For most students (apart from those unlucky science students who actually spent the majority of their days in a lecture theatre) time is on your side. With few contact hours there exists plenty of time with which to exercise, cook and eat. That’s not to say every student follows a strict regime, but the option is certainly there.
On graduating and entering real life employment remaining healthy suddenly becomes a real challenge. There are constant temptations in the form of birthdays and leaving dos (all that cake and booze). Plus, sitting behind a desk all day with little free time and a constant sense of overwhelming tiredness does not lend itself to a healthy lifestyle. So here are some practical hints and tips in how to stay healthy whilst balancing a full time job.
Preparation does not have particularly glamorous connotations. However, it is extremely important. Apparently there are a fair few studies to support this view, but we can tell you from personal experience if you prepare your lunches and dinner in advance you will eat more healthily. Setting aside two evenings a week (generally a Sunday and a Wednesday) for serious food prep, and looking at sites like Deliciously Ella for some healthy inspiration is generally good practice and should help keep you on the right track.
And for those midday munchies and afternoon cravings try replacing chocolate and crisps with healthier alternatives: low-calorie popcorn or perhaps a nutritious (portion controlled) bag of nuts. Having a meal bag filled with a delicious lunch and healthy nuts may not be exciting, but it will stop you snacking on unwholesome nibbles throughout the day.
Sitting behind a desk does not a healthy lifestyle make, so it is important to make every effort to move as much as possible. And whilst cycling to work is a lovely sentiment, it’s hardly practical for the vast majority of us (unless you happen to be built like a Winklevoss.)
Instead take small steps, make sure you get outdoors during your lunch break and try to set a (discreet) alarm on your phone for every hour to remind you to stretch your legs. Staying still, staring at a screen is not only detrimental to your health, but could also make you a little crazy. And whilst technology is constantly facilitating communication, try organising your meetings outside of the office. Not only could it help build relationships, but movement is definitely important when battling that sluggish feeling during the working day.
This is perhaps the most important. It is scarily easy to throw yourself into your job at the expense of everything else. The work life balance struggle is real and should be fought at every opportunity. Set aside time in your calendar to do something you enjoy at least once a week. Because as a working guy or gal you soon learn there’s no fun like organising an activity.