You didn’t train for a sprint; we are here for the long haul. This professional marathon is a constant battle toward balance and wellness – and you CAN do it.
So you’ve done it. You’ve graduated from school, secured a new job, and begun paying off those student loans. Congratulations! Despite the adrenaline rush with which you might initially attack your new, post-student life, ensuring a sustainable rhythm of work and life is critical to achieving and maintaining overall homeostasis in the body. Many of us new professionals may be young and healthy, but we should not underestimate the toll that stress can take on our bodies over time under continued stress. Instead, focus your energy on making intentional commitments toward wellness in your everyday life.
While you may have more cash flow now to explore healthier food options, the temptation is to eat out or invest this money in the convenience of food prepared for you. But cooking for yourself can save money and encourage healthier choices, and it can even be therapeutic! Check out a cooking class near you for ideas, pick up a cookbook at your local bookstore, or browse the web for numerous food blogs or e-books on healthy, easy meal ideas. Mealtimes do not have to be heavy, either. Consider eating more frequently, and contemplate consuming lighter food throughout the day to sustain energy levels and keep your metabolism burning calories while sitting at a desk or in client meetings. Include balanced meals of protein, healthy fats, vegetables, fruits, and complex carbohydrates to avoid sugar peaks and cravings toward the end of the day.
Exercise can be a substantial stress reliever, and it is important for long-term health to avoid cardiovascular disease. Consider aerobic as well as anaerobic activities to help you maintain a healthy weight, build muscle mass, and reduce stress.
- Walking: This activity can be very therapeutic. Even if you cannot fit in a 30-minute walk, consider getting up from your desk for even five- or 10-minute bouts of walking it out.
- Resistance training: If you are looking to lose weight, resistance training is a great way to build muscle mass to increase your overall metabolic rate and burn more calories over a sustained period. Consider an organized circuit routine at your local gym to become acquainted with exercise equipment if you are not familiar with resistance training.
- At-home exercises: Focus on a particular muscle group, or simply choose your lower body or upper body to make at-home exercises more mentally engaging. Sample exercises may include quick bursts of cardio such as jumping jacks, jump squats, lunges, and high knees mixed with resistance training with dumbbells, resistance bands, or kettle bells (this equipment makes for easy storage at home).
- Group fitness activities: Find a colleague to accompany you on a walk and hold a walking meeting during work hours, or sign up for a group-fitness class at your local gym. This is a great opportunity to be social and get moving!
The following list includes a few tips worth exploring to maintain a healthy frame of mind:
- Adequate rest and sleep
- Vitamins and hydration
- Mindfulness, meditation, breathing practices, yoga, and stretching
- Music therapy
- Hobbies: reading/book clubs, cooking, sports, etc.
- Support: Personal relationships, professional development, community involvement/volunteer work
While we want to make the best use of our time by scheduling every moment of our day, make sure to leave some time for yourself to relax in your personal space, enjoy a cup of coffee or tea, or read a chapter in that new book. The thought of not having to do anything at all is somehow especially relaxing in our daily lives that are oftentimes quantified by billing or invoicing instead of being and perceiving the moment before us.
© 2016 Melanie Glover. All rights reserved.