Me. Me. Me.
Although the headline sounds selfish, it’s really about self-care, which ultimately benefits those who are an important part of your life. The foundation of a successful life is built upon your health – and as you make the transition from student to professional, the way you achieve ideal health may need to change.
When you were an undergrad or graduate student, you probably had free access to a gym and other workout resources (as part of your overall student fees). Or perhaps you were a part of your family’s health club membership. But now, in order to maintain your fitness level, you have to discover an affordable way to keep working out. Here are some possible options:
- An alumni membership
- A club with basic options like Planet Fitness
- Your employer may have an onsite health club facility
- Some employers will reimburse you for part, or all, of a gym membership
- In-home equipment; if a friend has different equipment, you could share with each other
- Check into online or app-based fitness programs; some require a subscription, while others may be a part of your existing TV package
Not only was hiking or biking to class a great way to fit in some exercise, but your schedule may have also accommodated chunks of time to get in a good workout. As a full-time employee (who may also have a side hustle), your free time for fitness becomes more limited, but it is possible to maintain your healthy lifestyle. And even though it’s tempting to grab lunch with friends or out of the vending machine, it’s still important to make healthy eating choices:
- Walk on your lunch break – you could get to know some co-workers this way
- Hop on a treadmill or exercise bike while listening to an audio book or getting caught up on email
- Get in a workout before you head to the office; you’ll start the day with a sense of accomplishment
- Plan meals ahead of time and use the weekend for meal prep; you can even turn this into a fun get-together with friends
- If you have minimal time, but a reasonable salary, then a meal delivery subscription might work well for you
Life is different once you have that degree and you’ve shifted out of full-time student mode. You may be focused on investing a lot of time into your career, buying a home, pursuing new interests, socializing with a new group of friends, moving, caring for aging parents, starting a family or raising children. When you turn to a new chapter in your life, it’s important to pay attention to your overall health and self-care:
- Remind yourself WHY eating healthy and exercise are important; think about your family, goals, priorities, etc.
- Manage stress with mindfulness, yoga and other forms of self-care
- Consider therapy if you’re overwhelmed; some even specialize in life’s transition
- Be realistic with your deadlines and commitments now that you’re juggling a different set of priorities
New Health Issues
A new job or life situation can create unexpected medical concerns – or can uncover dormant conditions. In this stage of adulting, it’s smart to listen to your body and take steps toward disease prevention. Here are some things to look out for:
- Are you getting quality sleep? A new schedule, sleep environment or diet can affect both the amount and quality of your slumber.
- Are you experiencing increased headaches, tight muscles, stomach distress, anxiety, weight loss, weight gain or other unexplained symptoms? Your body is telling you something needs to be addressed and adjusted.
- Do you have new aches and pains? Your back or feet may scream at you if you’re not accustomed to sitting at a desk all day, wearing uncomfortable shoes, bending down to talk to your little students or doing any other repetitive action.
- Do you travel a lot for work? That can wreak havoc on your diet, sleep, exercise and emotions. Being cognizant of this impact and planning ahead can minimize the effect travel has on your health.
- Are you working crazy-long hours? When this happens, it’s tempting to grab junk food and crash on the couch, but eating well and caring for your body will balance out the extra demands.
- Do you have children in school or new to day care? Diligent attention to hygiene – especially hand-washing – will reduce the likelihood of picking up whatever nasty bug is running through their school. Extra sleep helps, too!
As your career kicks into high gear – or even if it changes direction – keep these tips in mind to stay healthy and happy. In the meantime, check out our video: New Year, New You.
* Please note that products and services listed in this article are for general reference and don’t imply an endorsement.