One of the biggest obstacles to improving health and wellness is a lack of time. Exercising regularly, prepping and cooking nutritious meals, grocery shopping, spending time with loved ones, engaging in stress-relieving leisure activities …all of these take up precious hours in the day. Combined with the fact that so much of our time is already spent in other obligations, such as work and household chores, it’s no wonder most of us feel like we have no time left over to focus on ourselves! The truth of the matter is: you have more time for your health than you think.
Discover 5 strategies to make time for your health:
1. TRACK YOUR TIME
Keep a diary of your daily activities for the week to learn how exactly you spend your time. You’ll likely be surprised how much time you spend on unnecessary or counter-productive activities, like watching TV and scrolling through social media. In fact, your smartphone can track your screen time and let you know how much time you spend daily on things like checking email, talking on the phone, and checking Instagram. When you’re honest with yourself about how you spend your time, chances are you’ll be able to easily see how you can free up at least a half hour (or much more) to devote to healthier behaviours.
2. ADJUST YOUR ATTITUDE
Avoid striving for perfection – life is simply too busy! Set goals that can realistically fit into the time that you do have to spare. If you feel like you don’t have the time on the weekend to prep meals for the entire week ahead, that’s ok! Try doubling up the portions of your Sunday meal, and then rely on quick meals that can be made in 30 minutes or less for the week. Likewise, if you can’t devote an hour to the gym every day, try 15 minute home workouts (YouTube is a great resource!).
3. DITCH, DELEGATE, AND ASK FOR HELP
If you’re truly overwhelmed with other obligations, start assessing how much time you spend on chores, obligations, or activities that:
1) aren’t truly necessary
2) don’t bring you joy
3) can be delegated to someone else
Maybe you spend more time than is truly necessary cleaning your house, or maybe there are other individuals in your household who should be helping out, or maybe your budget can allow to outsource that cleaning to someone else entirely. Whenever possible, ditch what isn’t necessary or enjoyable, and ask for help when you need it. You don’t have to do it all.
4. AIM SMALL
When it comes to exercise and eating well, try something, no matter how small, over nothing. For example, a 10 minute walk around the block at lunch is better than nothing at all (and remember, repeated behaviours help to build a habit). Add a handful of raw veggies with dip to your supper meal if you don’t have enough time to cook a side dish. Squeeze in ten minutes of stretching while watching TV, even if you don’t have time to make it to a yoga class. Ditch the “all-or-nothing” attitude and make the most of whatever time you do have.
Combine activities to be even more efficient with your time!
- Get together with your friend/parent/sibling/partner to food prep for the week
- Take phone calls while out walking the dog
- Swap drinks with friends for a group fitness class or hike
- Watch your favourite show on the treadmill, while doing a home workout, while stretching, or while prepping food for the week