We allot time to important things like work, creative endeavors, education, sleep and socializing. But what about ourselves? Do we set aside time in our day to take care of our physical and emotional needs?
How often at the end of the day do you say to yourself, “I didn’t have time to exercise today” or “I only ate junk food because I was on the run all day”? Adding these activities to your calendar in advance can prevent you from feeling regret each evening when you realize you didn’t take care of yourself during the day.
What kinds of things should you put on your calendar? First, how about exercise. Thirty minutes of walking or yoga, or an hour-long class at the gym should be put on your calendar every day. In addition, don’t forget to include travel time to and from your exercise site, and showering, dressing, etc. There is nothing worse than putting a thirty minute walk on your calendar followed by a business lunch and having no time in between to shower and change. Because what will happen? You won’t take your walk.
Once a week.
Once each week, set aside a long chunk of time for a hike, a long run or walk, or a special class such as zumba or pilates.
For most of us this would happen on the weekend when there is more time to relax and when we are not hurried. Doing your long exercise session with a friend or your spouse can be fun and motivating, and you are less likely to cancel when you commit to someone else.
Another important item to include on your calendar is meal planning and preparation. When you have about an hour to concentrate, sit down with your calendar and make note of where you will be each day at breakfast, lunch and dinner, and make plans for those meals. Will you have a business lunch or can you eat at your desk that day? How many nights will you be home for dinner? Would you like a special night out with a friend?
Write in a trip to the grocery store on your calendar.
After planning your meals, head off to the store for the fixings for easy, quick meals – salad and sandwich ingredients, quick soups, crock pot meals, chicken and fish for broiling or grilling. Plan to make extra so that you can bring leftovers to work for lunch. When you get home from the store, cut up your veggies and put into individual containers to make salads easy to throw together. Marinate your chicken and fish so it will be ready to cook. Portion out snacks into plastic bags or small containers.
Set aside thirty to sixty minutes every morning on your calendar to prepare your food for the day. Pack up breakfast, snacks and lunch in a small insulated tote bag to carry with you so that you don’t resort to junk food during a jam-packed day.
Does this seem like it takes a lot of time? Do it gradually; first add in the exercise and when that becomes a habit, add in the time for meal planning. Think of it as an investment – an investment in your own health and wellbeing.