Rj and I are in the middle of one of those ultra crazy busy life stretches. Sure, everyday life is crazy busy, but you know what I’m talking about, right? On top of crazy busy life, something happens that makes crazy busy seem like a cake walk.
You have transcended into ultra crazy, how am I every going to do this, what is happening, wait, where am I going stretches.
Maybe you have to travel more than usual. Maybe all the kids have made the championship teams and your weekends are now being spent as parental Uber drivers for them and their teammates. Maybe you have a big project at work that requires double and triple overtime.
Sometimes life just hits you with more than normal, throws you off schedule and challenges your resolve/patience/energy levels and sanity.
We’ve all been there. We will all be there again.
When UCBL (Ultra Crazy Busy Life) lands in my lap, my healthy routine is always the first thing to get chucked out the door.
Not because I want it to! Really! I try! I have all the workout gear in my travel bags, I have all the preloaded 10 minute hotel room workouts, I know where to find healthy food even if on a plane, in a new city or at home without time to go shopping.
But UCBL is bigger than all of those good intentions. UCBL is REAL. UCBL means that all good intentions/knowledge/routines get challenged.
So here we are, with a 3 week stretch of UCBL including art shows on the weekend, both of us then air traveling for business (Rj to photo shoots, me to Thrive Global workshops) during the week, then back to do a show on the weekend, then back air traveling for more business the next week, then another art show.
No joke – I have 6 bags packed in the back of our truck. Each weekend, I take out the clothes we need for the art show, then Sunday night I pack them away and replace them with our travel clothes. Then Thursday night, I pack the travel clothes and pull out our new show clothes.
You all feel me, right? We ALL have UCBL times! Yours may look different than mine, but we have ALL gone through these stretches, and we will all go through them again, and again, and again.
The irony here is that during UCBL times, you health is usually the first thing you let go – but yet your health is actually the one thing that will get you through this craziness with energy, a clear mind, a positive attitude, and basically keep you strong physically and mentally.
Never fails, right? The things we need most are the things we neglect first.
I want you to know something. Even doing the smallest of things to support your health during a UCBL moment will make the biggest difference. Not only during the UCBL moment, but longer term.
Because if you keep from falling off your wagon completely, it is easier to get back on that wagon when things settle down. (I wrote more on that concept here).
So I’d like to share with you the 3 simplest ways that I have found keep me on track during my UCBL chapters of life. These are EASY. These take NO EXTRA TIME. And best yet – these WORK.
1: Drink Water
Drink lots and lots of water.
Do you know the full benefits of being hydrated? Let me list a few that motivate me to drink my aqua:
- Your brain can work at it’s full capacity (google dehydrated vs hydrated brain and look at the images – I promise, you’ll go grab that glass of water immediately!)
- Staying hydrated will help you feel full and less likely to reach for that sugary snack. Did you know that hunger pains are sometimes just your body telling you you are dehydrated?
- Healthy skin! Your skin takes a beating when we are busy, or traveling, or living in the Northeast during the winter. Being hydrated makes you glow.
- Water energizes your body. Dehydration impacts the flow of oxygen to the brain and causes your heart to work harder to pump oxygen to all your bodily organs, making you more tired and less alert.
That is a short list of the benefits of water, but hopefully enough to convince you that water might be the elixir of love for your UCBL.
Drinking water requires no additional time in your busy schedule. None. Zero. In fact, drinking water might just take less time than a stop at Starbucks for a Grande Pick Me Up loaded with caffeine (and other items that might first, dehydrate you, and second, give you a quick upper with a resulting energy slump an hour after you drink your magic potion).
Here are a few easy tips to drink more water every day:
- Fill a glass of water at night before you go to bed. Put that glass of water on your bedside table. The next morning, before you leave your bedroom/hotel room to start your day, drink that glass of water.
- Bring a water bottle with you to work and drink all the water in that water bottle. Refill if possible every time it’s empty.
- In the airport, after you get through security, get yourself a big bottle of water for your trip. Or, fill up your water bottle!
- During meetings, make sure you have water in front of you at all times.
Honestly there is NO reason I have ever heard, from anybody anywhere, that you can’t easily drink water during a UBCL chapter of life. Regular water, bubbly water, hot water, tap water – whatever – find it, drink it.
2: Healthy Pre-Made or Pre-Cut Food
The good news about our society being health conscious AND too busy, over-scheduled and out of control is that grocery stores, airports, cafes and even gas stations are now stocking healthy grab-and-go foods.
Sure, not all of them are as tasty as the healthy food you are able to prepare for yourself when you have time, but these options are SO MUCH BETTER than grabbing a donut, cookie or bag o’chips.
And these options will help get you through the days with consistent energy cycles (no sugar highs/sugar crashes), a clear mind (remember, your brain uses whatever you put in your mouth – makes you rethink ‘food for thought’, doesn’t it?), and hopefully lack of stomach issues (nobody’s got time to be down with an icky stomach due to eating crappy food).
Here’s what I do to get healthy food into me when I don’t have time, energy or equipment to make, prep or pack my own:
- Starbucks – Protein boxes, Green Juices, Venti Hot Water (I bring my own teabags with me cause I’m a tea snob, but they have good tea choices as well), Energy Mix (nuts, dried fruit)
- Grocery Stores – precut fruit/veggies, boiled eggs from salad bar, healthy granola bars (as little sugar as possible)
- Airports – other than Starbucks, any of the news stands/stores offer bags of trail mix (and People magazines for making sure I’m up on all the celebrity gossip – also healthy)
- Drugstores/Pharmacies – just yesterday, while looking for some trail mix at Duane Reade I found some cashew/coconut energy bites! No sugar added! They are awesome!
Be honest with yourself. When you are deep into a UBCL moment, you know that one of those places listed above will be on your way to or from something somewhere. And, chances are, you will need to stop at one of them anyway! So do yourself a favor and pick up something healthy to keep you going.
3: Move Your Body
Just like many of you, I have wonderful intentions to do that easy 30 minute yoga video on my phone in my hotel room during a business trip.
Because I know how good doing yoga would be for me, my body, my mind, my approach to the day, my performance, my overall health, my mood…….
But usually those good intentions are just that – good intentions. They never really quite become reality.
And then I feel bad about myself. And my body. And my mind. And my approach to the day. And my performance. And my overall health. And my mood……
So that seems like a pretty stupid approach, right? Good intentions gone bad. But yet, that’s life sometimes.
Lately I’ve been giving myself a bit of a break on the idea of doing these awesome 30 minute on-the-go yoga classes in lieu of just doing some stretching when I get out of bed.
In line with the ‘no extra time’ promise I made to you earlier, a few simple stretches fits the bill!
After all, you wake up every morning and have to get yourself out of bed, right? If you think about your morning routine, I bet you even have a few stretches already built there that you never really thought about.
Moving your body, whether stretching, walking, making the most out of standing up from your chair and sitting back down (chair squat people), is already a part of your busy day! And, so important to your overall health.
You are getting your blood circulating. You are using your muscles. You are sending oxygen to your brain. You are keeping your joints healthy. You are burning calories.
Movement is perhaps more important to your overall longterm health than a regular exercise routine!
So how do you build movement into your UCBL without adding extra time? EASY!
- In the morning, give yourself a good overall body stretch in bed before you get up. One of those awesome ones where your arms are over your head and your feet are all stretched out trying to reach the bottom of your bed.
- If air traveling, walking the airport is a given. Try to use stairs when you can. And while waiting to board your flight, don’t sit – stand and do a few stretches (neck rolls, shoulder rolls, bend over and touch your toes).
- Spending a lot of time at your kid’s sporting events? Well, do a few chair/bleacher squats! Put the phone down for a few minutes, and stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down.
Being busy means we are most likely on the move – soooooooo MOVE!
Don’t let your Ultra Crazy Busy Life throw you off your game. Ditch perfection. Don’t beat yourself up over good intentions gone bad. Stop trying to do everything!
Take the short cuts. Make the best choices you can. Recognize how many easy healthy options you have available to you right now. A little bit of awareness with literally zero extra effort will keep you on track.
OK, time to go! I’m at Whole Foods writing this blog between meetings. On my way out I think I’m going to have the woman behind the coffee counter whip me up a green smoothie instead of pouring me a cup of coffee.
Easy peasy. And yummy.