Planning meals can seem daunting at first, but with practise it can become second nature and will make healthy eating stress-free and convenient. The easiest thing to do is to make multiple portions of a nutritious meal such as bircher muesli or a vegetable and lentil stew and save the leftovers for future meals. Equally, you can dedicate one hour a couple of times a week to prepare big batches of grains such as quinoa and rice, steam or roast vegetables and make dips and dressings. Then, you can assemble your packed lunches and dinners throughout the week using these ingredients and topping them with fresh salad, seeds and a plant-based protein such as chickpeas, beans or tofu.
When you’re busy, exercise is an easy thing to cancel or forget about, but this can mean you’re missing out on the numerous physical and mental health benefits of regular physical activity. Exercising is just as important for your health and wellbeing as sleeping and eating, so try to prioritise movement as you would an important doctor’s appointment. If you don’t have time or simply don’t enjoy going to the gym, you can still incorporate physical activity in other ways such as cycling to work or going for a walk on your lunch break.
You may be distracted and have a lot on your to do list, but nothing is more important than friendship. Spending quality time with friends and family will remind you of your sense of purpose and belonging as well enable you to maintain a positive mindset, which in turn will allow you to better cope with having a busy lifestyle. Planning social events in advance will not only give you time to get things done beforehand but also give you something fun to look forward to.
Learn to say no to things rather than taking on every opportunity that comes your way. Evaluate your priorities and make sure you have space in your calendar for other spontaneous activities and time to rest. This may mean missing out on a social occasion or turning down a job opportunity, but it’s better to say no than risk suffering from burn-out.
Allocating your time efficiently is crucial for maintaining a busy lifestyle without compromising your health or wellbeing. Your morning commute to work can be used to read or listen to a podcast, you can catch up on your favourite TV programme while doing an at-home workout, you can spend your lunch break catching up with a friend, or you can invite a friend to work out and cook with you! Invest in a visual calendar or diary to keep track of your engagements and jot down thoughts and feelings so you can check in with your mental health and identify any situations that aren’t working for you.
+ Words: Yasmin Razzaque
Yasmin Razzaque is a Biochemistry graduate with a keen interest in health and nutrition. She uses her scientific knowledge and ability to critically analyse research to write articles about healthy and sustainable eating and wellbeing.