Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Staying healthy isn't always easy in today’s world, is it? Most of us work at a desk, have tight schedules, we’re stressed, out of shape and/or overweight, we don’t get enough sleep, and healthy eating is a adding lettuce and tomato to that burger. An exercise routine is either a New Year resolution forgotten on January 2nd, or is reduced to running for the bus or to the car on our way to yet another appointment.

No wonder we’re tired, cranky, or sick.

A sedentary lifestyle is not good for anyone, regardless of age or occupation. It takes effort on our part to change the pattern and make choices to keep us healthy. This doesn't necessarily mean we have to change everything at once but analyzing our patterns and incorporating gradual changes will help clear the way to a healthier you.

I've learned the hard way that getting healthy and staying healthy takes effort and some of the necessary choices require dedication to maintain. Like millions of men and women in the workforce I have to juggle my family, a ranch with animals, social media, and creative writing with my employment. I don’t have an office to commute to daily; I work a virtual office job from home. My job entails sitting, whether I’m answering phones or doing contract writing. Deadlines (stress) are a way of life. Here are some things that helped me.

I need energy and a clear mind. This means I need to get plenty of sleep. I can assure you that is easier said then done. Writing to deadlines tends to make for some late nights. I make sure that I space those late nights with three solid nights of eight or nine hours of sleep. Sleep is vital to good health and being able to function properly. If I don’t get enough sleep I’m going to be running on empty by mid afternoon and cranky, tired, stressed, and not productive. I also tend to schedule some nap time after lunch to refresh me. Burning the candles at both ends every day never healthy or wise.

Drink plenty of water. Your body performs best when it’s properly hydrated. I’ll be the first to tell you that I love coffee and always have, but I usually drink a couple of cups in the morning and depending upon my mood, a one in the afternoon or in the evening. Caffeine has never worked to keep me awake it tends to quiet my mind and calm me rather than keep me awake.  However, I always have bottled water on my desk. I drink at least two thirty-six-ounce bottles a day. Water keeps me fresh and alert. If you don’t like the taste of water try adding a slice or lime or lemon to your water bottle.

FYI: caffeine and sugary sports drinks might give some a boost in energy, but they aren’t a substitute for sleep or water. Neither is healthy in large doses. Put the Red Bull away. J

Choose healthy food. I always eat something for breakfast. For me that means a good cereal with fruit and almonds or an omelet. I have food allergies so there are many foods (especially processed foods) out there I can’t eat—like wheat and some whole grains. Since I can’t eat whole wheat I tend to choose potato or combo of gluten free flours but sparingly. I tend to eat more protein and rely on fruit and vegetables for my carbs. Lunch is always light.

Research shows our circadian rhythm is at a low point between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. and so one is normally a bit tired about then. If you eat a heavy meal or high carbs at lunch it tends to make you even drowsier because blood and oxygen is diverted from your brain to your digestive track. I find high protein/low carb to be the best lunch for a productive afternoon. My snacks, when I have them, are usually fruit or veggies. I love celery (or apple slices) with peanut butter. These types of snacks tend to boost my energy rather than deplete it like chocolate, cake, and cookies.

Exercise. It’s good for the body and brain. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins that energize your mood, relieve stress, boost your self-esteem, and trigger an overall sense of well-being.

I walk. Not as much as I should but I’m working on that. I've been known to put on a fast paced dance song and dance. Most dance songs are maybe five minutes? Gets my blood moving and my heart pumping. I also do stretches. Stretching throughout the day can help reduce pain and pressure on your muscles that often accompanies sitting for long periods.

I do light exercise after eating. It will help get your blood flowing and will help to ward off fatigue. At lunch I try to get outside (regardless of the season) in the sunshine for ten-fifteen minutes and breathe in the air and soak up the vitamin D.

Staying healthy and productive isn't always easy especially when we we’re stuck behind a desk for long periods of time everyday. But, it is do-able with some planning.

  • What’s helped you stay healthy and productive each day?