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How to Stay Healthy Juggling School and a Full-Time Job

How to Stay Healthy Juggling School and a Full-Time Job

Trying to balance work and school is difficult task by itself, and throwing in your New Year’s Resolution of getting fit makes it even more difficult. The thought of having all this on your plate is enough to make most people order a pizza, sit on the couch and drop their annual fitness goals around February, but I urge you not to believe the misconception that you can’t work full time, go to school, and stay healthy. I’ll show you exactly how I’ve been doing it for years!

Schedule

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    One of the reasons why a lot of people find it difficult to balance work, school, and a healthy lifestyle is because they don’t schedule anything and just try to “fit in” gym visits. When you have plenty of free time to work out at your leisure, you might be able to get away with this, but working 40+ hours a week and dedicating around 20 hours a week to school doesn’t give you much leeway in terms of working out and eating right. You need to develop a set schedule of when you’re going to go to the gym and when you’re going to eat meals.
    When you create your schedule, make sure that it’s reasonable and something you can stick with. If you know you can’t wake up at 5 Am to hit the gym (I’m not a morning person at all), schedule it for another time because you’ll end up throwing your entire schedule out of whack by making an inconvenient plan that you won’t be able to commit to.

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    Pack your lunch

    pack your lunch

      Nutrition was a huge issue for me when I first started trying to get healthy, and it’s something that I’m sure a lot of you struggle with as well. I learned the importance of making sure I packed my own food when I was working at night and going to school 4 days a week right after I finished work.
      When you’re constantly on the move, it’s very tempting to hit the closest fast food restaurant you can find and get something to eat ASAP because you’re usually going a long time in between meals—as soon as you get a little free time you want food immediately and will grab whatever is convenient (which isn’t healthy food 9 times out of 10). In order to fix this, start making your food and taking it with you. My go-to meal was chicken, rice, and mixed veggies that I made ahead of time, which could be stored easily in little plastic containers and taken to work. Some other good food choices are:

      • Smoothies
      • Sandwiches (use whole-grain bread)
      • Mixed fruits
      • Greek yogurt

      These were all things that I kept on hand because they can be consumed quickly, are good for you, and don’t require cooking! Start eating 6 small meals throughout the day to decrease cravings and to avoid starvation. If you need more help in the nutrition department, here are some helpful tricks for healthy eating.

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      Keep a gym bag in your car

      gym bag in car

        I once put off going to the gym after getting out of class because I didn’t want to go home, get my gym stuff and go back to the gym. This is when I realized that I needed to start carrying a gym bag in my car, packed with shorts, shoes, and a shirt. This way, I’d be ready to go to the gym at any time. You don’t want to give yourself any reason not to go to work out. If you took the first tip and penciled gym time into your schedule, you should already have your gear ready to go, but sometimes things come up and your schedule gets altered. Also, if you get out of class or work early one day, you can get in a workout before you go home!

        Join your school gym

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        college gym

          If you’re fortunate enough to have a gym on campus, take advantage of it. Today, it’s no longer just universities that have gyms for students: many community colleges also have gyms on campus that’s accessible to students. You just have to fill out some paperwork and present your school ID to get access. My school’s gym is completely free for all who attend it, so it saves time and money. I still have a gym membership elsewhere though because I like to have a gym close to my house— if you can afford it, it’s nice to have two options available like that.

          Start slowly

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            The entire idea of getting fit and improving your life is very fun and exciting, and because of this, it’s easy to just go all in right away and immediately want to hit the gym 5 days a week. Commitment is great, and necessary, but you want to try to pace yourself into it. If you start out by going to the gym 5 days a week on top of your hectic schedule, it’s easy to wear yourself out quickly. Getting fit is not a sprint, it’s a marathon, and pacing yourself will really benefit you in the long run.

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            You’re already dedicating over 60 hours of your week to work and school, so trying to stretch yourself to go to the gym another 10 hours a week is a lot. It’s certainly not impossible, but chances are your body isn’t accustomed to such a strenuous schedule. Just like your muscles, you have to gradually develop your schedule. Consider starting out by going to the gym 2 days a week, and after doing this consistently for a while, add on another day or two.

            Use Apps

            fitness apps

              I love fitness apps, and really grew to appreciate them while both at school and working full time. Because we’re always running around, it’s hard to track things like our workouts, calorie intake and even daily schedules. At the very least, you should have an app for tracking your diet/calories, but if you’d like to track your workouts, get an app for that too. There are many great fitness apps out there, and you can check some out here: The Top 10 iPhone Apps for Losing Weight and Getting in Shape

              Balancing work, school, and a healthy lifestyle is hard, but using these tips and tools helps me stay on top of it all. Don’t give up on that New Year’s Resolution just yet—let’s get fit!

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              Last Updated on September 20, 2018

              How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

              How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

              Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

              If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

              1. Breathe

              The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

              • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
              • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
              • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

              Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

              2. Loosen up

              After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

              Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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              3. Chew slowly

              Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

              Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

              Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

              4. Let go

              Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

              The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

              It’s not. Promise.

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              Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

              Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

              21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

              5. Enjoy the journey

              Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

              Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

              6. Look at the big picture

              The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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              Will this matter to me…

              • Next week?
              • Next month?
              • Next year?
              • In 10 years?

              Hint: No, it won’t.

              I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

              Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

              7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

              You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

              Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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              8. Practice patience every day

              Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

              • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
              • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
              • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

              Final thoughts

              Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

              Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

              Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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