For entrepreneurs and start-up founders putting in as many hours in their work as possible has become a normal culture. Even 9-to-5ers put in extra hours just to get the promotion sooner. Everyone has started focusing solely on moving forward in their careers and will sacrifice anything for it. It is a good thing but not when it costs everything: your health, your life, your relationships.
Let’s focus on the health aspect today. Let’s say you work non stop- no time to eat or sleep. Your body gets tired, doesn’t get proper nutrition, falls sick, and then you stop working and spend all that you have earned in getting back in shape. Is it worth it?
We work until we feel total burn out. My question to you is how logical do you think it is? Why not do what we can to take care of ourselves and not fall into the predicament that many young, ambitious people are falling into. As important it is to work toward our dreams, it is equally important to keep ourselves in shape so that we can work toward our dreams.
I get it. You don’t have time to cook meals, so you resort to takeouts or packaged fried junk. They might be quick fixes, but processed food, fried food, and everyday takeouts will take their toll on your body. One solution to that is batch cooking.
When you have no time to cook during the week, batch cooking is the best way to ensure that you have healthy food and always have something to eat. All you have to do is take some time out of your weekend to make sure you eat well for the week. Just imagine the amount of stress regarding the food you will forego and how much time and energy you will save overall.
What exactly is batch cooking?
Batch cooking means preparing or cooking larger portions of a variety of dishes that can be mixed and matched to create different meals throughout the week. Most people do it on Sundays to prepare for the week. Some people like to break it down and do this on Sundays and Wednesdays so that they can get more variety.
All you have to do each day is pull out the meal out of your refrigerator and heat it or maybe if it is something that you can just grab and go then more props to you. You will be thankful to your weekend self for taking a few hours out to save so many hours and headaches throughout the week, and your stomach will be thankful for not getting the onslaught of junk food and cheap takeaways.
How to go about batch cooking
- Plan out your meals for the entire week – Decide the meals that you want to home cook. If you are starting out, maybe plan only dinners and then see how it goes or you can go the whole mile and plan all the three meals on the weekend and prepare them. That is actually the best thing to do. It can get too much for beginners though, so start out with one meal. If you are planning for lunch then maybe you would want to focus on something that you can just grab and go because lunch hours can be short for most of us. For dinners, you can have something that can have all its prep done already, and all you have to do is put it together, it will give you the feeling of cooking a quick meal but not the time-consuming process of putting everything together.
- Make a grocery shopping list – Now that you have a plan of what you are going to be cooking, you need to list out all the ingredients that you need. Cross check it with what you have at home and then head out to stock up on the remaining things you need.
- Grocery shopping – Saturdays and Sundays are usually the busy days at the grocery stores because everyone heads out to get their shopping done so plan accordingly. If you have a farmers market nearby head over there to get fresh produce or your good old grocery stores, general stores, departmental stores will do – stock up on anything that will help you make a quick snack and also help your dish better.
- Prep – Once you are done gathering the ingredients, start prepping. This is also a great time to catch up on all the podcasts you have been meaning to listen to or the audiobook that you keep putting away. Maybe just songs or the show that you have wanted to binge watch? Wash, chop, cook, boil, bake – whatever your dish entails. Make sure to work on recipes that can be reheated (soups, veggies, lentils, beans) or can be eaten cold (salads).
- Store – Now that your dishes are prepared. Pack them in airtight containers and refrigerate them so that they are good to go throughout the week.
Batch cooking has a lot of advantages. The only disadvantage is that you have to dedicate some part of your weekend to cooking, but that is nothing when you look at the advantages. You bulk produce, so you use less energy, and bulk buying ingredients also saves money.
You have to head out to the grocery store only one time a week. You don’t have to spend tons of money on restaurants and takeouts. You don’t have to cook every day, nor do you have to worry about what to eat. You eat healthy so you can mark that off your list of things to do.
You can also work on your health goals and diets because diets require a little planning, which usually puts us off. You can do something or do nothing with the time you save every day with the meal plan in place.
You must have heard that “Modern problems require modern solutions.” This is the solution to everyone being too busy. It’s a win-win!
Practicing Shinrin-Yoku (Forest Therapy) to Become More Healthy and Productive
Have you heard of the new lifestyle practice called Shinrin-Yoku? Translated into English as ‘forest bathing’ or ‘forest therapy’, Shinrin-Yoku was invented in Japan in the early 1980s. The practice was proposed by the government as a means to help people relax their minds and improve mental health.
Though the name includes the term bathing, Shinrin-Yoku mostly involves walking in a forested area. That’s it. There’s no specific intention required for the walk. All you have to do is to keep walking slowly while taking into the senses the environment around you, like the sights, smells and sounds.
Benefits Of Shinrin-Yoku
Forest bathing is said to offer a number of benefits ranging from reduced blood pressure to increased attention span in children with ADHD. Below, we look at five such benefits of Shinrin-Yoku.
Decreased Blood Pressure
If you have issues with varying blood pressure, then a little forest bathing is what you need. It has been discovered that just looking at trees for a few moments has a positive effect on a person’s health, helping them calm down and lower blood pressure.
In addition, the two stress-related hormones, adrenaline, and cortisol, are observed to reduce from such activities. Frequent trips to forested areas also minimize a person’s state of confusion, depression, and anxiety.
Boost Immune System
As protection from insects, plants emit a chemical called phytoncides, which has antifungal and antibacterial properties. In a densely forested region, the environment will be permeated by these. As such, if you pass through such a space or spend a good deal of time there, you will inhale these chemicals.
As a reaction, the body will start producing a certain kind of white blood cells, called the Natural killer (NK) cells, which has the ability to kill viruses and cancer infected cells in your body. It is estimated that just 2 nights of Shinrin-Yoku is sufficient for about 30 days of increased NK activity in the body.
If you are recovering from an illness, then a short walk in a forested region can definitely do some good. People in a hospital usually suffer from multiple emotional issues including fear, stress, anxiety, and so on.
This can slow down the recovery process. Just having a green view of the outside is sufficient enough to cause fewer postsurgical complications, while lowering the reliance on painkillers. And if you are capable of going out to a nearby park, then all the better.
Children With ADHD
Another group that can significantly benefit from Shinrin-Yoku are children who suffer from issues like ADHD and similar problems. Usually, such children have very low attention spans and are unable to learn anything properly.
However, spending time amidst natural greenery has been seen to mitigate such issues to a good extent. As such, forest bathing should definitely be on your to-do list if you have a child with ADHD.
Have you ever felt stuck in life, unable to ignite creativity? If yes, forest bathing is highly recommended. This activity is said to free up mind, and open it up to newer possibilities. As such, you might suddenly get a spark of inspiration right in the middle of a trail.
Plus, the reduced stress levels also help in clearing the mind from unwanted thoughts, allowing creative ideas to come forth more easily, as well as negative thoughts to flow out.
Many research reports have come out that validate the benefits offered by Shinrin-Yoku. A 2010 study conducted in the Chiba Prefecture in Japan enlisted a few test subjects, asking them to walk 20 minutes in a forest park.
The researchers found that the subjects had experienced lower stress levels when they were in the forest. In addition, their hemoglobin count was also lower. The forest mainly consisted of Oak trees.
Another study published in 2011 looked at the effects of forest bathing on the human body. They compared the results of walking in a city and walking in a forest and found that the latter helped reduce blood pressure to a good extent.
In addition, dopamine levels were also observed to have decreased from forest bathing.
Tips To Keep In Mind When Doing Shinrin-Yoku
There are no strict rules for practicing Shinrin-Yoku. After all, the only thing you have to do is to enter a forest and walk through it. However, if you follow the tips below, then you will definitely have a better experience.
- Remember that this is not a hike. You don’t have to walk fast towards some goal. There is no goal. Just relax and walk anywhere you want. Use all your senses while walking through the forest, whether it is sight, smell, touch, or hearing.
- Do not take your smartphone, camera, or any other such devices with you for the walk. Leave all gadgets behind. Since the goal of the walk is to concentrate on yourself and the environment, these devices act as an unnecessary distraction.
- If you are going in a group, keep conversations to a minimum. Better still, don’t talk at all. At least for the few minutes, you spend for the walk, remain silent and learn to savor the silence. And then after you’re done with the walk, you can consider talking to the other members of the group.
- If you find a location to sit for a few minutes, then go for it. Close your eyes and meditate with deep breaths. Similarly, if something gets your attention, stop and watch it closely until you are satisfied with it. Remember – there is no hurry.
- Take your most comfortable shoes for the Shinrin-Yoku. It should not be too light that pebbles and other rocks discomfort your feet. Nor should it have too thick a base that the entire shoe feels heavy.
So, if you have been feeling mentally stressed out lately, try to take some time off from work and head over to the nearest forest for a few hours. Walkthrough the trees, absorbing the fresh air, feeling everything around you, and you will definitely feel refreshed and more energetic.
If you are not sure whether you can do the Shinrin-Yoku properly by yourself, consider getting in contact with a forest bathing guide, and they will definitely help you get the best experience from the walk.
25 Motivational Health Quotes to Inspire You
While health should be our priority, it sadly isn’t for most of us. Under the umbrella of working hard, everything related to not caring for ourselves becomes okay. Skipping breakfast because we are running late or not exercising because we are working becomes valid. We always think that we will start working on ourselves after we finish achieving our dream. It doesn’t work like that. Like our dreams and skills are a work in progress, so is our body and health.
For your body to continue working, it is important to work on it. If you don’t invest in your body, you won’t get the returns for long. If you don’t have health, anything else you have, loses its luster and it becomes difficult to enjoy things that you worked hard to achieve. No matter how busy you are, you need to make yourself a priority and work on yourself.
Here are some motivational quotes that show you how important your health is. These are from people that most of us look up to and people who have achieved great things. You can have everything in life, but if you don’t have good health, you have nothing.
1.“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.”
2. “A fit, healthy body—that is the best fashion statement” -Jess C Scott
3. “To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” -Buddha
4. “Three things in life – your health, your mission, and the people you love. That’s it.” -Naval Ravikant
5. “Those who think they have no time for healthy eating will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” -Edward Stanley
6. “You can’t enjoy wealth if you’re not in good health.”
7. “Keep your vitality. A life without health is like a river without water.” -Maxime Lagacé
8. “Your health is what you make of it. Everything you do and think either adds to the vitality, energy and spirit you possess or takes away from it.” -Ann Wigmore
9. “If you’re too busy to workout, your priorities need to change. I can’t think of too many things more important than your health.” -Rolsey
10. “I believe that the greatest gift you can give your family and the world is a healthy you.” -Joyce Meyer
11. “Moderation. Small helpings. Sample a little bit of everything. These are the secrets of happiness and good health.”
12. “It is exercise alone that supports the spirits, and keeps the mind in vigor.” -Marcus Tullius Cicero
13. “Our health is something we often take for granted. But, there are some things in life that should never be taken for granted. Take care of yourself.” -Catherine Pulsifer
14. “Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos – the trees, the clouds, everything.” -Thich Nhat Hanh
15. “Life is like a tree and its root is consciousness. Therefore, once we tend the root, the tree as a whole will be healthy.” -Deepak Chopra
16. “I have chosen to be happy because it is good for my health.”
17. “Your body will be around a lot longer than that expensive handbag. Invest in yourself.” -Anonymous
18. “When a man is ill his very goodness is sickly.” -Friedrich Nietzsche
19. “There is one consolation in being sick; and that is the possibility that you may recover to a better state than you were ever in before.” -Henry David Thoreau
20. “The body loves routine. Try to eat, sleep, and so on at the same times every day in order for the body to function at its optimum efficiency. The body loves consistency.” -Theresa Hearn Haynes
21. “Our bodies are our gardens – our wills are our gardeners.”
22. “When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.” -Ayurvedic Proverb
23. “The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not.” -Mark Twain
24. “Sufficient sleep, exercise, healthy food, friendship, and peace of mind are necessities, not luxuries.” -Mark Halperin
25. “Leave all the afternoon for exercise and recreation, which are as necessary as reading. I will rather say more necessary because health is worth more than learning.” -Thomas Jefferson
How To Find Motivation For Running
Running is one of the most pleasurable activities you can do. Along with making you feel super good, it also keeps your weight in check and takes care of your overall health. I hear so many stories of people whose lives changed since they started running and became a part of the running community.
However, it is not easy to put your shoes on and head out for a run each morning you wake up. It requires immense discipline and motivation for running on a consistent basis. This is why people try to find motivation for running by doing things like joining a runner’s group or wearing advanced gadgets that push them to do well.
Here are 5 things you can do to find motivation for running. I have personally tried all of these so there is no risk in considering trying them yourself.
1. Get running-specific clothes and shoes
For most people, running is not a one-time thing. Rather, it is a permanent part of their life which they want to cherish and share with others in their life. If you are planning to make running a part of your daily routine, you should consider investing in quality running clothes and shoes.
Running gear is usually not that expensive so even occasional runners can easily afford it. Running clothes are usually made from a synthetic material that dries up very quickly and is super lightweight. However, you should buy them depending on the weather conditions in the place where you stay. I have seen people running wearing a tracksuit too.
However, you should not play around with the footwear you wear during running. Ill-fitted and worn out shoes can cause serious damage to the soft tissues in your feet. Most running injuries are difficult to heal and cause permanent damage to your ankle, knee, or hip region. So, buy shoes that are specifically made for running and also don’t forget to replace them every 4-6 months if you run regularly.
2. Use a running app to track your runs
Although running is a pleasurable activity for most of us, it’s important to keep track of your runs using an app. A running app is for people who are new to running and want to measure their progress. There are more sophisticated pieces of equipment available to help you do the same thing and I will discuss them in one of the next sections.
Endomondo is my personal favorite running app and its freemium version is good enough for me. It allows me to share my running accomplishment with other runners in my area. You can also take selfies and share it mid-run. This provides others all the motivation they need for running.
3. Join a local runner’s group
Every city has a runner’s group on social media sites like Facebook and Meetup. Along with providing motivation for running, these fellow runner’s can also become your good friends. Who doesn’t like people with the same interests? Moreover, most of these groups are newbie-friendly and non-profit.
So, all you have to do is provide positive energy and motivation for running to others in the group. You also get advice and guidance from expert runners without needing to hire a running coach. However, if you are one of those people who prefer to run solo, then you could use these groups occasionally. Solo running is also great as it helps you build self-reliance and self-confidence.
4. Get some music
A Brazilian study says listening to music improves performance and recovery during running a mini-marathon. In this study, researchers studied the effect of different forms of music on 15 well-trained male long-distance runners after conducting psychological assessments before and after the athletes ran while listening to music.
They concluded that, listening to music while running activates the prefrontal cortex area, numbs the feeling of pain and accelerates recovery. This research paper is a must read for people seeking motivation for running. Music can make you feel the right kind of emotions in a quick and effortless way. By making such a small change you can improve your performance by 30-40 percent.
5. Wear a running watch
A running watch is mostly used by professional runners for whom running is a career and not just a sport. However, there is nothing stopping you from getting one of these for helping you out with running. These watches provide vital information which is key for improving your running speed, distance covered and stride length.
I have used a few running watches but, Garmin Forerunner 735XT is one of my favorite. I don’t worry about exhaustion or overtraining as it measures my heart rate and notifies me if I overstep my healthy boundaries. Moreover, I can also use it during other activities like cycling and swimming. So, it does a lot more than just provide me motivation for running.
To reiterate, running is one of the best habits that can enhance the quality of your fitness and life in general. You should definitely do everything in your means to find motivation for running. However, running also brings along with a lot of niggles and injuries. So, don’t forget to add some strength and conditioning workout to your routine.
“How does music aid 5 km of running? – NCBI.” Accessed May 31, 2019. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25029009.
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