Healthy living is all about prioritizing your mental and physical health, so that no matter what you have going on in life, you make it work. That being said, no one is perfect. Some days you might slack, not every day has to be "perfect" (not to mention there's no such thing), and that's okay. Part of living a healthy lifestyle is being okay with the fact that circumstances are never perfect, and showing up for life and giving it the very best you can each day.
I feel like my life just gets busier and busier, but to not eat well would...pretty much be like not showering. Typical analogy, but it works. For the record, I have had days where I am too busy to shower, but I promise, eventually I make it happen!
Without further delay, here's a typical day in my life!
6:40 AM - ALARM
I like to get up pretty early before I have to be anywhere. Some might not consider this "early", but I don't have a very long commute to work (max 30 min), and I get ready very quickly. If I wanted to, I could sleep in a little bit and be up and out the door in 20 minutes, but I feel like my head is in a better place and I am more organized when I give myself plenty of time to wake up and ease into the day.
6:40-6:45 Meditate 5 minutes
I meditate every day, usually in the morning right as I get up. It's a ritual that helps me get into a positive and productive headspace for the day. I take pride in that my room is very "zen", so once my alarm goes off my meditation cushion is right there waiting for me. Just this five minutes of sitting with nothing but my mind allows me to set my head straight for the day and address any worries or anxieties I have for the day. My mind is usually running a thousand miles a minute and a lot of what I do in life is "others centered" so it really benefits me to slow down with my own mind, breathe, and check in with what's goin' on up there in my brain.
At this point, coffee is persistently on my mind. I've been up for about 7 minutes and that's 7 minutes too long to delay the gratification of coffee, however, I'll force myself to drink a glass of water first! You gotta do what you gotta do. I set up my coffee pot the night before so that all I have to do is brew in the morning. As my coffee is brewing I will turn on News 12 so I can "know before I go". As I am caffeinating, I make a to-do list of specific tasks I need to get done for the day and when I can fit those in.
Around 7:00 or so I will start to get myself looking like a human.
Depending on how much time I have before I have to be at my office, I have a couple go-tos for breakfast. If I know I have to be out the door super early the night before, I will make up some overnight oats so I can grab and go in the morning, or I will blend up a quick protein shake as it's easy, convenient, and portable. If I have a little more time I will make protein pancakes or eggs (by a little more time I mean 5-10 minutes, nothing crazy). The more comfortable you get with cooking, the less of a hassle it is to make something in the midst of getting ready for the day. If I don't have breakfast, I may as well have not even gotten out of bed, so it's a must. Just incase some un-foreseen circumstance has me rushing out the door, I always have grab and go options in my kitchen like yogurt and fruit or protein bars. Having a plan B is KEY! If you couldn't tell I like my carbs in the morning.
My work day starts at about 8am. When I begin, I have my second cup of coffee in hand. I'm a "sip coffee all morning" kinda gal. Throughout my morning shift I am seeing clients and in between, going through e-mails, missed calls and voicemails, and getting social media content planned and prepared (shameless plug: check out our awesome blog) . At some point I'll squeeze in a mid-morning snack which is usually some kind of fruit or nuts, easy.
Morning shift ends at about 1:00.
I live local enough to all of the offices I work out of that I can go home for lunch.
Again, depending on how busy the day is will determine what I am having for lunch. As I have more time, my meals become more intricate, but sometimes I just need to throw something together with what I have. At this point in my life, I'm in the habit of knowing ahead of time what I will eat for each meal as I think of what is in my fridge and what needs to be used up, but it took me a while to get to this point. I like to get a good amount of my veggies in during lunch time so I assess what I have in the fridge and what needs to be used first. Most days I will do a quick stir fry of veggies and throw in whatever protein I have on hand. On days where I'm feeling spunky I'll maybe make a quesadilla or sandwich but always with a side of veggies.
I try and find some time after lunch to do something I enjoy. Some days, I'm swamped with work as I'm pursuing another school degree, and just need to power through the day. If I need to, I will use my lunch break to catch up on school work. However, stress builds and it's really important to take time out wherever possible to take little "mini vacations" from your day. It helps decompress some of the stress from the day, and helps me be laser sharp once I get back to work. My work involves a lot of sitting at a computer so I will try to get some activity in at this time. If it's nice out I will go for a walk or I will try to catch a mid-day class at the yoga/barre studio down the block from my house. If I can't do that I'll do some yoga flow or other exercise at home.
My day after this really depends on the day of the week. I either have another shift of clients from about 3:00 through to the evening, or I go to my other job at the LI Crisis Center. My mid-day snack is usually right around 3 or 4. My favorite mid-day snack is sweet potato with a little almond butter and drizzle of maple syrup, but if I'm rushing off I'll grab yogurt with berries or if I have homemade protein bars on hand I'll grab one of those. Maybe I'll have another cup of coffee (hint: I'm addicted).
From then I am working some way, somewhere, and most nights I get home around 7:00ish, at which I have dinner, but if I am working later than that (~9pm) or if I am planning on going to the gym right after or barre studio for a 7:15 or 8:15 class, I will pack dinner with me so I'm not eating too late or too close to working out. Dinner is usually something I planned out in the beginning of the week. One of my favorite weeknight dinners is almond flour crusted chicken tenders with oven baked sweet potato fries and veggies. Another staple is taco lettuce boats. At the beginning of the week I plan 2 or 3 dinners, and usually just prep the individual ingredients (at least the ones that need longer cooking time), and throw them together as I want to each night.
BY 9:30 latest I am winding down from the day. I've made sure my to-do list items were taken care of. I'm exhausted but if I am feeling up to it, I will do some school work if needed. If I'm not, it's important to listen to my body and take it easy. I look at a screen for a large portion of the day and sometimes at this point my eyes are just burning by now and my contacts are drying up in my eyes. If I'm choosing the "relax" route, I will take a long shower, brew a cup of decaf tea, and do something I enjoy like listen to podcasts or music, read, write, draw, catch up with some friends, etc, or do some cleaning around the house that needs to get done if I'm feeling like being more mobile/productive.
Now, every time a client tells me their barrier to eating healthy is "I have the biggest sweet tooth", I can't help but laugh because, NO, I have the biggest sweet tooth. Another daily ritual of mine is to end the day on a sweet note. I always have something at night, it could be a healthy homemade hot chocolate, or ice cream, or something I bake like the protein cookie.
If I didn't do a morning meditation, I will meditate before I go to bed, especially if my head is racing from the day. I really value my sleep, I function at my best when I have 7-9 hours of sleep a night, so most nights I aim to get somewhere in that range. I try my best to avoid late nights up doing work, but of course it happens because I'm not perfect.
Keep in mind, this is a typical day, provided everything is running smoothly. But of course there are days where I have to move things around, I have to grab a meal out, but at this point my brain is so trained to have backup plans. The biggest factor that keeps me on track with healthy eating is that I am constantly cognizant of how I feel when I fuel my body properly. I mean, part of it could also be that I spend a large portion of my day telling other people how to make healthy choices...maybe a little bit. But hey, practice what you preach!