Don’t Drop the Ball: Health

Five Ways to Maintain Health in a Busy Season

Imagine life is a game in which you are juggling five balls. The balls are called work, family, health, friends, and integrity. And you’re keeping all of them in the air. But one day you finally come to understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls…are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered. – James Patterson, Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas

photo courtesy of unsplash.com

photo courtesy of unsplash.com

We tend not to realize the value of something until it is out of our reach. This is especially true when it comes to our health. I’ve heard this time and time again recently. I honestly never thought I would be telling the same story.

But here I am with my arm in a sling, being a “voluntary invalid” as my wife put it (she takes such good care of me), for a few days to let my arm heal. The injury happened back in winter while shoveling during the snow, but I believe it was a direct result of neglecting exercise for almost two years.

I had always been an active kid, and by the time I was 16 I was a bit obsessed with fitness. Just five years ago I completed p90x. But something happened to my mindset shortly after. I let the busyness of life (and did it ever become busy!) tell me that I didn’t have time to exercise anymore. That it wasn’t necessary. That I would be all right without it.

To be alive, you have to remain alive

Without knowing you personally, I can almost guarantee you’ve had, or seen a loved one go through, a similar experience. When life gets busy, why is it that our health is one of the first things we let go of? I certainly don’t advocate making an idol of your health, but to live a purposeful, effective life you have to be… alive! I personally want to be around to see and enjoy my grandchildren. I want you to be around too! When life gets busy, some things will certainly need to be put on hold. But health should not be one of those things. Do not let the glass ball of health fall to the ground and shatter.

The good news is that it doesn’t take a lot of time, money, and effort to maintain health.

Here are a five ideas to make the most of your health even during an extremely busy season.

  1. Stand more.
    Standing has benefits of it it’s own. But it also puts you in better position to get and keep moving. I’ve set up standing desks in various working locations, and I have found I am much more likely to move and be productive instead of getting sidetracked and sucked into time-wasting activities. Michael Hyatt gives some compelling reasons to stand more, as well as some ideas to do so.
  2. Come prepared.
    Having something healthy on hand in those moments of temptation goes a long way. In the afternoon of a stressful day, I know that I will probably go looking for some sugary goodie that will momentarily relieve stress. But if I have a healthy alternative already available, I will go for that instead. Veggies and fruits are an obvious choice. Eggs, chocolate, and spicy almonds work as well.
  3. Just walk.
    Exercise does not have to mean crushing it for an hour at an expensive gym. Mark’s Sisson discusses the benefit of low-level aerobic exercise.  And according to livestrong.com, even though 15 minutes of walking may not be enough to maintain weight loss, it is still beneficial.
  4. Use your built-in gym
    You carry a gym with you wherever you go. Didn’t know? Bodyweight workouts are some of the most convenient and most effective workouts you can do. The best thing is they’re free! For ideas, beyond the pushup, consider trying some exercises like burpees, jump lunges, and planks.
  5. Set boundaries.
    No matter how busy you are, you have to say “no more” at some point. Do not treat the rubber ball of work like a glass ball by forgoing sleep. Before you sit down to work – especially for you late night workers trying to finish up a term-paper before the sun rises and you have to drive to work (been there, done that) – determine a “do not cross” line. Your work will benfit more from a good night’s rest more than it will from a late night cram. Just take a look at this comparison of Team Tired vs. Team Sleep.

I know you’re willing to sacrifice a lot, even your health, for something you care for. But please think twice before sacrificing your health. Just like the airplane attendant would tell you to put on your own oxygen mask first, please take care of yourself so you can take care of the ones you love. Don’t worry about winning any medals, at least not if the season is not right. Just commit to maintaining your health and keeping the ball in the air.

Question: What is ONE thing you do or are going to start to maintain your health? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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