Improve your health with three steps

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Lately, I’ve been having some anxiety around time. I feel like I’m overcommitted, and there just isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done. Truth be told, looking at my schedule this week is freaking me out a bit, and I’m not sure how I’m going to fit in three meals a day – let alone cook them.

So, yea, I feel a bit overwhelmed. But who isn’t nowadays? We all have a lot going on, and we have a lot of demands – personally and professionally – that are thrown at us whether we want them or not. Unfortunately, when looking to tackle these tasks, most of us push our health to the backseat. I know it because I used to do it all the time, and I still sometimes want to. But even though workouts, sleep, and cooking are often the first things I want to throw out the window, I know they can’t be. And here’s why: If I’m not in my best physical state, I can’t be in my best mental state. Food affects the body and mind – so does sleep, so does movement, and so do all the other healthy activities we want to drop when our schedules get tight.

So, as much as we want to ditch the health stuff when we get busy, we have to find a way to honor our bodies if we want to honor our commitments to their fullest. The question, of course, is how the hell do we do that? Great question. While there are a bunch of techniques out there, here’s what I do:

When I get super busy, I pick three things I can do that day to keep me healthy. I first heard about this technique at a management class I took a few years back. The concept was simple enough: At the start of each morning, write out three things you need to accomplish in your work day and go from there. Real talk: It worked wonders for my work life. So, it got me thinking, could this work for my personal life? And, friend, it sure worked. It’s just so practical when you think about. I mean, three things is very manageable. Not to mention, it’s up to you decide what you can and can’t do; so, you can go at your pace. And you really do feel accomplished once you’ve completed all three health tasks.

It’s been such a game changer for me as it enabled me to adopt habits, figure out what works and doesn’t work, and helped me slowdown in the midst of chaos (which is actually the best thing you can for your mind and body). But before you start, read this big disclaimer: You have to keep your list to three. You can do more, but do not commit yourself to more on really busy days or you’ll just end up back in the cycle of self-loathing – you know, the “why am not doing what I should be doing” self-loathing cycle.

So, next time you’re feeling crazed and overwhelm, don’t ditch your health. Instead, pick three things you can do that day to improve your body and mind. It could be something as simple as drink two liters of water, eat breakfast, and walk for 20 minutes. Or, on days that are crazy but not too crazy, it could look more robust like go to the gym, pack a lunch, and walk mid-day for 30 minutes. Regardless of what your three things look like, rest assure you’ll end the day better off than you would have. And that is something to be proud of.

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