Time is precious these days and it seems to be slipping by even faster. Who has the time to fit in workouts, fix a lunch before work, or especially snag some quiet time for yourself? While not everything is possible every day, taking just 15 minutes for these things, most days of the week, could lead to a healthier and happier lifestyle.
15 minute jog – set the alarm that much earlier or go for a mile and a half on the lunch break. Even 15 minutes of cardiovascular fitness a day can add years and quality to life. 30 minutes a day has been somewhat of a rule of thumb now for years. However, researchers are finding that even 15 minutes a day, most days of the week, can be very beneficial. This goal seems much more attainable for busy lifestyles and is a great start to working up if more if able. For more research information, see this article.
15 minute lunch prep – this could be done while cleaning up from dinner or while setting out breakfast for the family in the morning. A sandwich may not be good to make and let sit overnight, but making a few extra servings for dinner and packaging them into ready-to-grab containers for you, your spouse, your roommate, or your son could ease morning craziness. Taking lunch to work also cuts down on unhealthy impulsive drive-thru decisions. If you plan ahead, you are more likely to make healthier decisions. Furthermore, if you have the flexibility – eating at work some days could mean leaving work earlier and making more time for other activities. Making grocery lists with lunch-pack-friendly foods can also ease this burden and ensure healthier options.
15 minute chat – phone a friend or family member during a 15 minute commute or the 15 minutes you saved not having to leave the office at lunch. We all have those long-distance friends or family members we are dying to catch up with, but struggle to find the time. At times, the obstacle is trying to put a full 30 or 40 minutes aside for a long conversation. Hit the basics and chat for 15 minutes more often to get a social lift.
15 minute recharge – this is probably the most-often skipped, but most important. Resting the mind can help to increase production and make you feel as if you can accomplish more later. One obstacle with this is that many people try to do this at the wrong time of day. If you are the type of person that has to have priorities accomplished in order to enjoy some quiet, schedule your quiet time after you finish the quarterly budget at work or go to the grocery store at home. Know yourself and schedule accordingly. Maybe you do quiet best in the morning or maybe in the afternoon before picking up the kids at school and daycare. Attempt to literally do nothing during this time. Sit outdoors with no distractions or lay on the couch with your eyes closed.
These four activities listed above total one hour. You may think you don’t even have an hour to spare. However, it may be worth it to wake up 15 minutes earlier, cut 15 minutes out of your hour lunch, take 15 minutes away from facebook, and 15 minutes from TV time in order to fit in these short activities. After reaping the benefits of health and happiness, you won’t even notice that you lost 15 minutes of sleep or that you didn’t know your friend from college just ate the best piece of pizza ever.
In order to further ensure success, it is important to remember the following secrets:
- You don’t have to fit in all 4 every day. Alternate the 15 minute jog with the 15 minute recharge!
- You don’t have to pack a lunch every day. Have lunch with a friend or your sister one day a week for that extra social connection – and save your 15 minute chat!
- Plan accordingly. Don’t overwhelm your day and think ahead to what fits best with your schedule and your personality.
How to do this in Columbia, MO?
- Combine your recharge with your jog at any of Columbia’s great parks or trails.
- Hit up Natural Grocers for some great lunch items to pack next week.
- Have a quick chat on the phone and “grab a cup of coffee” with a long distance friend at Coffee Zone in downtown Columbia.