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Short on time? How to prioritise healthy living




You will be glad to know that this week, the thongs have been where they should be and the masks have been on my face.

No awkward mishaps, and life has been more organised in general. When I hit a point of overwhelm, I have to press pause while I sort everything out. I find it so much easier to focus at work when everything at home is organised. That realisation led to a weekend blitz and a clear out of epic proportions.

It felt amazing.

I do live in permanent panic that the kids will notice I've relocated half their belongings to goodwill or the attic, but …. so far so good. I had piles and piles of their artwork. I ended up just taking photos of the good bits, holding on to one or two to frame and the rest went in the trash. (Please don't tell them!)

One of my friends tells a story about her son who witnessed her putting his artwork in the bin and yelled: “Why are you deleting me?” The rage of a kid in the age of technology!

I also find it easier to stick to healthy habits when things are calm and organised at home. But lately, I'd been falling into the trap of doing no exercise at all because I just “don't have time”. The thing is, we rarely have enough time. And we're often waiting for the perfect moment to start eating healthy, to start exercising, to start doing meditation.

But you know what, there is rarely a perfect time; most of us are busy bees. There's rarely as much time to exercise as we'd like; there's sometimes not even enough time to stop and think.

But if we put healthy habits off because “it's not the right moment” then we're unlikely to ever get started — how depressing is that?

This week I thought I'd give you some tips for healthy living, even when life is busy.

Let me walk you through a process for a “something is better than nothing” strategy. Because it's true. When it comes to your health, a few baby steps are always, always better than nothing. (PS. If your goal is exercise related, join us for Beat the Couch! Training starts next week, but we have intro night tonight. All details at

How to prioritise when you're short on time:

1, Seize the day

Ok, it's your carpe diem moment. Find a 30-minute window and then let's sit down and figure this out. All you need is thirty minutes. Do this with lunch, a coffee …. take a few deep breaths, clear your mind, and begin. If you have an hour, go through the process with a friend or partner and be accountable to each other.

2, Utilise next-best options

Before you really get started, I want to emphasise how important next-best options are. If one of your goals is to eat a healthy dinner every evening but time constraints mean you don't have time to cook, then utilising healthier takeout is OK. We have tons of healthy options at Miles deli and plenty of Nutrifit meals ready-to-go in the fridge. Takeout doesn't have to mean pizza! Or, you might have a lofty goal of cooking an amazing recipe every night, but do know that scrambled eggs on toast is OK (just have some salad leaves and a few baby tomatoes, too)! It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be better.

3, Brainstorm your top priorities

What are the most important things you need to change? Do you just need to go to bed earlier? Drink more water?

Do you need to consistently eat more vegetables? Remember to take your supplements? Get your exercise in? Have a healthy breakfast? What will have the most impact? What's the biggest bang for your buck in terms of health rewards? Most of you will know what your priorities are. Pick (up to) three! If you need someone to help you assess it all, contact me for an appointment.

4, Double-check your priorities for fundamentals

This is the reality check. If you've said your priorities are to drink a green smoothie every morning, take your supplements daily and meditate every night (all amazing) but you're short on sleep, stressed to the max and dehydrated ... then we need to readjust. Let's make sure you're addressing your fundamentals. Your first set of priorities will be to increase water consumption, go to bed on time and target something at the root cause of your stress (if you can).

5, Implement your support structure

Now you have your priorities in place, we need to think about how to make sure they happen. If we use the example above (water, sleep, stress) then this means (just ideas): buy/pick a water bottle that you will carry around with you everywhere. Put three (or more) rubber bands on the top. Each time you finish the bottle, move a rubber band to the bottom. Goal is to have all bands at the bottom by the end of the day. When it comes to sleep — set a bedtime alarm on your phone. Entire seasons of a show on Netflix, officially the worst thing to happen to bedtime yet! Stress … this is where we can work the meditation in. When you're tucked up for the night, pop on a ten-minute meditation (I love the Insight Timer app), or even a five-minute option. Remember something is better than nothing! As another example, if you're working on exercise as your priority, but an ever-changing schedule is a limiting factor, then make a rule that on Sunday night you take ten minutes to look at your week ahead. Look at your diary, find your windows for classes, a walk, or a fitness video on YouTube. Book them in and you're all set.

Catherine Burns is a qualified nutritional therapist. For more details:; 505-4725; Natural Nutrition Bermuda on Facebook and @naturalbda on Instagram

Make sleep a priority: entire seasons of Netflix hits are officially the worst thing to happen to bedtime, says Catherine Burns (Photograph by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)




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Published October 02, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated October 02, 2020 at 3:14 pm)

Short on time? How to prioritise healthy living

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