Most days, you manage to slay your to-do list, tackle meal prep, and fit in a workout. But we all know life isn’t always so predictable, and it’s easy to let things spiral out of control when your days get crazed. (It happens to the best of us.)
But here’s the bright side: It’s actually a lot easier than it seems to incorporate healthyish habits when you’re on the go. It’s not about being perfect; it’s just about being prepared. We asked some of the busiest health and fitness experts we know how they stay sane and on track when their schedules are all over the place. Steal their eight super-doable tips for yourself.
1. Make a healthy kit.
Photographed by Jessica Cain “Instead of cosmetics, I fill a makeup bag with items I can use on the go: a nonperishable snack like a protein-packed bar, essential oils, a resistance booty band, a recovery massage ball, headphones, and hair ties. Then, when I have a moment to myself, I can take time to either let stress out with some physical activity or turn my Zen on and recover.”—Jenna Arndt, group fitness instructor at Crunch
2. Walk when you talk.
“My rule is no phone calls sitting down. I put in my earbuds and pace around the office or wall sit for each and every call I take during the day. To wall sit, step about a foot and a half away from a wall, then lean back and slide your torso down the wall until your thighs are near parallel to the floor—the lower you go, the harder you’ll work. I have five to 10 calls a day, and some can last up to an hour. Staying on my feet is an amazing way to increase my calorie burn, and it gives me more energy for those conversations.”—Heather Peterson, chief yoga officer and instructor at CorePower Yoga
3. Make water taste better.
Photographed by Jessica Cain “Drinking enough water not only quenches my thirst, but also prevents me from feeling starved and fights fatigue and moodiness. It’s essential for me because I get hangry easily! I carry around a glass or BPA-free water bottle and sip from it throughout the day. I like the ones that come with a little portable infuser—I stick some lemon and sometimes herbs in there to add flavor.”—Carina Wolff, healthy food blogger at Kale Me Maybe
4. Stop. Breathe. Repeat.
“When I start to feel stressed, I remind myself to slow down and take a deep breath. It enables me to bypass the fight or flight response, so I can respond instead of react. Give it a try: Slowly inhale and count to 20 in your head. Exhale and repeat the process until you feel yourself return to a balanced state. This simple breathing exercise helps me re-center myself before a big moment or meeting. It’s like a quick timeout in the middle of the day, no matter where you are.”—Khajak Keledjian, founder and CEO of Inscape, a meditation studio and app
Reach for a healthy snack.
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5. Squeeze in a mini workout.
“When time is tight, try this 10-minute AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible) workout. Keep the clock running and move at your own high-intensity pace, doing as many reps and rounds of this sequence as possible until the time is up: 30 jumping lunges, 20 crunches, 15 air squats, 10 push-ups, 5 triceps dips, repeat.”—Arndt
6. Stash something sweet.
“I always carry dark chocolate—70 percent cocoa or higher with no or limited sugar—in my purse. It helps ward off afternoon sugar and coffee cravings and boosts my energy. If dark chocolate alone isn’t doing the trick to satisfy a sweet craving, I stick a little square into a date. It makes it sweeter, but I don’t feel bad for eating refined sugar! It’s like a mini dessert.”—Wolff
7. Use scents for stress relief.
Photographed by Jessica Cain “I keep calming essential oils like lavender or geranium in my work space to keep me feeling centered and calm even on the craziest days. I love using a chamomile lotion when I’m stressed too—it hydrates my skin and relaxes my mind while I’m stuck working at my desk most of the day.”—Danielle Cuccio, a private yoga instructor and founder and CEO of Cuccio Somatology
8. Set a step count PR.
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“I walk everywhere—to meetings, to workout studios, to meet friends, to grab lunch—instead of taking a cab or public transportation, regardless of whether I have worked out that day or not. I love being able to get the fresh air and the steps in—even if it is just 10 minutes. It makes me feel good and really changes my mindset on how I feel about myself and the choices I make for the rest of the day.”—Blair Flynn, a yoga teacher and healthy food blogger at Balance with B