When you're flat-out busy and juggling your time across multiple responsibilities, you can lose focus on one of the most important accountabilities you have, and that is to keep yourself healthy! Missing meals may seem like a productivity hack, but there can be serious side effects if you are regularly missing main meals of the day without any prior planning.
A colleague recently confided in me he collapsed prior to a client meeting after skipping both breakfast and lunch. Somehow, he managed to revive himself enough to carry on, but he admitted it was a less than perfunctory meeting. This is an extreme example, but we know when we are under considerable stress our performance will suffer if we don’t keep ourselves well-nourished.
When I'm busy I forget to eat
When we are very busy, our stressed physiological state can trigger our nervous system to produce adrenaline, effectively triggering a fight-or-flight response. This response temporarily shuts down our feelings of hunger, a very useful function when we used to live on the savanna and were chased by lions!
However, in our continuously busy world, our stress levels can stay elevated for extended periods of time. Then our bodies produce the hormone cortisol that alters our immune system and suppresses our digestive system. Long-term activation of cortisol in your body can have serious health consequences. The long-term activation of our stress response can lead to an increase in health risk for anxiety and depression, and result in poor sleep and weight gain.
But there are some simple ways to break the stress cycle and still manage all the activities in your life.
Hacks to get back on track
Replace some screen time with movement
One productivity hack is to replace screen time with some moderate intensity exercise. Busy people will often switch from our work screen to our mobile device screen for a scan of our favourite blog. Lately I’ve been jumping on my exercise bike for 5 minutes (easier to do when you’re working from home). In the office, a better approach is to replace screen time with some movement around the office, even a quick walk up and down the stairwell. Getting some movement in during the day is important for your long-term health, and if you consider the amount of time spent on our mobile device screen, there’s certainly time enough.
Plan a heathy eating schedule
A heathy eating schedule is important for our long-term health and busy people need to make a plan for heathy eating just as they schedule other activities in their life. The most efficient way to approach a heathy diet is to plan out the meals for the week and buy everything in advance. Working out what to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner just before eating is a sure way to skip meals, or not eat nutritiously. Planning the week ahead is a massive time-saver and there are a number of apps out there to help you with meal planning.
If you are interested in meal planning, check out our Aussielent meal plan calculator that will calculate a meal plan for your individual needs.
If you find yourself regularly skipping meals because you are too busy, you might want to take some time to consider the root cause of why this is happening and then put some plans into place to get yourself back on track, your future health depends on it.
Here’s to healthy eating,