Appreciate the healthy life you are living and achieve more through EnerGcoach, Ellen Goldman. Your questions on balance, motivation and your healthy lifestyle are answered through these simple tips and solutions. Get more out of your life with the help of Identity.
QUESTION: Holidays are here; do you have any holiday balancing tips with the busy season?
ANSWER: The media would lead us to believe that everyone is walking around relishing the holiday season; music, parties, gifts, gatherings, and spiritual renewal. But for too many, it marks the season of too much – too much money being spent, too much rushing, too much travel and traffic, too much food and alcohol, and too many obligations.
What should be a very special time of the year instead has many saying, “I can’t wait for the holidays to be over!” You are wise to think ahead on how to balance all the activities and “to-do’s” on your list. Here are a few tips to help you truly make it a season of joy.
1. Say, “Yes” to the invitations that excite you, and “No, thank you” to those that don’t. We often think we are being rude or unkind if we turn down an invitation. Sometimes, it’s enough to just say, “Thank you so much. I appreciate the invitation but unfortunately will not be able to attend.” We don’t need to make excuses or feel badly. Having another obligation, even if it’s staying home and taking time for rest and rejuvenation is honoring your needs, and remaining authentic.
2. Give a gift from your heart, rather than from your wallet. During these challenging economic times, everyone feels the need to be cautious with spending. Why not bake brownies for your favorite chocoholic, or cook a lasagna dinner for your cousin who just had a baby? If you have creative talent, giving someone a hand-made gift shows meaning and thought. “I owe you coupons” are fun to think up and so appreciated by the recipient. Try coupons for a back massage, a night of watching the kids, or walking the dog for a week,
3. Change the format of your traditional holiday gathering. Rather than you doing all the work alone, why not host a potluck dinner? How about a night of friends cooking together? Or try a wine tasting party, where everyone brings their favorite bottle to share. Be creative. Parties do not have to be elaborate to be great fun.
4. Rethink your holiday traditions and keep only those that are still serving you well. Sometimes we hold on to traditions that were part of our youth, even if they no longer feel meaningful. Keep what feels right, throw away the rest, and then create one or two that make sense with your family unit as it is today.
5. Do not use the holidays as an excuse to neglect self-care. During busy times, it is more important than ever to take care of yourself. Schedule in your exercise sessions in advance. With parties and shopping, your routine might need to change. Don’t skip meals thinking you’ll make up the calories at the office party after work. Get the sleep you need; you don’t have to be the last one leaving every get together. Remember, if you wear yourself down and get sick, you’ll miss all the festivities. And if you come out of the season with 10 extra pounds, you’ll start the year feeling sluggish and badly about yourself.
QUESTION: I have an inconsistent schedule and I’m okay with that, but I have trouble being consistent with working out when my days are never the same. The morning is the best time for me, but then I’d have to be getting up at 5am, and that does not excite me. Any ideas on how to manage fitness into an inconsistent schedule?
ANSWER: Approach your workout routine with the same flexibility you have for your “inconsistent schedule.” Accept that it will change from week to week, not only when you can exercise, but where, and how much time you can spend working out. Look at your schedule on Sundays for the upcoming week. Schedule exercise at times that make the most sense. If you hate getting up at 5AM, know that sometimes you’ll need to go straight from work to the gym. That requires some foresight and planning; the evening before, pack gym clothing, sneakers and a small snack for late afternoon. Perhaps weekends are the time for morning workouts, when they can be early, but not quite that early! Other days, a lunchtime walk might be your best option.
The trick is to plan in advance, schedule it into your calendar, and approach it as you would a business appointment- it’s non-negotiable. And if the unforeseen happens and your plan falls apart, make sure you have a Plan B. For instance, if you were planning on the gym after work, and you know there’s a chance you’ll get stuck late in the 4PM meeting, resign that for this one time, 5AM might be the only back up option. If the reason for exercising is important enough, you’ll be OK with both a crazy work and workout schedule! Your exercise will give you the stamina you need to get through it all, and still have the energy to enjoy your free time with family and friends.
QUESTION: My days end late and I don’t get home until after eight o’clock most nights. I’m starving by then, but don’t want to eat crappy. How do I prepare and what can I eat for dinner that late in the night?
ANSWER: You’ve got lots of options, and your best answer will be dependent on your lifestyle. If it’s possible to take a break from working and eat dinner at the office, that might resolve your problem. Cook on the weekends, and pack individual sized dinners in microwaveable containers to bring to work. Have copies of the menus of local restaurants that deliver, and know in advance what healthy choices are available. If dinner at work isn’t feasible, or perhaps you have someone who waits to eat dinner with you at home, try flipping the typical American eating routine – eat dinner style at lunchtime, and breakfast for dinner. If I know I am going to be getting home rather late, I’ll have a larger than usual lunch.
Instead of just a salad or sandwich, I might have a cup of soup or appetizer size salad, and then some grilled chicken or fish with veggies. When I get home, I might have eggs with toast or cereal and fruit. If breakfast at that hour is not appealing, try keeping lots of hearty vegetable style soups on hand. A large bowl and a small whole grain roll should fill you up without laying too heavy on your stomach when it’s time for bed. Make sure that you have a late afternoon healthy snack, so that you won’t arrive home starving. If you walk in the house ravenous, you’ll surely reach for everything and anything that’s in sight. Keep fruit, string cheese, nuts, power bars or yogurt at work. The key is to not let more than four hours go, between lunch and when you’ll be home, without eating
QUESTION: How do you balance work with your social life? I get home so late and I want to hang out with my friends, but I’m tired because the hours are draining me. The only time I have to see some of my friends is during the week because we live further away from one another, so what to do?
That’s a really tough one! If I understand your dilemma, you and your friends work near each other, but you live scattered and far apart. You would love to hang out together after work, but then you get home late and exhausted, and possibly don’t get enough hours to sleep. Here are a couple of ideas. Although they might feel different that just “hanging out,” hopefully they will fulfill your desire to see and be together. Why not plan one day a week group breakfast before work, and one lunch out together? Yes, you’ll need to watch your clocks to get to work on time, but it will be a fun way to start the day or take a well needed break in the middle of the day. Could Friday night be the hang out night, so you’ll know you can sleep in the next morning?
On the weekends, is there a place half way between where you all live where you might be able to meet? Be creative; find restaurants, parks, museums or shopping malls in the towns in between where you live, and explore together. And for a really great experience, plan a weekend away together every couple of months. It doesn’t have to be exotic, or very far away. Search sites like Living Social, Groupon, Jetsetter or Travelzoo for fun and affordable deals, many within driving distance. A weekend away with all your friends will leave you rejuvenated rather than drained! Keep in mind that it is not the frequency of the time you are together, but the quality of the time. If you are too exhausted to enjoy each other’s company, really, what the point?
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