How A Busy Life Can Force You Into An Unhealthy One
Being healthy is a luxury for those who have nothing to do, am I right? Well, I am kind of right but it won’t do us busy people any good to believe that—to lean on that excuse for being unhealthy. Of course, I understand the sentiment. Some of my healthiest friends are my friends who, for whatever reason, don’t need to work. They have plenty of time to take exercise classes, meditate, and cook. When they ask me why I don’t do more of all of that I want to say, “I’d like to see you still julienning carrots if you worked all day long!” I don’t say that because they meant no harm. They just don’t get it. Busy people don’t hunt down and aggressively seek out unhealthy habits. They just present themselves to us so easily. They shove themselves down our throats, practically. Here is how a busy lifestyle leads you to an unhealthy one.
Exercise falls to the wayside
Well I can either get an extra hour of sleep (which I’m already low on) or get up and go to the gym, and feel twice as exhausted all day. Can I exercise after work? Sure. If I want to deal with the crazy 6pm rush at the gym of everyone else doing the same thing and miss dinner with my partner.
Or it’s short, intense workouts
If I have time to exercise it’s short—very short. So the exercise has to be quite intense, like a rapid run around the neighborhood. It’s all about burning calories, fast. But, I don’t get to participate in more drawn-out exercises that stretch the muscles and improve flexibility. It’s not really good to just do short, very intense workouts. The body needs a variety of exercises.
Choosing the fastest food
When you’re busy, time is so precious. It just devastates you to spend most of your lunch break waiting in line at the healthy salad bar and building your salad. That entire process eats up 25 minutes, and you really only had 40 minutes for this whole thing since the walk to and from work is 10 minutes each way. So, yes, you grab that personal pizza that is ready to go in the food court. You lose health points but gain 20 precious, precious minutes to yourself.
Never sitting down to a meal
On very busy days, I don’t sit down to a proper meal. I just snack on whatever I can easily snack on while still working. A string cheese. A bagel. These are things I can hold with one hand while scrolling and typing with the other. But I don’t dedicate time to sitting down, eating slowly, and focusing on the meal.
Drinking to unwind
If your life is go-go-go, you don’t have time to gradually unwind. You get home and you have exactly one hour to chill until you need to go to bed. You need the relaxation to start ASAP, but it won’t without a little help. Like from some alcohol. So, you have a couple of drinks every night just to force your ever-working brain to slow down.
Making and eating a proper breakfast feels like a massive waste of time to us busy individuals. Am I really going to stand around, flipping an omelet when I can just feel traffic building up outside? Nope. So I skip breakfast, op for lots of coffee, and wind up gorging on fatty foods at lunch because I’m starving at that time.
Missing family meals
If you’re a mother, perhaps you don’t sit down to have breakfast with your family. You get them set up with their bowls of cereal, then you buzz around the house getting ready/doing work. Or, maybe you put dinner on the table, and retreat to your laptop with your bowl of pasta while the rest of the family enjoys time together. You miss out on those precious moments when everyone just sits together—no laptops or phones.
Eating while working
Speaking of no laptops or phones, there is no such thing in my life. Even if I need both hands to eat my meal, that’s a perfectly good time to proof read a document. Even if I’m at a restaurant, I can make a work call, and just mute the phone on my end while the other person talks. I’m always multi-tasking. It pains me to miss an opportunity to multi-task, even though it means I’m not focusing on what I’m eating or how quickly I’m eating.
Substances for sleeping
Perhaps the busiest people sleep the worst—oddly enough. You’d think we’d tire ourselves out but I know my brain, personally, is too wired after a busy day to conk out. So I often need to turn to over the counter (or prescription) sleep aids to pass out. I don’t have time to lie around, trying to fall asleep. I have to be up in seven hours!
Ordering in with the group
When things get really busy, if everyone around me is putting in a food delivery order, of course I hop on. Was I going to assemble a salad with things I had in the fridge? Yes. But I can save time if I just eat burritos with everybody. And group mentality is very powerful.
If you’re as busy as I am, then you see eating food as a waste of time. If it were up to you, you could just consume a supplement that gave you all the nutrients you needed and move on. Think of the time you’d save! But I can’t do that, so instead, I race to finish my plate in less than 12 minutes. Then I eat too much, get bloated, and feel fatigued.
Never grocery shopping
I see the grocery store as a giant time suck—don’t you? You wish the food could just be in your fridge. You don’t want to walk around the store, navigating isles, waiting in line, waiting for the fresh meat guy to show up at the counter. So…maybe you just…have an empty fridge. And keep buying food out. You say “some day” you’ll fill the fridge, but it’s never a convenient time.
No time for affection
My partner and I fall into this bad habit: if one of us is ready to go to bed, we can’t wait even ten minutes for the other to join us. Our sleep is so precious to us, we get frustrated just waiting for the other to brush their teeth and come to bed. So we pass out, missing out on time to snuggle (or more).
Tons of caffeine
Getting enough sleep is not an option. So how is a person to stay not just awake but also alert enough to not make tons of mistakes? Sweet, sweet caffeine, baby! But, the more you have, the more you need. And it adds to that issue of being wired when you get home and needing sleep aids.
Forgetting the big picture
Ultimately, we can forget that the entire reason we keep so busy is so that we can build some sort of stability, from which we can enjoy things like…family…travel…relationships…creativity. But in the pursuit of that, we pass up on chances to be with family, to travel, to relax, and to get creative. Isn’t that missing the big picture?