Create Time For These 5 Things Affecting Health
“Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time’ is like saying ‘I don’t want to do it’.” – Cheryl Richardson
It seems that, as summer begins to close in, time becomes a precious commodity. The end of school, beginning of summer seems to sneak up on me every year. I frantically pack in meetings, concerts, graduations, summer camps and job searches for kids while trying to figure out where and when to grab family time, vacation and work events. No wonder the end of the school year exhaust me! I am packing a lot into a small amount of time. I hear myself saying the mantra my husband, sons, and many clients utter… “I don’t have time…”. As I often tell these fabulously busy people, no one is going to hand you time. You must create time for things that are important to your mind, body and spirit.
How does one create time? First, we need to prioritize and let go of things that do not serve us, but seem to suck up our time. Second, we need some perspective taking breaks to help prioritize along with some time management skills. All of these things are individual, unique to different people, but research has shown at least 5 Important things to create time for in order to live a healthy and happy life. Often times, it seems to take time when developing habits, but the time is minimal when healthy habit becomes developed and integrated into life.
1) Mindful Eating and Cooking
Taking time to connect to what you are eating, how you are eating, your hunger and actually tasting, chewing and digesting your food goes a long way towards health. Studies have shown we eat more and consume higher calorie foods when distracted and mindlessly munching. Paying attention, on purpose, to food choices, food preparation and even meal planning can help us stay on track with whole, clean and healthy eating habits. This is worth a little bit of created time to start the ripple of change and healthy habits.
There have been numerous studies about the importance of sleep to our body and brain. Our body needs sleep to repair and restore- at least 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep. I am guilty of trying to eek out one more task after kids go to bed, knowing I have a 5:45am class to teach. This is not good time management or prioritization. Sleep is more important to my health and overall wellbeing than checking off a trivial task on my to do list.
3) Mindful, purposeful movement and exercise.
Exercise has been shown to not only help with keeping your body fit and functional, but it has tremendous benefits to mood, focus, attention and overall health. Studies show 10 minutes of vigorous daily exercise is enough to reap the health rewards. We can all carve out 10-30 minutes to move our body, maybe not always daily, but most days. Carve out some time throughout the day… even 10 minutes here, 5 minutes there. Make the time to move for better health.
4) Mindful moments, deep breathing and meditation.
Mindfulness and meditation seem to be the buzzwords of the decade. Did you know that mindfully breathing, with slow, deep and purposeful breath for only 2-4 minutes can reset your stress response? In times of stress, overwhelm or even frustration, creating time to be present, on purpose, take deep breaths and reset can bring you calm, peace, focus and improved health through stress resiliency and connection to self.
5) Quality Time and Connecting with Loved Ones.
I recently surprised my father for his birthday by taking the day to spend with him as well as my brothers and mother. I knew I would be missing two of my son’s games (which I go to regularly), as well as a team cookout I planned in order to be with my dad. I also knew that spending quality time with him was one of the best gifts and surprises I could give- especially knowing my crazy schedule. This was one of the best and most memorable days of my year! It was rejuvenating, freeing and rewarding to create the time. I find the same with my boys or my husband, or a good friends… taking time to connect, on purpose does wonders for all, for mental and physical health.
I truly believe that our society needs a major reset in our approach to our days and time management. We are the kings and queens of jam packed schedules, overcommitment and “no time”. This does not help our health. Many Mediterranean countries that tout good health and longevity know the importance of taking time for eating, moving, relaxing, connecting/ socializing as well as sleep. Let’s press the reset button and carve out time for these important things for our health- #self-care.