When did wellness become so overwhelming? We’re supposed to make healthy dietary choices, exercise regularly, practice mindfulness, stay connected to loved ones, and still make time for at least seven hours of sleep per night. Twenty-four hours doesn’t feel like it’s enough time for you to prioritize wellness and your various roles in life (e.g., partner, parent, friend, employee, business owner).
Let’s bust that self-limiting belief together. This article walks you through four strategies that’ll help you fit wellness into your life, no matter how busy the day feels.
#1: Create “hard” time in your schedule
Map out a typical day, from the time you wake up until the time you go to sleep. Write down the time you spend preparing meals, commuting, doing your job, watching TV, browsing social media, doing laundry, and catching up on emails. Now, be honest with yourself: are there pockets of time that could be better used? For instance, your usual half hour spent scrolling social media before you get out of bed could be repurposed for a morning workout or meditation session.
Collate a list of “could-be-better-used” time slots in your day. Then, think about the wellness-supporting activities that could replace them. And most important of all: schedule them in as “hard” time to keep you accountable. This doesn’t mean that your schedule becomes so rigid that you can’t be flexible with extenuating circumstances. This prevents you from skipping your morning workout because the kids needed cookies made for the school bake sale. Instead, do your workout, and pick up some store-bought cookies on the way to school.
#2: Get good at saying “no”
That said, the hard work doesn’t stop after you create “hard” time in your schedule. Temptations are everywhere.
Let’s say you’ve planned for a HIIT workout after work. But your colleagues invited you out for drinks instead—and just imagining that ice-cold beer gliding down your throat has got you salivating. Whenever you feel your resolve shaking, you need to ask yourself: “Is this in line with my priorities? Or am I simply people-pleasing?” Chances are, you’ll be saying, “No, thank you” often.
A quick disclaimer: this isn’t to say that you can’t have fun with coworkers (or anyone else who tries to touch your “hard” time). You can, but you’ll have to find another time for it. You can always say, “I’ll meet you after I hit the gym!”
#3: Identify and eliminate friction
For those still struggling to keep to their wellness schedules, well, the scientific study of habit formation may help. Research finds that the main obstacle preventing you from achieving your goals is friction, typically comes in three forms: distance, time, and effort.
What does friction have to do with wellness? Basically, this means that the habits you’ll stay consistent with are those that are convenient, happen close to home, and don’t take much time or effort.
So, think about how you could make your wellness activity as friction-free as possible. Want home-cooked, nutritious meals, but hate going to the grocery store? Consider subscribing to meal kit delivery services. The same goes for exercising. If the closest gym is still too far from your house, why not work up a sweat to a YouTube workout right in the comfort of your living room?
#4: Break through mental barriers
Reexamine your “could-be-better-used” time slots. How many did you decide not to “repurpose” because you thought they were too short (i.e., less than 15 minutes)? Too often, we think of wellness as a formal activity we must do for at least 20 minutes for any benefits. But that’s not true:
Stress could hurt both physical and emotional health. That’s where stress-relieving supplements, like CBD softgels, come in. It takes you less than a minute to get them into your system, but you’ll experience long-lasting wellbeing benefits (provided you take them daily).
Don’t be afraid to put yourself first
Even if you know it’s necessary to prioritize your own wellness, it could feel unfamiliar or downright wrong. For example, in the aftermath of setting a boundary (e.g., saying "no" to your partner/coworker/boss/friend/child), you might wonder: "But what about them?”
In this case, think about the “oxygen mask” metaphor. Putting yourself first isn’t selfish. Instead, ensuring that you’re in the best state of physical and emotional health helps you better take care of others in the long term. So, go ahead. Put that oxygen mask on. Then re-engage with life once you’re recharged, as the best possible version of yourself.
Hannah Smith is Joy Organics Director of Communications. She is driven by her passion for providing clear and accessible wellness and CBD education. In 2015, she received her BA in Media, Culture and the Arts from The King’s College in New York City and before Joy Organics, worked as writer and photographer in the Middle East and North Africa. Her work has been featured on Forbes, Vice, Vox, Denver Post, and the Coloradoan.