When it comes to a lack of progress in our health & wellness, one of the biggest lies that we tell ourselves is that we don’t have enough time to __________ (fill in the blank: work out, eat healthier, meditate, declutter our home, etc.).
How we perceive our available time and the reality of the time we have is often quite different.
Let me start by saying that if you’re working all day, have a family to take care of, carpool places, dinner to make, & homework to help with I know that your time is truly both limited and precious. Some of these activities can not be removed from the schedule.
But I want to talk about 2 main areas taking up our time that can be changed:
Activities we can declutter from our schedule
Time we waste with mindless activity
1. Activities we can declutter from our schedule
First, let’s look at all of those things we do in a day. If you have a moment, take a piece of paper and write out the commitments you have daily or weekly. Whether it’s for yourself, or another family member if it involves you driving them there.
This may be a long list, or it may be a short list. But either way, look at each thing on that list with new eyes.
Do you need to spend your hour lunch going to a restaurant? Or could you pack a healthy lunch from home, eat in half the time and spend the other 30 min taking a walk? (double health win!)
Do your kids need to be in 4 activities each that require various chasing around each night and on weekends? Activities are amazing for kids, but kids need down time just as much as you do. Consider scaling back to a more manageable amount of activities that allow everyone to have a couple evenings per week without something to go to.
The same goes for your activities. Social hangouts, book groups, hobby groups, etc. All amazing things, but sometimes less is more. If you feel overwhelmed, stressed, or like you never have a moment to yourself, it may be time to scale back.
2. Time we waste with mindless activity.
Do you know how much time you spend every day on your phone? Most people would probably guess way off. In a time where it is so easy to stay connected, we are often TOO well connected. Our phone is always within our grasp…ready to check that notification, search for something, get directions, or answer that burning question in our.
And these can be great things. I find it so amazing to have a wealth of knowledge at my fingertips. But it can also be our biggest downfall when it comes to being a time suck.
If you haven’t ever truly tracked your phone usage, check out one of these apps to find the truth:
Offtime [Android] [IOS]
Social Fever [Android]
Moment [Android] [IOS]
But of course, it’s not just phones…it can be other things like video games, television, or reading. What…did I say reading? I sure did. Please note, I’m a HUGE fan of reading. #booksforthewin But if you spend 3 hours a night with your nose in a book, but tell me you have no time for exercise, I have to call you out.
In the end, we make time for what is a priority.
Yes, let that sink in.
Whether it’s our family, our health, or our phone. How we spend our free time (non-work time) is a reflection of what our priorities are.
And fitting in health & wellness activity doesn’t have to be hard or ultra time-consuming. Here are a few ways to fit it in without spending hours.
1. Exercise at home
Sure the gym is great, but the extra time driving to the gym, the longer classes, the socializing, etc. can all take up a lot of extra time. You don’t need the gym for a good workout. One of my favorite free resources for workouts is Fitness Blender. They have hundreds of free workouts with all different time ranges. You can get a great workout done in 15-20 min right from home. There are even options for with and without weights.
Another favorite of mine is Beachbody on Demand. I’ve been using these videos for a year and a half now and the variety is amazing! There are always new programs coming out and many of the programs have dozens of completely different workouts. BOD comes in at $99 for the year, which is only $8.25/mon – way cheaper than the gym!
2. Take time for destressing/unwinding
When you live in a life that has you on the go-go-go all the time, it’s so important to take time to STOP. Not all stress can be removed from our lives, but we can combat this by de-stressing & finding downtime. Some of my favorite ways to relax are…
- taking a walk (even 15 min will help)
- meditating (I love the Calm app)
- yoga or stretching (lots of free options on you tube + both exercise options above offer yoga & stretching videos)
- taking 15-20 min to do an activity you love that restores you (a favorite hobby, reading, listening to music, etc)
3. Spending time to plan & make healthy meals
I’m a huge proponent of meal planning. It’s the main thing that gets a health dinner on our table every night. When I don’t plan, things go south pretty quickly with our meals. I created a resource just for this that you can grab below.
Meal planning isn’t just about dinners, though. You have to plan healthy foods so that all of your meals and snacks are good options for your body. Sometimes this means prepping things ahead, but it also could mean purchasing some healthy precut veggies to make life easier. Take time to pack your healthy lunch the night before as you clean up dinner. This way it will be ready for you the next morning and you won’t have to scramble to make lunch or end up getting take out.
One other resource I love is the book Cook Once, Eat All Week that I’ve talked about on my blog before. We use this book very often for planning out our meals. My blog post goes into more detail, but this book has a menu, a shopping list, recipes, and prep instructions to get things ready so that mealtime is quick and easy. This process has been so amazing for me on the days I work out of the home.
4. Declutter your home
I’m a huge fan of simplifying your home and life. A cluttered home generally leads to disorganization, stress, and wasted time. Time is wasted by looking for things when you can’t find them among piles of papers and when you have to spend your precious free time dusting lots of items, picking up messes, or reorganizing a closet for the 5th time.
Taking the time to declutter and simplify your home now will give you more time for the things you love to do.
Don’t let the excuse of “I don’t have time” derail you from your goals. Your health (mental & physical) is so extremely important. Stress from an overscheduled, crazy busy life can work against you in so many ways. Finding the time to unwind, eat well, move your body, and relax your mind is a necessity.