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It seems like there’s a new fitness trend coming out on the daily, which can feel overwhelming if you’re still figuring out how you can clock 10,000 steps a day. While staying active on a regular basis is crucial for overall health, it’s important that you don’t neglect other areas of self-care in order to retain balance in your life. But there’s no reason to stress — it really is easier than you think to get everything done. Proof lies ahead.

Schedule Exercise

You may think that you have the willpower to hit the gym after work, but then comes a happy hour invitation that derails your best-laid plans. This is why it’s key that you schedule exercise as you would a meeting at work or church on Sunday morning. “After establishing how much extra time you have in a day, pick a few days and times of the week that appear best to you and enter it as an appointment on your schedule as a repeating appointment. This will reduce the risk of over-scheduling and help you visualize and mentally prepare for the workouts.”

Other tips for working out with a busy schedule include:

  • Do Something You Enjoy: The key to making exercise more effortless than arduous is by finding something you truly enjoy doing. While this may take a little experimentation, it’s worth it once you figure out what it is that motivates you to lace up your sneakers. While fitness experts will tell you to challenge yourself and work outside of your comfort zone, establish what you like doing first before immediately feeling as though you have to up the ante — you’re liable to burnout before you even get started.
  • Take Baby Steps: Setting small goals leading up to one large goal is an easier way for you to keep your eye on the prize without becoming discouraged. Even baby steps can be a seriously positive effect on mental health which is just what you’ll need to keep going.
  • Use The Buddy System: Having someone hold you accountable for your actions (and vice versa) can be a helpful way to stay on track — because you’re liable to feel bad about ditching out on your friend who’s already at 5:30 a.m. spin class. Studies actually show that healthy competition is one of the best forms of workout motivation.
  • Stay Active Throughout The Day: Squeeze in activity throughout the day by parking your car farther away so you’re forced to walk more, investing in a desk bike chair, taking a stroll on your lunch break, getting up several times throughout the day – anything goes as long as you’re moving.

Need more? Read through this guide to find additional tips on squeezing exercise into an already jam packed schedule.

Plan Meals

A big part of self-care is what you put into your body, but a busy schedule can make it difficult to eat well — especially on the go. Dedicate a day each week to plan your meals ahead of time — ideally, prepping ingredients and/or meals to take to work and have on-hand when you get home at the end of the day. This includes healthy snacks so you can resist the temptation of the vending machine.

Get Quality Sleep

Sleep is the key to a functioning metabolism, regular weight, emotional stability, and energy, so without it, balance is completely thrown off. To ensure that you get a proper night’s rest every time your head hits the pillow, there are some key actionables you should adopt into your daily routine: go to sleep at the same time every night, don’t oversleep on the weekends, avoid lengthy daytime naps, expose yourself to natural light during the day, avoid computer screens at least two hours before bed, exercise during the day, avoid big meals at night, implement relaxation techniques, make sure your sleeping environment is decluttered and conducive to sleeping.

Balancing exercise with overall self-care can take some trial and error. Make a list of the items that are most important to you so you can prioritize them in an effective manner. Any step that you’re taking towards overall well-being is definitely a step in the right direction.

by guest contributor Sheila Olson. You can find out more about Sheila at