Friday, February 24, 2012

Guest Post: Making Time for Health in a Hectic World

It’s no secret that today’s world presents numerous challenges to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. When you add to that the pressures to be a successful student and outstanding employee, things get even tougher. Is it possible to maintain a healthy lifestyle while balancing work and school? Of course it is! You just have to be creative.

Stand up
If you’re going to be spending time online, whether writing a paper, studying or socializing, try creating a standing work station. If you have a laptop, you can place it on a raised counter. If you have a PC, try raising the height of a desk, or creating a stack with those big textbooks.  At work, it never hurts to ask if your boss will allow you to get creative with your work station. You can also take your phone calls standing up if at all possible.

Take a walk
Rather than emailing a co-worker a few steps away, walk over to their desk to speak with them. You get the benefit of exercise and human contact, which we so often forget about these days. If your office set up allows for it, take some lunchtime laps and walk around the inside or outside of your building. Try parking farther away when the weather is nice outside.

Take your breaks
Students should take 15 minute breaks for every 45 minutes they study. Use those 15 minutes to stand up and stretch or fit in another walk. Fifteen minutes is even enough time to squeeze in a quick workout. Try this- 10 push-ups, 10 crunches, 10 squats, 10 jumping jacks. Repeat the sequence five times. If you’re at work, be sure to take the breaks you’ve earned. You can use the time to walk, stretch or enjoy a healthy snack.

Plan ahead for healthy lunches
Select a variety of greens from the grocery store and make it a point to alternate them throughout the week in salads. Alternate your salad toppings to add variety and different vitamins and minerals each day. Buy a variety of protein to alternate each day as well. Roast vegetables in the evening to pack for the next day- asparagus, brussels sprouts, broccoli, squash. The possibilities are endless and you can use the money you save on buying lunch to treat yourself to a movie or rock climbing over the weekend.

Pack healthy snacks
Take some time over the weekend to prepare healthy snacks for your work week. Pick up fruits and vegetables that can easily be chopped and divided into small containers- celery, cucumbers, baby carrots, bell peppers, berries, apples, grapes. Portion them out and pack a condiment of choice for dipping- mustard, hummus, tahini. Nuts and seeds make great portable snacks as well. You can carry all of the containers in with you on Monday so you don’t even have to think about it the rest of the week.

Take control of the treats
As both a student and an employee, it can be hard to avoid unhealthy food at social functions without feeling left out. If your office is celebrating, offer to bring something you feel good about eating. If you’re attending a special event, make the healthiest choice possible and don’t forget to enjoy the company as much as the food!

 Do you have any creative ideas for maintaining a healthy lifestyle while balancing work and school?

This post contributed by Casey Conway.

Casey Conway is a TWU graduate student. She has a passion for health education and disease prevention, and enjoys every opportunity to incorporate healthy living strategies into her daily life. Casey holds a master’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in public relations from the University of North Texas and a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Texas at Dallas. She currently assists national and international nonprofit associations with event planning, communications and membership administration. She also is a freelance writer and editor. Casey holds a personal trainer certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering, yoga and reading. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great post, Casey! Looking forward to future posts from a passionate health educator.