Hi! My name is Michelle, and it’s a pleasure to be here! It’s that time of year again; I am a high-school mathematics teacher, and after having the summer off of teaching, heading back to work full-time can take some adjustment. This year in particular will be a challenging one, as I am teaching a new class, blogging at Eat Move Balance, and studying at IIN to earn my certification as a health coach (I graduate in February!).
Over the years, I’ve developed a few strategies that help me get through the hectic workweek without going crazy. They help me stay organized and promote the healthy lifestyle I enjoy.
1. Prep your favorite fuel on the weekend.
I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but a little meal prep goes a long way! It not only keeps you organized and efficient when life gets busy, but it also ensures the availability of healthy fuel to keep you feeling your best.
When you return from the grocery store, wash, cook, chop, and ration out appropriate portions before putting things away. A few examples of what I do:
- Soak and cook beans, then portion into grab-n-go containers to be added to salads and/or wraps.
- Clean and chop carrots, bell peppers, and celery. Store in containers in the fridge for snacking
- Fill 5 containers with salad-fixings, keeping the salad greens of choice on top. Now you have easy lunches for the week! Grab a protein source and dressing (which I keep at work), and lunch is ready.
Prepping will only prove helpful, however, if it’s with your favorite healthy choices! I used to bring a banana with me to work every day to have as a snack. I don’t particularly like bananas. But thinking it was the “healthy” thing to do, I brought it. And it sat there . . . for days. Because something else sitting in the office would inevitably tempt me.
So be sure to bring items you want to eat! I love apples and oranges. So I bring one of each with me every day. I store baggies of almonds and pistachios in my desk. Along with some dark chocolate, of course.
When it comes to weeknight dinners, use recipes from the KISS category. Keep It Simple Silly!!! Like Julia Child said, “You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.”
2. Keep on a-movin’!
In whatever way you find most enjoyable, incorporate some physical activity into your day. It makes all the difference in your energy levels, mental alertness, and overall well being. Some ideas include:
- Work out before the craziness of the day sets in. This is what I do—it’s what I’ve found to work best for me.
- Walk more during the day. Take the “scenic route” when walking to a meeting. Walk around outside during lunch when the weather is nice. Walk to meet a co-worker face-to-face instead of sending an email.
- Take your favorite fitness classes: Yoga, Spinning, Zumba, . . .
- Strength Train. Build some muscle and keep yourself strong!
Carving out time to ensure there is some physical activity in my day, keeps me focused and more productive than when I don’t. When life gets crazy, exercise provides a venue to release some of the stress and clear your mind. I often say that I get some of my best thinking done while I’m working out!
3. Remember to breathe.
When life get’s crazy, remember to take time to s-l-o-w-d-o-w-n. It doesn’t have to be a big deal either. Since I’m terrible at slowing down, I’ve had to find strategies that I would actually use and use on a consistent basis.
What’s worked for me is rather simple, and I almost feel silly writing about it. But—maybe it will help someone else, so here it goes. Take 3, slow, long, deep breaths. While inhaling, say to yourself: inhale slowly. Then, while exhaling, say to yourself: exhale steady. That’s it. Credit for this one goes to my awesome yoga teacher. She says this during savasana, and something about its effectiveness and simplicity resonates with me.
I hope these 3 tips prove to be helpful when you, your children, or other people you know are transitioning into a new school year! Please come visit, sift through some recipes, and chat with me at www.eatmovebalance.com ! I’m also on Facebook—friend me at www.facebook.com/eatmovebalance