When life gets hectic and and your schedule demands a sacrifice, health is often the first item on the chopping block. In the heat of the moment, skipping lunch for an urgent client meeting or cutting back on sleep to finish writing a last-minute motion feels not only viable, but necessary. What you may fail to realize in this moment, however, is that every health sacrifice you make has a direct and detrimental effect on your body, your energy, and your efficiency.
As a lawyer, there will be times you are forced to compromise your health regardless of these consequences. You can prepare your body for these situations and alleviate their negative impacts by implementing a few of the following tools.
1. Dietary Supplements
Your diet is a critical component of your overall health, and insufficiencies can take a drastic toll on your body and mind--even when you’re doing everything else right. Ensure that your body gets everything it needs by supplementing your usual intake with daily multivitamins, particularly those that contain iron, magnesium, and vitamins A, C, D, E, B2, B6, and B12. Iron helps to prevent fatigue, magnesium eases anxiety, and vitamins offer a wide range of benefits, from immunity boosts to mood stabilization.
2. Health Apps
According to a recent study, people who use fitness apps are significantly more likely to get active than those who don’t. Indeed, the perks and capabilities of such apps are dynamic in scope: there are apps for monitoring your nutrition, designing a weight management plan, customizing workouts, tracking your training progress, and even earning (through exercise) corporate sponsorships for charity. Whatever your health goal, there is an app to help you get there.
Tone your muscles, burn some calories, and get your blood and adrenaline pumping--all without leaving the vicinity of your office! Find ways to incorporate small exercises into your daily tasks and activities; for example, take the stairs instead of the elevator and intersperse your climb with 30-second wall sits at every floor. Or, if you’re really in a rush, take the elevator and do as many calf raises as you can before you get to your floor. If you need more inspiration, check out these helpful lists from Greatist, Forbes, and Lifehack.
We know you’ve heard this one before, but its importance is undeniable. Proper hydration combats fatigue, alleviates high blood pressure, keeps skin supple and youthful, cleanses toxins from the body, and prevents bad breath when you’re meeting with clients. If your taste is more oriented towards sugary drinks, now is the time to cut back--but there’s a silver lining! You can flavor your water with healthy enhancers such as Mio to simultaneously please your palette, stay hydrated, and boost your intake of the essential vitamins and dietary compounds we mentioned above.
5. Audio Books
What do audio books have to do with health? Well, if you use them strategically, they can be a useful tool to synthesize your work obligations with your personal and health-oriented activities. Instead of canceling a workout to catch up on some essential reading, download your materials as audio publications (or convert them from documents into audio files) and listen while you exercise. Alternatively, listen during your commute and free up some extra time to re-allocate to your workout. Bonus: not only do audio files increase your mobility--they also allow you to rest your eyes, decreasing eye stress and socket pressure.
Although HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, sounds like a regimen geared towards military personnel or professional athletes, it’s much more accessible and beginner-friendly than its name conveys. In fact, HIIT is simply a quicker, more efficient, fat-burning and muscle-building workout technique (compared to traditional methods)--and it requires zero equipment! HIIT trains your body through short intervals of full-exertion exercise, followed by recovery periods and repetition. Busy professionals opt for HIIT rather than traditional workouts because of its inherent quickness: it builds better results in 15 minute sessions than does 60 minutes of jogging on a treadmill.
As a professional cynic, you may approach this suggestion with skepticism; but really, it’s worth trying (the worst that could happen is you’ll smell really, really good for a while). Aromatherapy has been used in mental and emotional healing practices for centuries, and remains very relevant to discourse about stress management. Its functionality relies on the aerial or topical dispersal of essential oils, each of which carries different medicinal properties. You can enjoy the effects of these oils from your desk, using a standard diffuser, or on the go, by dabbing small amounts of the oils along the inner neckline of your shirt. Popular oils for stress relief include geranium, peppermint, lavender, jasmine, chamomile, and lemongrass, most of which are available at drug and grocery stores.
8. Workout Incentives
Although we’ve already discussed fitness tracking and health optimization apps above, there is another avenue for you to capitalize on the growing intersection between health and technology: incentive apps. PACT, will actually pay you to meet your diet and exercise goals--and, of course, will charge you if you don’t. If you need help staying on track when life gets hectic, PACT may be for you. If you would prefer to incentivize your workout and hold yourself accountable without jeopardizing your finances, try a more old-fashioned approach: find a workout buddy who will guilt you for bailing, but whose company you look forward to (finally, a purpose for our siblings and significant others!).
9. Grocery Delivery Services
Who doesn’t hate returning home, famished and exhausted, to an empty fridge? Spare yourself the misery--and the Chinese takeout. When you’re too busy to shop for food, have someone else do it for you. Grocery delivery services, including Instacart, Envoy, and Amazon Fresh, will charge you minimal rates for the service they provide: everything on your grocery list, delivered straight to your doorstep.
For more tools and resources to help you stay healthy no matter what, check out our recent white paper:
The Busy Lawyer's Guide to Healthy Work/Life Balance