That 9am deadline means you’re going to be up all night. With only three hours of sleep after last night’s party, your body’s already giving you warning signals.
That faint, feverish feeling adds to the stress and you find it difficult to concentrate on what your colleague is saying. There’s also the news of your colleague’s heart attack that fuelling your fear that you might be next in line.
Work, stress and late lights have woven their way into our lives. There’s no way you can put your foot down on a nine-hour workday and you can’t get out of having a drink or two at the office party, even though you know it’s not the best thing for you.
But if you’re still worried about your health and what this work, stress, junk food and alcohol may be doing to your system, you have won half the battle, say doctors.
Awareness, say experts, is the first step to keeping yourself healthy and fit.
But even though you know the dangers of your lifestyle, there’s not much you can do, right? Wrong. There a few small adjustments that will take you a surprisingly long way, making you feel healthier and more confident. You won’t even have to take time off to fit these alterations into your schedule.
A healthy beginning is the best way to begin. “You should sleep for at least seven hours,” says psychologist Seema Hingorrany.
If you slept late the previous night, make sure you get your six to seven hours of rest. “Even if that means having to turn off your phone, you need to do it.”
And not just your phone, you have to switch off completely and give your body time to renew its cells. And when you sleep, you have to sleep well, says Dr Siddharth Dagli, cardiologist.
Breakfast, the meal most of us have no time for, is the most important meal of the day. Make sure you eat well and eat to your heart’s content. “Breakfast should be the heaviest meal of the day,” adds Dr Dagli. As the day progresses, you should consciously reduce the amount of food you take in – have breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.
“About 40 per cent or more of your daily intake of food should be at breakfast, 30 per cent at lunch and 30 per cent or less at dinner,” says Dr Sanjeev Mehta, chest physician.
Fit and happy
Exercise is the most important thing that you should incorporate in your lifestyle. That you have no time is not a good enough excuse.
“Even the president of the USA finds time to play tennis every day,” says Dr Dagli. “Whether you exercise for one hour in a day or you space out the workout to five times a day, you have to really sweat it out.”
Find an activity that you like – whether it’s a workout at the gym, swimming, running or tennis, enjoying what you do will motivate you.
You might find it difficult to shut your mind off all the deadlines, but here’s something that will help keep you disciplined: Meditation. “Spend that 15-minute break at work meditating or doing breathing exercises instead of surfing through your email or cellphone,” advises Dr Hingorrany.
It will help you detach yourself from domestic issues when you set out for work and from work when you leave for the day. Meditating will help keep your mind disciplined and will also help you sleep soundly at night, says Dr Dagli. “The best way to avoid stress,” says Dr Mehta, “is by setting your targets and not losing sight of your schedule.”
Have fun too
All work and no play? Start enjoying the parties you go for. Even if it’s a regular office do, or your spouse’s cousin’s anniversary, have fun at the party.
That is not to say that you go all out and binge on food and alcohol. A drink or two is healthy and wise. In fact, some studies show that a glass of wine or a peg of whiskey can be healthy and helps you relax.
“Drink slowly when you know it’s going to be a long night,” advises Dr Dagli.
Along with too much alcohol, avoid fried food, adds Dr Mehta. If you’re trying to lose weight, avoid falling for fad diets. “They’re difficult to sustain in the long run,” he says.
“A regular balanced diet works just as well.” If you’ve got erratic meal timings, try eating smaller meals more frequently, and don’t eat too late.