Have you ever read those flowery self-care posts that make you feel all warm and fuzzy and then think about how it’s not at all compatible with your lifestyle so why even try?
In order for self-care and intuitive eating to be effective, they have to be realistic and sustainable. The beauty of both is that they are adaptable to all lifestyles because guess what? We all deserve to take care of ourselves and honor our body’s hunger.
I’ve got good news for you: Intuitive eating is adaptable, even for the busiest of busy people.
Check out these strategies for self-care and intuitive eating as a busy professional.
Meal Prep a Little
A little planning and prepping can go a long way. It doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing! A little forethought and time in the kitchen can make weeknights much easier and will reduce the amount of stress that food brings to your life. For instance, I love batch-cooking and freezing grains and beans so they’re ready to toss together with whatever veggies I have for a quick meal.
Keep Snacks Around
The best way to honor your hunger is to have a supply of tasty food at all times. Outside of mealtimes this means stashing snacks in your bag, car, desk, etc. I also include water in this category because hydration is important, obviously!
It can be easy to sneak in meals and snacks when we’re working at the computer or scrolling through our phones but we deserve to take a moment to pause, check in with our bodies and enjoy our food. If this is something you struggle with, consider making a goal to eat screen-free at least one meal per day.
The best thing you can do for your well-being during the workday? Take frequent breaks! Staying hydrated means you’ll have to get up and use the restroom frequently, which is a bonus. Use your lunch break to take a break and walk around outside. Fresh air, green space and movement do wonders for productivity and mood.
Use Your PTO
Take a week off. Seriously. Long weekends are great and all, but a legit break from work is so necessary for mental health. If you can take two weeks, even better. When we got married and went on our honeymoon, we were away from our offices for 2½ weeks! This was the longest break I’ve ever taken and it was truly relaxing. And you know what — I was ready to get back to work by the end of it!
Stay Home When You’re Sick
We don’t expect our colleagues to come into the office and spread their germs around when they’re sick, so why do we feel the need to do it? And when you stay home, actually rest. Don’t have your laptop open the entire time. The same goes for mental health. You know that your work suffers when you’re suffering, so take the time you need to rest up and get back on top of your game.
Does your work culture promote employee wellness and self-care? If you have concerns about this, talk to your HR department. Taking breaks and utilizing vacation and sick time should not be impeded.
5 Things Everyone Should Keep at Their Desk
Now that we’ve talked about the how, let’s talk about the what. If you have a permanent workspace, think about how you can stock it to help you stay focused and energized throughout the day! Here are my must-haves at the office.
Reusable water bottle and coffee mug
Keep your water bottle full and take frequent sips throughout the day. Use a real mug for coffee instead of throw-aways and keep a to-go mug or jar in case you want to go out for coffee.
Plate, bowl, cutlery and cloth napkin
Be kind to the earth and save your office money by going reusable. Take some dishes and utensils from home or head to thrift store and get some pieces. Take home your napkin to be laundered at the end of each week.
My favorites are nuts and bars. Sometimes I pack an extra hefty lunch so that I have something for an afternoon snack. I also always have dark chocolate and tea in my desk for a little sweet bite and something to warm me up in the frigid office AC.
Some days are a little bananas and we don’t have time to pack a lunch or run out for a bite to eat. I like keeping a can of soup in my desk drawer for those crazy days. If your office has a freezer, you also could keep a frozen meal there.
If your cute-yet-uncomfortable footwear is preventing you from taking a midday stroll, time to keep a pair of sneakers (and socks!) at your desk. There is no shame in the sneaker game. I also keep a workout outfit in my desk for midday or straight-from-work exercise. Being prepared helps you satisfy your body’s movement cravings whenever it wants!
How do you take care of yourself at work? I’d love to hear your strategies!