You have a job and a car and maybe even a spouse and a family and a house or condo, a dog or cat, and a few power toys like a motorcycle or boat. It’s what you’ve always wanted -- but it’s also not exactly what you were dreaming of when you were young and you imagined what your life would be like.
For one, it’s pretty hectic. Turns out, having all of those things in your life means you have to sacrifice some other things -- like your health and sanity, for one. With so many things to juggle, you end up making a lot of unhealthy choices.
In case you have just a wee bit of time to sit back and assess your life -- or perhaps you’re considering to take on yet one more thing and you aren’t sure whether it’s going to work for you, take some time to see how having that busy, busy, busy life can also lead to a lot of unhealthy choices.
Here are a few.
1. Woke up Late? Skip Breakfast
Your mother told you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but with the late nights you’ve been pullin, in order to get your work done and maybe have a little bit of time to spend with your friends, family or dogs, you’re staying up way too late every night. That, in turn, causes you to press the snooze button on the alarm a few too many times, and skip breakfast in the morning. That then causes you to be a little foggier than you should be for that daily morning meeting -- that is, if you make it to work on time at all.
2. Walking to the Coffee Shop = Exercise
You started out the day tired and rushed, so what else did you forget to do? Brew the morning cup of coffee. That’s OK though, because you have that local coffee shop just a block away from the office. You may be really busy at the office, but not so busy that you can’t justify a quick trip to the coffee shop for a sugar and calorie-laden caffeine delight. And the real way you justify it to yourself is that you’re walking there, so you can knock “working out” off your list of important things to do each day.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention might say that “10 minutes of exercise a day is fine,” but they really want you to go for more like 30 minutes each day -- which means your five-minute walk is definitely not cutting it. So, this is yet another way, your busy life is causing you to make excuses and to live an unhealthy existence.
3. Vending Machine Food for Lunch Again
You’ve taken on too much at work in the quest to get ahead, but that means there are really not enough hours in the day to accomplish all the tasks you promised the boss you’d do. So what do you do? Skip lunch. Or rather, head to the vending machine for a packet of chips and a cookie -- topped off with a soda -- to serve as your lunch. Never mind that you haven’t given your body any protein and that what you’ve really done is heaped a lot of sugar onto your meager plate -- you’re going to get a lot of stuff accomplished! That is, until mid-afternoon hits and you experience a sugar crash!
4. Happy Hour Fries and Beer = Dinner
It’s been a heck of a day, and after working well past five p.m., you and your workmates are more than ready to let off a little steam. It’s off to the bar for happy hour, where you plan to spend just one hour before heading home to deal with the rest of your duties. But wait -- you and your co-workers are having so much fun dishing about the boss and coming up with new ideas for the latest project, that you decide to order a burger and fries and another beer. That’s a good dinner, right? Tally up the food and drinks you’ve consumed for the day and there you have it-the most unhealthy food consumption you could possibly have one day.
5. Driving, Driving Everywhere
When you’re living a life in balance, you might have a little more time to stop, relax and smell the roses. You might also have more time to spend on walking or cycling to where you need to go instead of driving everywhere. When you’re busy, you’re not likely to walk to the grocery store that’s three blocks away, are you? Nope.
If you’re in the car a lot, you’re naturally getting less exercise than you could be. What’s more, you may be rolling around with a terrible case of road rage. Do you get angry when someone doesn’t race out of a traffic light? Ever honked your horn at someone for not letting you pass as quickly as you’d liked? Yep, you’re road raging -- and that is not good for your physical or mental health.
6. Recreational Drugs Anyone?
For some people, not having enough hours in the day causes them to turn to uppers or other recreational drugs that help them move faster or get more done without freaking out. That, of course, is not sustainable, nor is it a sign of a healthy lifestyle.
7. Have you Called Your Mother Lately?
The relationships we maintain help us stay healthy and maintain good mental health. Heck, you’ve probably even heard that having a pet can help to reduce people’s stress levels. It turns out that having people care for us -- or caring for others -- is good for us. So, if your busy life means you’ve let relationships with your parents, other family or your spouse or kids slip, it’s probably time to bring things back into balance. Your mom might like to nag you, but she still cares for you the most.
8. Stress is a Killer
Ever heard of a little thing called stress? If any of the above descriptions sound like you, then you’re definitely living under it. With long hours, a lot of responsibilities, and poor nutrition to boot, you’re definitely at risk of suffering some ill effects of stress.
Stress can cause any number of health effects, including heart conditions, migraines, poor blood sugar handling, stomach upset, and breathing problems. Let those things go on too long and your “little problem” can turn into chronic disease. So, if your busy life is leading to little aches and pains that have turned into even bigger aches and pains, it’s probably time to re-evaluate how you’re living.
It’s easy enough to tell someone to “slow down” or to “relieve stress,” but it’s often harder to actually accomplish it. Sometimes, it requires letting go of responsibilities that are making your life more difficult. Have a house that requires constant maintenance? Maybe it’s time to move into a smaller place. Have a job that’s taking up all of your time and damaging your relationships with the people who matter? Maybe it’s time to scale back.
See Also: How to Avoid Unhealthy Snacking at Work
Sometimes it requires spending a little more money to have things automated. Having your bills get automatically deducted or hiring a dog walker or house cleaner can take some of the pressure of and allow you to enjoy your life. The first step, though, is to take a look at how your busy life is affecting your choices, and then work toward making better ones. You can’t get rid of all the stresses of life, but you can start paying attention so you can remove a few.