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Making the Most of Your Minutes: Everyday Health Strategies for Busy People

“Busy” is a relative term. In an era when multitasking is a given, it can be difficult to know when you’re “too busy.” Is it when there’s no time to sit down for a meal? Or when there’s no time to call a parent or sibling and have a simple conversation? If being too busy has to do with how you feel, then feeling tired, sluggish or depressed should be a sign that something’s missing. If that’s the case, it’s time to integrate healthy practices into your daily routine.

Stay hydrated

Start out each day with an 8-ounce glass of water and repeat until you’ve had 64 ounces of water every day. Water helps keep your organs functioning properly and gives your skin a lustrous, healthy appearance. It also controls appetite and reduces your desire for sugary drinks that promote weight gain. Of course, you’ll be running to the bathroom more often, but that’s not a bad thing because water flushes out toxins a busy person’s diet produces.

Plan to be healthy

Carve out an hour or two on Saturday or Sunday to plan ahead for the week by preparing some healthy but easy-to-make snacks. Baggies full of almonds, raisins and grapes make an excellent and energizing snack any time and they’ll help you stay away from the fast food drive-through. Grill some chopped-up chicken breast and vegetables and have it for lunch between meetings during the week. Make a point to also keep your gut health in check, which can contribute to your overall health and wellness. Include yogurt and a probiotic every day to keep your microbiome in good shape.

Anytime exercises

If you’re really that busy,it’s likely you can’t get to the gym as much as you should. If that’s the case, look for ways to work in fitness, like a few deep knee bends, jumping jacks or leg lifts while waiting for the next conference call to begin. If you commute to work, hop off the bus a few stops early and walk the last few blocks to your office. For someone who has no other opportunity to exercise, it could be your only chance to work your heart and get the blood circulating.

If you have health insurance, make the most of your treatment options and keep your health in check by visiting the doctor regularly. Maximizing coverage is especially important for seniors enrolled in Medicare because plans change frequently and may lack benefits you need. Medicare Advantage plans, like Humana’s, also offer vision and dental insurance and provide access to a network of exercise facilities. Whatever your age, make full use of your health coverage.

Control the mess

Studies have made a connection between clutter and stress and show that getting organized can improve your mental outlook. Make a point to organize and clean your home so that it can be the peaceful haven you need after a long day at work. If you don’t have time to clean your home, consider hiring a regular service to give your home a deep cleaning. It’s an affordable, worthwhile investment and eliminates one thing on your to-do list -- homeowners in Seattle only pay between $123 and $236 for an interior cleaning.

Get your sleep

Sleep is one thing you can’t afford to do without, no matter how busy you are. You might get away with skipping a meal now and then, but losing sleep causes a whole slew of problems that can undermine your health. A sleep deficit raises levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is hard on your organs and kicks your desire to overeat into overdrive. Your ability to focus suffers, decision-making becomes more difficult, and your performance at work may begin to slip. It can all be prevented by getting to bed at the same time every night and allowing your body to get into a regular sleep rhythm.

Observing healthy habits from day to day doesn’t have to be a formal undertaking. It’s pointless to try and rearrange a schedule that doesn’t have room for anything else. Instead, find ways to make the most of all the spare minutes you have. Those spare minutes can add up to a whole lot of effort to give you the health boost you need.

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