Thursday, 13 January 2011

Switching to auto-pilot

It feels like everyone woke up this week and London is back to its hyperspeed bustle. It's making 'fitting it all in' the usual challenge, and although I've been sticking to bootcamp I must confess some sleep has been sacrificed.

I think for a lot of people that's the first thing that goes when life get's hectic ... that and then exercise! Whilst I stayed off the caffeine last week I've had a couple of white teas (like green tea, not as in black with milk) this week to keep me going.

This is why when it comes to setting yourself an exercise programme be realistic - can you really fit in 1.5hrs exercise every day? Just as for my blog on diets yesterday if you try to stick to an impossible schedule you'll end up feeling like a failure for not fitting it all in.

I'm personally in favour of getting into a routine of fitting in exercise, meals and sleeping hours at roughly the same time each day - your body loves routine so this will work in your favour and it will turn these from chores to habits that you do without even thinking, making taking care of your health automatic rather than tiresome.

Things to schedule into your weekly routine:
Food shopping - when can you pick up your fresh foods each week? If you can get bits on the way home without eating too much into your evening then that's great, otherwise pick a time on the weekend that suits. For the durable foods I'm all in favour of internet shopping, especially as they deliver within feet of your fridge!!

When do you like to eat each meal? Can you make these regular times? If you like an early dinner but it ends up taking ages to prepare, spend some time on the weekend pre-preparing some food for the week so you have instant dinners to hand. I always have brown rice, salad leaves and salad vegetables in the fridge and fish portions, vegetables, berries and gluten free bread in the freezer.

If you really don't have time to cook at all (and some people really don't) then get familiar with the healthy ready prepared options in your local supermarkets and keep the fridge and freezer stocked.

Exercise - be realistic - great things can be achieved in 20 minutes a day so you don't need to commit to an hour a day. Find a time and amount that fits into your life and keeps you fit without making you stressed. Exercising at the same time each day will help your body and make it habitual.

'Me Time' is so important and often overlooked - if you never have a minute to yourself start with ten minutes a day which you spend on your own relaxing (TV isn't allowed) - either reading (non-work - Grazia is perfect!), having a bath or literally sprawled on the sofa with your eyes closed if that's what you need! Ideally build up to 20 minutes. I like to do this when I get home in the evenings - you'll find that whilst you first feel knackered if you let yourself relax after 15-20 minutes you'll naturally want to and have the energy to get up and start tackling the to do list. If you've got a house full of kids this is even more important for your sanity but may have to wait til after the kids have been put to bed!

Look at the amount of time you spend working, commuting and sleeping (7 hrs should be an absolute minimum, 8 is better) and then see how much time is left and work out what can be done when - if it still doesn't add up have a serious think about whether you really do need to do everything you're trying to fit in ... do your underpants really need ironing ;-) do you need to cook a three course dinner every night? Is there anything on there you can delegate to your partner, kids, cleaner, PA?? Have you left any time to have some fun?

Have a day off - where nothing is scheduled - exercise if you feel like it, cook if you fancy it, but just do things for the pleasure of it. It will do your nervous system a lot of good to have one day where you're not tied to a schedule.

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