10 Health Hacks for When You Think You’re Too Busy To Prioritize Your Health

Whether you have a side business, work from morning until night, take care of kids and pets, or juggle all of the above, making time for yourself can get hard. Busy people know they can’t waste a minute, and work through lunch, weekends, or even holidays in a constant effort to chase the clock. Maybe you’ve even stayed up late just trying to finish every item on your to-do list (knowing you have an early-morning wake-up call), or you forget to eat breakfast because you’ve been at your desk from the minute you wake up until lunchtime.

But here’s a news flash for you go-getters: being busy does not mean you have to (or should) forget about your health. In fact, a busy lifestyle is a sign that you need to focus on your wellbeing even more. If you just did a major eye roll and said yeah, right out loud, I see you. Here are 10 tried-and-true hacks that make a healthy lifestyle easy, convenient, and possible, no matter how busy you are. 


1. Find easier alternatives to grocery shopping, meal prepping, etc.

I get it: meal prepping, planning, and shopping feel impossible when you have a busy day, week, or life. So if all the steps that lead to healthy cooking just aren’t going to happen, then skip them. Blue Apron offers wellness options like vegetarian, 600 calories or less, WW-approved, etc., so not only can you select meals that you’ll look forward to all day, but you’ll be eating meals that help you eat better with less work. You won’t have to plan ahead, meal prep, or shop for groceries. It basically gives you all the benefits of better eating without the time suck. Plus, Blue Apron also offers customizations, so you can swap, add, or upgrade proteins on select meals to tailor them to your diet, preferences, or lifestyle goals.

Flash Sale alert: for today only, get $100 off your first five boxes!


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2. Start with the most important thing every day

It’s easy to get into the mindset of not having enough time when you have back-to-back meetings or attempt to fit in errands before dinner time. We delay the activities meant for only ourselves, or we feel like our time is better spent in other ways when we’re in the midst of work and chores. To avoid pushing it off (or skipping it altogether), do the single most important activity first thing in the morning. Whether it’s getting in a workout, taking some time for meditation, or prepping healthy meals for the whole day, do it first thing so you know it will get done.


3. Get in tune with what you need most

Some days, it just isn’t possible to fit in a 60-minute run, go to the grocery store, have some alone time, and call your mom. While wellness is about finding balance in all areas of your life (work, relationships, diet, exercise, etc.), you likely need different things on different days. Rather than worrying about how to fit in everything every day (you’ll just get overwhelmed and end up not fitting in anything), get in tune with what acts of wellness your mind and body need most each day. That might be taking a bath one day, while other days might be a high-energy dance class to burn off some steam, and other days that might mean having a glass of wine with your best friend. Start asking your body what it needs and make time accordingly. 


4. Have a water bottle with you at all times

Too busy to remember to hydrate? Been there done that. Since hydration is crucial for overall health and wellbeing, the simple solution is to keep a water bottle with you at all times. Even better, make sure your water bottle is as large as possible so you can refill less often. Another water bottle hack? Make sure there’s a straw in it so you can mindlessly sip while working on your laptop (it sounds silly, but even the extra step of taking off the cap and taking a drink can stop you). Think of your water bottle as you think of your phone: it goes everywhere with you. Bring it if you’re running errands or you move from your desk to the couch. The more consistent you are with hydration, the less you’ll have to think about it.


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5. Identify non-negotiables (but let everything else go)

Days or weeks that are extra busy typically mean we forego our regular healthy habits. It’s absolutely OK to pause some of your rituals, workouts, or routines as your daily schedule changes or busy periods come and go. But that doesn’t mean everything should go. Health too often feels all-or-nothing; if we’re not eating healthy, exercise goes too. In reality, if one healthy habit goes, it’s even more reason to stick with the others. Identify a couple of non-negotiable routines or practices that make you feel your best, and then prioritize them no matter what. Whether it’s getting a meditation every morning or going for a jog three times a week, keep up with only a couple of crucial rituals and routines to make self-care during a busy time feel more manageable.


6. Adjust your environment

You probably think about your home in terms of how to make it prettier, cozier, and cleaner. But what about making it more convenient for your health? First of all, surround yourself with motivating images, start a vision board, or post your affirmation on your mirror, desk, or fridge. Seeing a visual representation of why you care about your health will help you stay motivated when you’re busy. Also, make healthy habits easier. Keep your blender in an accessible spot, display healthy cookbooks on the shelves, leave your yoga mat out, and keep your essential oil diffuser right by your bed. You’ll be much more able to fit in healthy habits if everything you need for them is right there


7. Have a plan B

So you slept through your alarm and missed your morning workout? Or you’ve been running errands all morning and can’t go home to make a smoothie? No matter what health routines you prefer, have an easy and flexible backup plan so that you don’t completely give up when your busy life keeps it from happening. For example, taking a walk while going on a conference call or doing a yoga YouTube video before hopping in the shower are great ways to fit in movement if you had to skip your usual workout. Likewise, have a few different healthy meal options so that when you’re not in the mood for your typical go-to’s or have time to cook, you don’t opt for fast food takeout. Health can still be a priority in busy times, but you may have to change the means to get there.


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8. Take time for a wind-down routine

Raise your hand if you get exhausted during busy or stressful days (*insert three hand-raising emojis here*). When we’re busy, we typically go at 100mph until the second our heads hit the pillow. Whether it’s late-night work, finishing tasks on a to-do list, or wrangling toddlers, nighttime typically looks like an extension of our busy day. But staying busy until the lights go off can damage your sleep, cause stress dreams, or even lead to a lack of energy the next day. Even if it is 10 minutes of peace and quiet in the shower or five minutes to read before bed, you need a nighttime routine the most on busy days.


9. Multitask with exercise

Just because you can’t find a time slot for a 60-minute workout throughout your day does not mean you shouldn’t move at all. You can even exercise while accomplishing something on your to-do list simultaneously (intrigued?). For example, do bicep curls while on conference calls or go on a power walk while talking to your mom. You can also listen to an online class or audiobook for your book club while working out to accomplish two things at once. Even minor changes like parking in the furthest spot, taking the stairs, or standing up more during the day can make a major difference without taking up your time.


10. Realize that not having enough time is a myth

Now that I’ve given you tips to help make your wellness routine shorter and easier, it’s time for some tough love. Not having enough time to prioritize your health is an illusion. Period. The way that we eat, move, care for ourselves, and live has a major impact on our productivity, energy levels, and health. If we’re not spending time to emotionally recharge and care for our bodies, we’ll have less energy, feel more overwhelmed by stress, and are at risk for more health complications as we get older. In other words, you don’t have the time not to prioritize your health. Prioritizing health is an investment to buy yourself more time later: more energy, more capabilities, and more life. Manage your schedule to be less stressful, prioritize your time wisely, but remember that your wellbeing is not a reward if you get everything else done; it’s a necessity. 



This post includes a sponsored mention of Blue Apron, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.



How to Stop Being Your Worst Critic

A woman standing outside her car with her shoulders slumped over looking sad

We all know it is there. No one is surprised, but we still usually underestimate the volume and tenacity of our inner critic.

You know the one. When you leave a dinner party and get into your car alone to drive home, it asks, “Why did I say that?” When you scroll through other people’s edited and curated online lives, it says, “I can’t keep up.” When you consider taking a risk to pursue a new idea, it bemoans, “I’ll probably fail.”

Just like the hum of the loud engine of an airplane, when you hear it often enough, you become desensitized to the sound. It becomes this constant vibration—the background noise of your life.

But at what cost? What might we become with a little more internal calm and silence? Here’s a few suggestions for quieting your inner critic:

1. Becoming mindful. 

Mindfulness is all the rage these days, but what is it exactly? It is simply choosing to actively pay attention. Start paying attention. Notice the noise. Notice it.

2. Name it to tame it. 

A phrase popularized by Dan Siegel is, “We cannot tame what we have not yet named.” It is like punching in the dark. You might hit something, but chances are you will miss or just hurt yourself.

Name your inner critic. Call it to account. I see you, inner critic, and I am going to name you for what you are: a tired, critical voice that keeps me from believing in myself.

Name your inner critic. Call it to account.

3. Break up. 

It is time for a DTR (aka Define the Relationship moment). We need to define and then redefine the relationship with your inner critic. It may have existed in a misguided attempt to protect you from vulnerability and hurt, but you have outgrown it. You don’t need it anymore.

Your critic is not your conscience. It is not your motivator, and it is not your friend. It’s time for a breakup. It’s time to say, “Thank you inner critic, but you don’t serve me well anymore.”

4. Build up the good. 

Speak to yourself like you would to someone you dearly love and respect. Gently and kindly point out what you love about yourself and what you are grateful for in your life. This isn’t futile silver lining thinking. We can change the way our brain is wired when we focus on what is true.

We can change the way our brain is wired when we focus on what is true.

5. Feed what you want to grow. 

Have you ever heard that saying about how what you feed will grow and what you starve will die? Well, it is the same way with our internal world. Every time your inner critic pops up, tap your watch and say, “Oh hello, you’re right on time; I was just about to try something new; I expected you.”

Greet your critic. Then, gently turn your attention to a truth to replace the thought such as: “I am brave, and I can try new things. If I fail, it does not diminish my value.” Every time you choose this, you are feeding good thoughts.

6. Give yourself permission to grow. 

Sounds funny, right? However, we are often oddly loyal to our old ways of thinking and to our old habits no matter how unhelpful they are. We put pretty curtains on our prison cells and make the best of it because trying something new is scary. Give yourself permission to enjoy who you are and become a freer version of yourself.

Have you learned to separate truth from the voice of your inner critic? How have you learned to turn down your inner critic and replace her with a voice of compassion?

Image via Sarah Kehoe, Darling Issue No. 16


To Listen or To Censor in a World of Differences

A woman leaning up against a building's exterior brick wall

To listen or to silence? To hear or to negate? These are the critical questions of our day and age, and this article will serve as food for thought and help orient us within the dynamic human ecosystem in which we live. 

Imagine for a moment how rich in diversity our world truly is. From ecology to art to industry, we live in a miraculous multi-dimensional garden full of uniqueness, creativity, surprise and variance. Human minds, which encapsulate thought, emotion, perception and consciousness, are their own idiosyncratic, botanical realms. 

The way I perceive the world in my mind is subjective to me and is likely not the same as your vision. It is as if there are various realms of realities within a shared world. The mind, like the world we live in, can be a mystery to be unlocked. When it comes to engaging with people with whom we disagree, the mind can be a troubling puzzle of parts that does not make sense.

The mind, like the world we live in, can be a mystery to be unlocked.

Diversity leads us to language. Language can be a profound expression of individuals or communities’ psychology, humanity and lived experience in conjunction with cultural variations and identities. Language, spoken by members of the same community, can also demonstrate polarity in a complex world. 

If I were to say something outside of your worldview, it might be perceived as intriguing, useless or even dangerous. In our modern world, what people say and how they choose to say it can highlight major social, political or intellectual differences. It is only inevitable, then, that rage and chaos could formulate in all that diversity, making it often impossible for people to communicate in a “shared” world.

What people say and how they choose to say it can highlight major social, political or intellectual differences.

To Listen or To Silence?

The battle is clear these days: Do I listen to something someone said that I do not like or do I silence it? Social media can be a barrage of in-your-face posts, memes and videos where people’s bite-sized rationales may fall diametrically in opposition to yours. It is all good if you agree, but it is totally different when things get hot and spicy. 

In every scenario where the choice to listen or to silence comes up, it is important to slow down your internal process and notice what is happening in your thoughts and emotions.

Are you triggered by what was said? What is coming up emotionally? If you were to silence that person, how does it help you, your cause or the other person? 

In this instance, the key is to not allow your knee-jerk response to dominate your actions without reflecting and playing out the long-term impact of your decision. 

The key is to not allow your knee-jerk response to dominate your actions without real reflection.

To Hear or To Negate?

On the battlefield of differences, negation is inevitable. When someone strongly disagrees with another person, absolute negation to the point of complete elimination becomes more and more possible. Is thinking this way helpful to you and others? In what way?

Let us break down the word helpful in this case. To help is to serve or support others. This might mean offering aid to the weak or the most vulnerable, although it can certainly pertain to all people as opposed to those who are just on your side.

One of the greatest acts of service is to listen to someone else. In my training as a psychotherapist, I understand that to give someone space to speak their mind, even if I disagree, allows the speaker to feel heard and respected. Every time one does this, it allows for the possibility of greater understanding throughout time. 

To give someone space to speak their mind, even if I disagree, allows the speaker to feel heard and respected.

Does understanding happen immediately? No, it does not. Could it happen at some point? Yes, it could, especially if you are one to seek out some thread of commonality.

To hear or negate others with whom you agree or disagree with carries its own unique meaning. It could be helpful as much as it may not be. You may feel more hurt when hearing a horrid reality from someone else’s mouth. You may leave the conversation feeling utterly drained and quasi-nauseous from exposing yourself to someone’s opinions or ideas. Your trauma may even be triggered. On the other hand, you may learn something new, gain insight about a topic or shatter a misconception. 

The Modern-Day Dilemma

In my lifetime, I have never observed more palpable division and polarity as I have in this day and age. The nature of these divisions vary. Yet, it is clear that we have arrived at an existential chasm. What do you do next? What do we do together?

Social dilemmas are deeply personal issues at their roots. To listen or to censor is, then, a personal and social dilemma that runs deep within the fault line of our world. Underneath the surface of the earth, roots link to others, similar to those in the human ecosystem. It is in this metaphor that you can reflect upon the decision to listen or censor and the meaning of both for you. 

How can you engage in the diverse ideas and opinions that comprise the human ecosystem? In what ways can you make space for others even when you disagree?

Image via Martha Galvan, Darling Issue No. 17