Now that my son is back in school, and my husband’s teaching schedule is set (at least for this semester), I find that I feel much better — and it’s easier to stick to my health goals. A lot of this has to do with the fact that now I’m on a schedule.
With summer over, I am settling back into a regular routine. A regular schedule can help you improve your health, as well as improve your productivity, and stay on track. Here are some of the health benefits of a better schedule:
Better Eating Habits
Now that my family is settling into a routine, it’s much easier to plan our meals. We always eat better when we have a meal plan. We have time to plan healthier choices, and prepare them. Without a routine, we often reach for prepackaged foods at the store, or grab takeout. These are not healthy choices — and they can get expensive to boot.
A meal plan helps us better focus our shopping efforts to avoid impulse spending, and we are able to make sure that we have time to prepare our healthier meals. On days when I know that I will be busy, a meal plan helps me choose a slow cooker meal, or we plan to eat leftovers one day. I already feel much better since the amount of unhealthy foods I’m consuming has dropped dramatically since the re-introduction of a schedule.
More Time to Exercise
I include exercise in my daily schedule. I used to just decide to do it if I could find the time, but I find that actually scheduling it in helps a great deal. My scheduled 30 to 50 minutes of exercise each day has already led (in conjunction with better eating habits) to progress toward my current fitness goals.
Your schedule is a reflection of what’s important to you, and if exercise is important to you, add it into your schedule. Regular exercise promotes energy, as well as physical health and fitness.
One of the pieces advice that is given to those who have trouble sleeping is to find a regular routine. Going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time each day can help you get the sleep you need. And, because your body is used to shutting down at a specific time each day, it becomes easier to fall asleep.
Sleep is very important to your health and well being. Good sleep helps your body processes, as well as helps your mental and emotional health. If you want to be healthier on a more holistic basis, your sleep schedule can have a big impact. Get into a positive sleep routine, and your health will improve.
Even though I work from home, I still benefit from a regular work schedule. I am much more productive in the mornings, so I try to arrange my schedule so that most of my work is done before lunch. My work time is more productive when I stick to a schedule, rather than becoming distracted by what’s online, or by other issues.
Not everyone has traditional work to add to the schedule, though. Even if you don’t have a “job,” chances are that you still have work to do. Consider when you are likely to be at your most efficient for running errands, cleaning the house, or taking care of children. Create a schedule of your most important tasks, and tackle those first.
Realize, too, that you schedule work time so that when it’s over you have time to relax and do something for you. Make sure you include some time for yourself, whether it’s a half an hour to read a book, or spending a few minutes on Pinterest. Schedule this time, too, or run the risk of being swallowed up by it and feeling stress as you scramble to get everything else done.
Sticking To A Realistic Schedule
Your schedule should reflect the realities of your situation. My son has piano lessons, Cub Scouts, and 4-H. The good news is that these are all activities that occur on regular days. This means that we can create a routine that includes these scheduled activities.
Not only can a schedule help you include regular healthy activities in your day, but it also helps you maintain a feeling of continuity. My son is much better behaved, and happier, and healthier, when he knows what’s coming. There’s a certain security that comes with a schedule. It can help ease anxiety and stress (things that can cause various physical, mental, and emotional health problems), and keep the body in a rhythm that it can handle.
Consider your family’s needs, and then create a schedule that works for you. While every day won’t always follow the exact same schedule, and there are times — vacations, weekends, and other circumstances — that will take you out of your schedule, an outline for a routine can really help you boost your health.
So, how have you improved your health?
Good tips. I think having that regular meal plan is a big one. I find that it keeps us on track and allows us to eat healthier meals as opposed to just winging it…which usually is not as healthy.
I agree. We meal plan every two weeks. It works out great. I love the variety we get with it too.
I couldn’t agree with you more. But I would have to say that just having the schedule is the beginning. The hard part is actually sticking to it! As for me I find that walking on breaks and lunches at work works wonders. Scheduling helps cut down on wasted times and give structure. I am a early bird and night owl.
I also get some exercise at lunch. I love the way it refreshes me for the afternoon. You are right though, a schedule is only good if you follow it.
I love vacations and time off, but there is something to be said for a routine. Once you get going wtih a routine, it’s easier to stick to what you want to be doing. And the sleep thing… man, it’s easier to fall asleep and stay asleep when I’m used to sleeping at a certain time and stuff. Routines can be boring, but they also make life a little easier sometimes! 🙂
We are working on trying to regulate our sleep routine right now. We just don’t get enough and our life suffers for it.
My schedule is pretty much completely out of my control. This week I had a 12 hour shift, then an 8 hour one, 2 hours (when they forgot to tell me I wasn’t scheduled), and then a 10 hour night shift last night.
When I have a long shift and then come home to an empty house, making dinner is usually the last thing on my mind. Typically, I’ll just grab some frozen vegetables to nibble on while I check my email and then just go to bed.
That sucks. I think that kind of schedule would drive me nuts. Is there any way to talk to your boss to see if they can regulate it, even just a bit?
I miss having a set schedule! Having little ones seems to throw us off. We have routines for each activity we do, but the flexibility we require makes a set schedule more of a dream than a reality. It doesn’t help that my school schedule changes every four months. That being said, I could/should find a way to work in a morning run or something.
There are always adjustments to make at different stages of life. I know when we have kids we will go through the same thing. If you can at least schedule the things that you know the kids won’t influence, that might help. How about going for a run while they nap?
I couldn’t agree more. My daughter’s in 5-day-a-week preschool this year, meaning for the first time in years, our Monday-Friday schedule is the same. It’s NICE. That consistency makes it much easier for me to plan my days with my younger child, and I do agree we’re healthier with a set lunch time!! I’m not throwing things together at the last minute anymore!
That’s great to hear. I find that a comfort for when I start my own family.
Very good tips. At times, due to hectic schedule we often tend to forget the simple facts of maintaining a routine. Why can’t we just make exercise our regular activity like eating and sleeping?
You can. I have done. We get up every morning before work and do a workout. Then we have a shower, eat breakfast and head off to work. It works really well.
We operate much better on a schedule. My husband is a teacher, and while summer is great, we actually tend to eat healthier and get more done when he’s working. I think when you don’t have a schedule you think you’ll get to it later, and later gets pushed back. If it’s scheduled, you get it done. For mental health, that makes me much happier.
I would agree. We schedule our workouts and meal plan and it really helps us stay on track.