Small Changes for Better Health, despite a busy life!

Health and fitness are not only for marathon runners and Olympic winners, it is for the daily folks whose lives are busy and fitting fitness into a schedule seems difficult, if not impossible. These few quick fixes should help keep our health in good condition, even if it won't make us models!
Sandhya Nagaraj
Published on: 19th June 2015
The other day, I met a friend who is a lecturer at an esteemed engineering college.

“How’s life?” I asked her giving an enthusiastic smile.

“Great, but very hectic”, she responded in a beat. The smile she gave was followed by a resigned frown.

I was tempted to laugh. With all the effort I needed to control it, I bit my tongue to stifle the laughter. Smiling back politely, I asked her a bit more in detail about her job, told her a bit about mine and left.
Better Health
The reason I wanted to laugh, is that everybody I meet finds their life hectic. I'm not picking on my poor friend who unwittingly told me so, she's just one amongst all of us who have the same attitude. While I have an argument about why people refuse to just say that they’re happy, that will be reserved for another article entirely. This article is solely about the small changes that we can make to make our very hectic lives less hectic and more joyful. And yes, that includes telling other people that we are happy.

1. Stress is in the mind, so take it out: There are people I know who do 16-hour days for months together without a break, and they don’t seem to need a ‘vacation’ at all. As long as you can take care of your bodies and get the amount of socializing that you need for sane functioning, the amount of work you do will not matter, if you enjoy it.

2. Get some exercise: Play a sport 3 days a week, join the gym. If your lifestyle has no time for these, then you can introduce small exercises like taking a walk in the evening in your office campus, taking the stairs instead of the lift, walking up to the bus stop instead of using a shuttle. You can do some yoga before you leave home in the mornings or a 30-minute stretch before hitting the bed. It need not be an intense 5 km run that your 40-year old enthusiastic colleague still manages to do every morning, it just needs to be what you can squeeze in, for now!

3. Eat healthy: Munching on carrots instead of chips every evening will not only save money, but also help your mind stay alert, and your body stay healthy. I’ve tried it, and it works! Avoid coffee and stimulants of any kind as much as you can. Quit smoking, and don’t do it for your family. Do it for yourself. Eat a heavy breakfast, keep your dinner light. Avoid those team lunches like the plague ;) Corporate team lunches often have buffets, which encourages unhealthy eating. Not helping you. One bit.
4. Hydrate: Water-I’m sure you know all about the importance of drinking enough water! Make sure you do, no more said on this!

5. Get quality sleep: The reason most people sleep long is because they don’t fall into deep sleep quick enough. Hard as it sounds, avoid using gadgets for half an hour before you sleep. Try to keep the lights dim around you for that half hour, so that your brain won’t have trouble falling asleep. I’ve gotten some blue blocking glasses that I wear an hour before hitting the bed, so that I can still stay in bright lighting and read/not read, it works like a charm. So if staying in bright light is a must till you sleep, try alternatives like the blue blocking glasses. Your quality of sleep will improve, meaning you will need less sleep. Woot.

6. Be around like-minded, enthusiastic people: Nothing equals being around people who are on the same page as you. Life isn’t always about accumulation, sometimes it is about elimination- eliminate those who are constant annoyances/ putting you down. If you can’t find people on the same page, at least make sure they’re in the same library as you!
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