Staying Healthy When You Have No Time

  • No matter how busy you are, keep health at the forefront by cutting the worst offenders from your diet
  • Focus on getting better sleep, which can greatly improve your overall health
  • Get your move on throughout the day whether in the gym or by adding small bits of movement wherever you can

When late night hours are the norm and your workload is piling up, focus on these crucial health and fitness tips to keep you healthy with very little time investment needed.

A quick Google search will pull up plenty of articles promising quick fitness tips, plan-free diets, and exercises for the busy professional. But as we know, there’s busy…and there’s lawyer busy. These tips can help you stay healthy even when you have barely enough time to eat or sleep.

About Your Diet

Instead of following a diet plan, focus on what you can cut out of your current eating habits.

Sayonara to Sugar

Sugar is the go-to overtime snack…and the bad guy behind your inconsistent energy levels, weight gain, and cravings. Wondering where that 3pm donut yen comes from? Take a look at your morning coffee with extra sugar—sugar consumption creates a cycle of cravings that packs on the pounds. If you can brave those first few days of sugar-free dieting, you’ll start thinking of sugary snacks less and less.

Avoid: The conference room cookies, doughnuts, sodas

Check: The sugar in granola bars, yogurts, drinks

Eat: Nuts, seeds, vegetables, pretzels

Bye-Bye Booze

Most alcohols are not great for your healthy habits: they’re high in sugar (including your favorite beers), bad for your hydration, wreck your night’s sleep, and tick off your liver. But let’s say you can’t skip the firm’s weekly cocktail hour this week  …

Avoid: Beer, sugar syrups, and juice cocktails

Bottoms Up: Liquor neat or on the rocks, tequila, red/white wine

Remember to drink water to stay hydrated and give yourself a couple hours before bedtime, and you’ll minimize any negative effects.

About Your Sleep

We all want it, we all don’t get enough of it. But lack of sleep impacts more than just your cranky mood. Being tired raises  cortisol, your stress hormone, which has been linked to overeating. So if you’re not getting your 7-9 hours (and really, so many lawyers just cannot reliably count on getting this amount of sleep on a consistent basis!), you may be taking that deprivation out on your waistline.

Getting more sleep? Unlikely in this profession. Getting more out of your sleep? That’s easy enough to accomplish. There are simple steps you can take to help you fall asleep faster, sleep more soundly, and feel better rested throughout your week.

1-2 Hours Before: Put Away Your Screens

Lights of any sort, and especially the artificial glow of LED lights, have been linked to poor sleep and insomnia. Give yourself the gift of natural sleep by shutting off your laptop, phone, TV, or Kindle as you approach bedtime.

30 Minutes Before: Set Up a Routine

Humans are creatures of habit, and your sleep patterns are no exception. Setting a consistent bedtime and creating a pre-bed routine will help your body get in a relaxed mindset—whether it’s your skincare routine, some music, or a few pages of a good book.

All Day: Get Your Move On

Another reason you’re tossing and turning? You may be mentally exhausted, but if you spend your day at your desk your body may have lots of energy waiting to be burned. Standing and walking more often throughout the day will tire your body out and prep you for a better sleep.

When is the last time you had a good night’s sleep, meaning 7 to 8 hours, uninterrupted?

About Your Workout

Finding the time to work out can be tough for anyone, even those of us with a few hours to spare each week. Whether you’re struggling to find extra minutes or just struggling to find the motivation, there are ways you can make sure you get that workout going.

If you have the time…schedule wisely

Scheduling your workouts in the afternoon when your energy and willpower are highest will ensure you’re most likely to follow through. In the morning, the temptation to sleep in can be overpowering, and your sleepy night time mood can make your couch look too inviting. Find that sweet spot during lunch or right after work to keep your streak going, if you are lucky enough to have the time available.

If you don’t have the time…step lively

A 30-minute break may be out of reach, but you can still keep yourself heart-healthy by adding more energy to your daily routine. Consider catching the subway a few blocks further than the closest stop or maximizing your downtime at home by doing a few jumping jacks, squats, and lunges while cooking or watching TV—you’ll be surprised by how much movement you can fit in, after all.

What's Next

Pick one aspect of improving your health above – diet, sleep or workout – and implement two behavioral changes for one workweek.