one fixed position for more than 30 minutes – you need to occasionally hit the ‘pause’ button, perhaps seek counsel from others. It’s possible that advice or assistance, especially from those who care about you, can save a lot of extra effort.
Leave work where it belongs—at work. Take time off and focus on quality time. Find an activity that brings the whole family together. Play a game, go camping, take a bike ride or just have a nice dinner together, no distractions. When you’re with your family, be with your family.
Without making a conscious effort to do otherwise, it’s easy to get in a rut where we are either working or focused on the kids; anything else is simply too exhausting. Don’t forget that being a good parent is not the same as being a good spouse. Both of these roles are unique and require different elements. You cannot satisfy one and assume the other will manage itself.
Balance is about managing every dynamic in your life. Without good balance, it is only a matter of time before the other dynamics suffer.
If you start to look after the top 4 on this list then this should follow, but it amazes me how many people simply do not pay attention to their own body. The problem is that if we ignore what our body is trying to tell us then our body will just have to tell us more loudly until we reach the point when we are in quite considerable pain. This is our body’s way of forcing us to stop and look after ourselves.
Preempt this by focusing on your diet, exercise, relaxation, family and listen when your body is whispering in your ear that something isn’t quite right – remember its a lot quicker (and cheeper) to prevent an injury than it is to fix one.
Now that you know better, you can’t rely on that old, “I’m too busy” excuse. A healthier, more active life really isn’t that time-consuming—the time is already there, we just have to put it to better use.