Busy? Make An Effort To Stay Healthy!
There just are not enough hours in the day to do everything. Whether it’s our school or jobs, families or community activities, so many of us are rushing from one thing to the next. With schedules like these, our personal health often suffers. We rely on caffeine rather than proper rest to keep us awake. Instead of cooking a healthy meal, we order a pizza. Physical exercise occurs rarely, if at all. The more we have on our plate, the less we take care of our bodies that are doing all the work!
However, our bodies deserve better than this. The body is a gift from Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, to be used in His service, to worship Him and to help others. As with all gifts, it needs to be taken care of in order to be fully appreciated and to be used to its fullest potential. This is part of ‘ibadah, and also beneficial to us; we are able to work, think, and act better when we feel better.
So how do we manage to make healthier lifestyle choices? The excuse that we don’t find time because our schedules are “too full” is often cited but schedules are not static. The solution, and the greatest challenge, is to retool our schedules and incorporate healthy practices so they become part of our regular routine. While this is difficult, there are several approaches that can help along this journey:
1) Assess areas of improvement and set realistic goals. If you want to start exercising, you should not expect to become a marathon-runner overnight. Instead, set a simple goal for yourself, such as working out once a week. This makes the change much less intimidating and easier to accomplish. Succeeding at one goal will, inshaAllah, lead to continued progress.
2) Find a time that works with your current schedule. Even though many of us claim to have no free time, in reality we generally have scattered periods of “dead time” when we don’t do much. Use this dead time to schedule your activity. If you have 4 hours on the weekend dedicated to Netflix, instead use some of that time to try a new healthy recipe.
3) Find a buddy! It can be difficult to stay motivated when trying a new healthy activity. Having a friend do it with makes it much easier! You’re less likely to blow off your morning walk if you know someone is expecting to meet you.
4) Stick to your schedule! In order for something to be incorporated into your routine, you need to be consistent at it. Meet your activity buddy at the scheduled time at regular intervals, and don’t skip! Eventually, just like your Tuesday morning work meeting, your healthy activity will become part of your regular routine.
5) Leave enough time for a good night’s rest. This is always a challenge! But your routine should be structured so that you are able to get several hours of sleep.
Of course, starting a new activity and keeping a regular routine is not easy. There are going to be times when you don’t quite stick to the schedule, but if we make an effort and surround ourselves with others who help motivate us, inshaAllah we will change our lifestyles for the better.
May Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, make it easy for us to keep our minds, bodies, and hearts healthy for His sake, and may we remain grateful for that with which He has blessed us. Ameen.