We get it; you’re busy. You don’t have to hit the gym every day, count every fruit and vegetable serving, start juicing, run a marathon, or any of the other million things it seems to take in order to be healthy.
There are more realistic ways for legal professionals to maintain health. And healthy habits have to be realistic for us, don’t they? Otherwise, they’re pointless.
The healthy habits we’re going to talk about today are quick, easy, and realistic for even the busiest legal professional.
In our view, you should never skip these nine habits, no matter how busy you are. They’re practical, doable, and undoubtedly impactful.
Don’t believe us?
Make them a priority for 90 days and then tell us how you feel.
#1: Movement – not necessarily exercise
Before you do the eye roll, hear us out.
Legal professionals are famous for being chained to their desks. It’s no wonder; there’s not a judge in history who excused a late brief because the filing attorney needed to get a cardio workout in.
You don’t need to do a formal workout every day, but you do need to move.
In fact, many health experts suggest that sitting is the new smoking. Don’t fall into the trap.
Get up and walk when your watch tells you to.
Use the stairs.
Park farther away.
Take a morning or a lunchtime walk.
Swap out sedentary hobbies like video games or social media for things like tennis, dancing, or golf (but skip the cart). Whatever you do, just move.
#2: Eat healthier for you
The old adage is true: “You are what you eat.”
Food impacts everything about us, including our weight, our moods, and even our ability to concentrate.
With that in mind, ask yourself: Do you want to be made of chemical-laden fast food or of wholesome things like plants that contain good nutrients?
Food changes don’t have to be hard and, trust us, any positive change is a good change.
Try things like selecting healthier menu items from your regular restaurants or cooking real food once or twice a week.
Aim to eat differently-colored vegetables with every meal (e.g., beets, lettuce, and carrots).
If you’re too busy to shop, sign up for a nutritious meal prep service or download an app that gives you easy-to-grab meal ideas. Good foods are out there, you just have to choose them.
#3: Don’t skip your check-ups and exams
Adopting healthy habits really is as easy as paying attention to sayings that have been around for hundreds of years. Here’s another one: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
While everyone knows that things like dental exams and well-woman exams should be scheduled yearly, other preventative tests and treatments become more important as we age.
Mammograms, for example, are important for women over 40. Colonoscopies are important for everyone over the age of 45. Men over 55 should have regular PSA tests (earlier if certain risk factors are present).
Don’t know which preventative tests are right for you? No problem! Schedule a yearly physical with your primary care provider and ask her which tests you need to have.
Did you know that in order to achieve optimal health, adults need seven or more hours of sleep every night?
The problem is, legal professionals tend to have a lot of stress, and stress can impair sleep habits.
Take matters into your own hands.
Learn about the fool-proof tips for falling and staying asleep. Here’s a hint: following things on this list like exercise and a good diet will help with your sleep.
Some of you are going to laugh at me, and I don’t care. Practicing ergonomics is good for your health.
For those of you not in the know, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines ergonomics as “an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely.”
In other words, your chair can increase your health if it is comfortable, fits your body, and allows you to sit with good posture without working too hard. Your desk can keep you healthy if you can see your monitor without eye strain and you don’t have to bend your wrists to reach your keyboard.
These simple things actually decrease the risk of injuries from repetitive activities and constant, low-level strain.
And the good news is, figuring out your office ergonomics is entirely intuitive. Just ask yourself what feels good and do that.
#6: Mind your mental health
By now we all know that good mental health can protect your physical health.
Depression, for example, can lead to chronic illnesses. Stress and anxiety can lead to heart attacks and strokes. The list goes on.
Fortunately, there are several simple habits you can adopt to improve your mental health. Among them are things like keeping a gratitude journal, laughing more, and allowing time to express love to the people who are important to you.
It literally couldn’t be easier to make these wonderful activities into a habit. This one is probably the most pleasant item on the list.
#7: Limit the bad stuff
Look, we all know that certain things we may enjoy just aren’t good for us.
Yet, as legal professionals, we tend to turn to these vices as a way to manage stress. That’s not the best idea.
Did you know that people who cut or quit these vices live an average of 12-14 years longer than those who overindulge? That may not seem like a big deal if you’re in your 20s, but trust me when I tell you it gains importance as you age.
Quite simply, water is great for your health. It can help your moods, fight off headaches, battle joint pain, and keep your organs running smoothly.
And there’s literally nothing easier than drinking a glass of water or eating a water-soaked food like celery.
We’re not going to belabor this point. Just go have a glass of water, won’t you?
#9: Practice sun safety
Take it from someone who looks like she’s got a shark bite out of her arm from having a skin cancer removed; unabashed exposure to the sun can hurt you.
Sure, the sun provides light and energy and critical Vitamin D. That said, it can also be very dangerous to your health.
Nonetheless, preventing harm from the sun is easy.
Apply sunscreen regularly. Wear a hat. Sit in the shade. Avoid tanning beds. Wear lip balm with SPF. Each of these tiny steps can go a long way to keeping you healthy.
The secret to starting your new habits
See? We didn’t lie to you. Each of these nine tips is super easy to implement yet each one can prolong your life.
However, it may seem daunting to adopt 9 new habits all at once.
You absolutely should do all of the things on this list, but it’s a good idea to adopt one new habit at a time. Bookmark this article so you can come back when you’re ready to start the next habit and get a little healthier.