For many people, I know balancing a healthy lifestyle while working full-time can be tricky. I know it was a huge worry of mine before I started my full-time internship this summer. I was used to being at home which I meant I could weigh my food, make whatever food I wanted whenever, have ample time to workout at the time of my choosing, etc. But being at work all day certainly limited that. I was worried about balancing my summer collegiate workout, my job, sleep, food, muscle preventive/recovery exercises…you get the idea. However, a few weeks into this, I’ve found a routine and tips that really help me balance it all, so that things aren’t too crazy and chaotic, and I’m not super-stressed! I want to share those with you today!
Before I begin, I’m going to say that living a healthy and balanced life while working is not easy; it takes time, sacrifice, and planning. You can still manage to eat right, workout, work, sleep, and have social time BUT it’s going to require you to make choices and sacrifices. But, what important thing doesn’t these days? These tips/ideas really do help me and I truly enjoy the lifestyle I live. You can choose to change it to fit your life and that’s okay! I just hope that at least one of my ideas will help you better balance and live a healthy life you enjoy!
1. Plan and prep your meals ahead of time
I know I talk a lot about this topic, but it seriously is a life and time saver! Having all my meals prepped ahead of time makes making lunches and dinners so much easier, quicker, and simpler which saves me lots of time and stress.(Need ideas?) This is as simple as sitting down to write a meal plan for the week (all meals and snacks) before shopping and spending an hour (yes, only takes me ONE hour) cooking on Sunday.
2. Pack your lunch the night before
This saves me 15 minutes of stressing and running around trying to pack a lunch in the morning. Every night, I put my food into MyFitnessPal ( to make sure I hit my macros) and then pack my whole lunch. This usually means taking out the foods from their own tupperware, weighing it out, and putting it all together into a separate tupperware. I’ll also cut up any veggies, and measure out any crackers, nuts, snacks, etc., and put all non-fridge food items into my lunch box. All the fridge items, I’ll prep and put together on a shelf in my fridge so that all I have to do the next morning is add the ice packs and the food. I’ll also sometimes make my breakfast the night before to save me time in the morning, esp. if I work out at my company (or even my apartment) gym before work. I’ll either make eggs to heat up the next morning or overnight oats.
3. Find and make time to workout
When you’re busy and stressed at work, working out may be the last thing on your mind, but it shouldn’t be! There are numerous benefits of exercising regularly–including decreasing stress. Personally, I would highly recommend working out before work because I know there are days when I get home from the office that I really don’t want to go exercise. Plus, exercising in the morning gives me more energy, and leaves me feeling better for the rest of my day. There are some times when I plan to workout after work (notice how I said plan, as in put it into my calendar and DO IT), but the majority of the time it is before work. This goes back to sacrificing some things because I generally am at work by 8 am, which means waking up at 5:30 am at the latest to workout in the morning. It also means sometimes getting ready at my company gym if I don’t workout at my apartment gym. Is it the most convenient or easiest option? No. But, it is a choice I make to ensure I get my workout in, feel great for the rest of the day, and commit to making myself healthier and better. **If you need ideas for workouts check some of my sample workout and routines.
4. Get to bed early
5:30 am comes super early, and so does 6:30 am which is when I wake up if I don’t workout before work. Either way, I know that my body needs at least 8 hours of sleep whenever possible. So every night I aim to be done packing for the next day by 8:45pm so that I can get ready for bed and be in bed by 9:05. If my alarm is set for 5:30, I’ll go to sleep right away, but if it’s set for 6:30 I’ll try and read for 10-15 minutes before bed. Some people may gawk at me for going to bed that early–no netflix? social media? late night drinks with friends? NOPE. I find 30-40 minutes a night usually to enjoy social media, an episode of a show, youtube, etc. but I know how important sleep is to my health, my body’s ability to function, my weight, my performance during workouts, etc. I would much rather skip binging on a tv show or scrolling through countless social media feeds in order to be able to live a healthy lifestyle for me.
5. Make time for yourself
Lastly, it is super important that amidst the hustle and bustle of your job, social events, workouts, obligations, etc. that you find time to relax and do something you enjoy every day! Whether that’s a lunchtime walk, reading for 15 minutes, a hot bath, or an episode of your favorite show, taking that time helps calm and wind you down to relaxation. This is going to allow you to continue being healthy and living a lifestyle you can manage and enjoy!
So those are my top tips that I follow, and honestly these past 2 weeks I have had more energy, felt better, been less stressed, and just enjoyed life more. I’m not saying you have to give up social events, hanging with friends, doing what you like to live a balanced and healthy lifestyle After all, it is called balance! But it will take sacrificing some things and you have to be okay with that. I choose to live this way because I find joy in lifting, in preparing and eating healthy cooked meals, & in being healthy! I don’t begrudgingly give up certain things, or see it as a “sacrifice” anymore because I’ve chosen a life that I truly enjoy and love. I am living a healthy and balanced life while working full time and I couldn’t be happier or healthier!