When you’re just too busy

In Trucker's Health, July 20225 MinutesBy Laura HulleyAugust 16, 2022

Life is full of ups and downs. If you are currently overworked or overwhelmed, it can seem hard to keep up with your current load while maintaining your fitness and healthy-eating regime.

Here are some simple tips to help you stay on track as best as you can while navigating your busy life.

1. Plan to exercise
The more organised you are, the more likely you are to stay on track. You can plan every minute detail of your life, or write down a few important things here and there. Find a system that works for you. I use a monthly planner to see what I have on for the month. It allows me to get my head around not just today but what’s coming up.

The main details are when you are going to exercise, where and for how long. The more specific you can be, the better. For example, ‘Monday, 6pm, pump class at the gym.’ If you commit to a time, you are more likely to go than if you just note ‘gym today’.

2. Meal prep
When your meals aren’t organised, you are more likely to reach for unhealthy convenience choices such as takeaways. If you have made time to do grocery shopping and have roughly planned out your meals for the week, you’re more likely to make better food choices. It doesn’t mean you have to spend hours meal prepping; even if you have your meals organised for the following day, it’s enough to get you by and ensure that healthy foods and snacks are on hand.

3. Get enough sleep
I know truckers often have long and unpredictable hours but getting as much sleep/rest as possible is so important. Try turning off your phone/TV an hour earlier, eating earlier in the day and hitting the hay a bit earlier – you will have more energy the next day and be more inclined to exercise. When we are tired, we often overeat as the responses telling us that we are full don’t quite operating as well as they should be. I tend to crave comfort foods more when I’m knackered.

4. Don’t over-commit
If your plate is already full, resist the temptation to commit to doing more. Whether that be socially or work, it is important to prioritise yourself and the need for downtime and rest. Being overloaded, overtired and stressed is a recipe for disaster, healthwise.

5. Prioritise what is important to you
We live in a high-flying and fast-paced environment, where everyone is trying to be everywhere and do everything as quickly as possible. But we can’t do it all, and we often burn ourselves out by spreading ourselves too thinly. I always say you’re better to do well at a few things than be average at a dozen. So, choose your priorities carefully.

Personally, my health comes first because it is a priceless commodity. If you know you need to exercise and take care of your diet and that it is a non- negotiable in your world, you will make it happen. Your friends and family should be respectful and appreciate that you are looking after yourself.

6. Don’t be too hard on yourself
I am currently in the thick of a hectic period, having just planned a wedding, married, performed a lead role in a stage show, moved house and changed jobs. I can relate 100% to the idea that exercise and healthy eating habits can just slip away because you’re too tired and stressed. But I feel worse if I skip workouts and let unhealthy foods creep into my diet. In saying that, be gentle on yourself – all you can do is your best.

Hopefully, it is just a temporary stressful period, and a light is at the end of the tunnel. In the meantime, stay focused, stay organised, get plenty of rest and ride the wave to shore.