How to create time in a busy schedule and improve your health
Published by: LifeWorks,
Recent research has proven that working too hard is actually a predictor of poor well-being and poor career-related outcomes. However, with so many work and family commitments, many of us are putting off getting healthy. This can be especially difficult around holiday time.
But making time for your health is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and the people you love. Some potentially life-threatening illnesses are nearly 100% curable if caught in the early stages. You can reduce your risk of developing others by getting preventive care, taking care of yourself, and adjusting your health routines as you age. It’s never too late to get started!
1. Lower your risk for certain diseases. By staying as healthy as you can, you may avoid illnesses such as stroke, heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis. Also, seek treatment for illnesses early enough that they can be cured. You can significantly increase your chances of surviving some diseases by getting tested for them.
2. Save money on medical and dental bills. A small investment of time can lead to big savings on healthcare costs. The cost may soar if you neglect routine health check-ups and problems that can be fixed by a simple procedure.
3. Plan ahead for check-ups and tests. Don’t wait until you have a problem to make a medical appointment. Many areas have doctor shortages and long wait times for appointments.
4. Schedule preventive care with someone you love. Have mother-daughter mammograms, and then go out to lunch together. Plan dental visits for everyone in the family on the same day, preferably on a day off from school.
5. Exercise in small doses if your time is limited. A brisk 15-minute walk twice a day can ease stress, rev up your circulation, and increase the flow of oxygen to your brain. Make it a habit of walking for a short time at lunch and then again when you get home from work, before tackling homework and dinner needs.
6. Have regular times for going to bed and getting up. Not getting enough sleep? Get back on track with a schedule. Research has shown that getting too little sleep raises levels of the hormone that makes you feel hungry, and people who get much less than the recommended 7 to 9 hours a night are more likely to be overweight.
7. Invest in an app or gadget that will help you stay on track. Aim for 10,000 steps a day. Count your steps with an app, like the iPhone Health app (which is built into the phone) or Pedometer ++. Or use a wearable wireless activity-tracker, such as the Fitbit Flex®. Or download My Fitness Pal, an all-in-one calorie counter and exercise tracker.
8. If you take medications, set up a reminder system for them. You might download the MediSafe medication reminder app or a similar tool or app. MediSafe will remind you of when you need to take a drug, and if you don’t confirm that you’ve done so, will send you a message.
9. Get help if you have a problem with drugs or alcohol or if you smoke. Ask your doctor to help you find ways to quit that would fit into your life. For drugs or alcohol problems, get in touch with a local chapter of a group such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or another alternative to 12-step programs. For help quitting smoking, call 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669). Quit Smoking Canada. NHS Smokefree. A five-minute phone call could change your life.
10. Learn stress-management techniques that you can do in five minutes. Try deep-breathing exercises: Sit or stand in a relaxed position in a quiet place. Inhale slowly through your nose to a count of five, and then exhale through your mouth for another count of five. Repeat until you feel calm. Try our Inhale Exhale Exercise Video