This post is sponsored by National Stroke Foundation
BUSY…. it became my word of 2015, I used it as an excuse for nearly everything. Firstly I was too busy to get my back properly checked, four months later I finally went to the physio and got treatment, I was feeling much better within a fortnight, I truly wish I went sooner, but busy got in the way. I haven’t had nearly enough coffee’s with my Dad or friends as I was working all day and then running kids around in the afternoons, even my exercise habits took a side turn… because I was too busy.
It wasn’t until I stopped work in November last year to move house that I realised how much pressure I had been putting myself under. Not realising that I have not been putting the important things in life first. With kids, work and so many other responsibilities in between I was blinded by busy and it got in the way of me properly looking after myself.
I haven’t so much given myself a New Years resolution, I gave myself a new house resolution, which I started in early December and I have to say I feel so much better (except for coming down with bronchitis on the second day of the new year).
It is possible to stay healthy when life gets busy by taking time out each week to organise time outdoors with the family, create work/life balance, prepare healthy snacks and more. Like Jada Pinkett-Smith says nobody else is going to look after you and your happiness, better than you. Looking after your health will energise you and help you keep on top of everything you need to do in everyday life.
How to stay healthy when life gets busy
Easy to grab snacks
It can be so easy to open the pantry and grab a sweet biscuit or some chocolate when you’re hungry. Instead create other items that are just as easy to grab, but a healthier option, just to name a few:
- handful of nuts
- vegetable sticks
- pre-washed fruit
- hard boiled egg
- bliss balls
- a protein bars
I love chocolate and know it’s a weakness of mine, so I have not purchased any chocolate to store in my pantry, out of site out of mind (well not really off my mind but rather…. out of my mouth). Instead, I have packaged up some go-to snacks to easily grab.
Container on the left is my favourite container at the moment, the clever, screw-on collar and silicone lid ensure nothing leaks out and both parts nest neatly together when empty in order to save space. It can hold two different types of snacks (in this I have fruit in the bottom, and nuts in the top compartment, options could be fruit and yoghurt or vegetables sticks and hummus – list is endless). The containers on the right I purchased recently from the Reject Shop, set of five, BPA free and they twist together.
A good night’s sleep
Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Sleep is involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. According to the Sleep Health Foundation and adult should sleep between seven to nine hours each day.
I used to stay up late at night watching TV, now I put the kids to bed around 8pm, watch a show with my hubby and then go to bed around 9pm. By going to bed earlier I have found I am waking earlier, usually between 5-6am which has given me some good quality time by myself in the mornings, sometimes I potter in the kitchen or read a magazine while drinking my cuppa in peace.
Get a general health check
Over the New Year I was really crook with asthmatic bronchitis. It was day five that I got my hubby to take me to the doctor’s to get checked… took me that long you know thinking I’m superwoman and can beat a little bug, not realising I was having asthmatic episodes. I had been been to the doctor only a handful of times over the past year, and it occurred to me that I haven’t had my cholesterol tested (I’m on the high side of good) or blood pressure checked in at least 12 months, this was not good, it should be monitored more regularly than that. Now that I am feeling better, I have made myself an appointment with my doctor for when the kids go back to school for a general health check.
KNOW YOUR NUMBERS
It’s so important to keep on top of your general health and to know your numbers. To know what is your cholesterol level is, your risk of diabetes, your blood pressure etc.
Every hour, five Australians die from heart, stroke and blood vessel disease. It’s hard to know if you’re at risk because often you won’t feel any symptoms. High blood pressure and type 2 diabetes are both risk factors for stroke and heart disease.
A Know your numbers health check helps you to understand your risk factors and the steps you can take to reduce your risk. Being too busy to get to the doctors is no longer an excuse, as in Queensland, the National Stroke Foundation runs a Know your numbers’ program where you can visit a local participating pharmacy and get a free blood pressure check and a diabetes and cardiovascular risk assessment. Find the participating Know your numbers site nearest to you here.
For those not in Queensland – check if your local pharmacy offers free blood pressure checks, or alternatively ask your GP the next time you go to see them.
To make it even easier to keep track of your numbers, the National Stroke Foundation has also created these awesome free printables for download – health trackers to help you Know your numbers in 2016.
I had to go back to the chemist to refill my antibiotic prescription and while I was there I got them to do a free Know your numbers health check on my hubby and I.
Surprisingly, Scotty hasn’t had a general health check in the past seven or more years and couldn’t remember the last time his blood pressure was taken. Thankfully, his assessment didn’t raise any alarm bells and he just need to routinely monitor his numbers.
I on the other hand, need to take better care of myself. The pharmacist expressed how important it was that I go and get my cholesterol levels checked regularly, as cholesterol contributes to blood vessel disease, which is a risk factor for stroke. In my case, even though it’s hereditary, it’s something I need to regularly monitor.
Sneak in exercise
Exercise doesn’t necessarily mean going to the gym or doing a five kilometre walk, any form of physical activity is better than nothing. Try some of these ideas:
- bike riding
- playing soccer, tennis, catch with the kids
- cleaning the house can even give you a good workout
Miss 12 and I go for a walk three mornings a week. The kids also gave me a new bike for my birthday, one with a very comfortable seat and I have thoroughly enjoyed riding around our neighbourhood on the bike. I follow the kids around on their bikes and I feel like a kid again.
Drink more water
Staying hydrated is a must for good health. The human body is made up of 50-75 percent water. It makes sense that staying well-hydrated (especially in hot weather and when exercising) is crucial to making sure our bodies function at their best.
Drinking water is a chore for me, however, I have recently started taking a bottle of water with me wherever I go. Having it next to me at my desk, in the car and in my handbag while shopping I find that I am drinking more water, even when not feeling thirsty, which is good for me!! I do feel better for it.
This water bottle is brilliant it offers an easy way to extract juice and flavor from citrus fruits and infuse them directly into your water bottle.
If you have previously visited my blog, you may have read that I have a really good work/life balance. Traditionally, I work between 10-3 and the remainder of the day is family time, busy did get in the way of this in the later part of last year and I did find I was working into the night. A key element of my new home resolution was to get that balance back and I won’t work at the desktop from 3pm; it doesn’t matter how many email or items I have on my to-do list, I switch off. Sometimes, I may sit with the kids in the evening and watch some TV, the kids usually choose the program and if I’m not a fan of the show I may dabble on the laptop.
Balance to me is a huge factor in my stress levels which effectively hinders my health. Look at your scheduled and balance your home, family and work commitments so you are taking time to look after you.
Being busy does not mean you can’t be healthy, I hope some of these tips will inspire you to become happier and healthier this year.