Busy dads struggle to find the time for all the things they want to do each day. Let’s face it, kicking back in the evening to watch a movie or fire up the PS4 sounds like a pretty good way to wind down a hectic day. But we’re dads! And the truth is spending those last few minutes with your kids before they go to bed is the best (and most tiring) part of any day. Where does all of that leave you time for the rest of your life? When do you sit down and address your health? Unless you’ve had a health scare, you probably don’t.
This could be a mistake. After all, none of us is getting any younger. All of us, however, want to be in pretty fine form for the rest of our lives (and we want to keep up with the kids!) There needs to be a healthy balance of your attention and time that gives you the opportunities you need to take care of you. Here are just a few hints to help you fit it all in:
Exercise is much easier when it’s warm and dry, and the kids want you to play football in the garden. But how often does that actually happen? All of us should be exercising at least three times per week. This exercise needs to be a bit more active than a slow saunter through the park. So where can you find the time?
Fitting it into the rest of your day-to-day activities isn’t always practical. Sure, you can probably walk to the corner shop to pick up some more milk instead of driving. But to give your cardiovascular system the boost it needs, you need something more vigorous like jogging. Grab your kids and have a run together. Go round the track if it’s damp to avoid all the mud. This will help them become more active, and it shows you’re prioritising good health in your life too. They might run a bit slower, and not go as fast as you. Give them a few months, and you’ll be up to speed.
Indoor fitness is possible too. Try a workout vid that your kids can have fun with too. Why not head down to the sports centre and book a short tennis court, or have a swim? These are all things you can do with your kids, so it won’t cut into your quality time together.
It’s so tempting to vegetate in front of the screen with a big bag of crisps. Unfortunately, we might have reached the age where we can’t get away with that anymore. If the kids catch you, then it really doesn’t send out the right message to them either. If you need a slob-out session on the sofa, pick healthier options like unsweetened popcorn, nuts or dried fruits.
Do you ever try to give your favourite meals a health boost? Choose leaner meats (or trim the fat), and add extra vegetables wherever you can. You can still enjoy pizza if you make it at home with ingredients added from scratch. And homemade ice lollies made from frozen yoghurt is a perfect summer afternoon treat.
Don’t forget, you can always find ways to swap out the junk in the office. Bring in homemade flapjacks instead of hitting the Krispy Kremes. And why not have a bowl of fruit on your desk? Smells good, looks good, tastes good, and will satisfy any craving.
As we mature, the body starts to punish us for all those wild mistakes we made in our youth. If you’ve been prescribed anything to support your health, it’s really important that you stick with it. Yes, it’s a nuisance sorting out repeat prescriptions and waiting for the pharmacy to order your medicines in. Of course, you can order your NHS prescriptions online to save you that bother if you’re looking for ways to save time. It might be an easier way to help you to remember to order them too.
Some guys also use supplements to help with muscle tone and to increase the nutrients their bodies get. Don’t forget that some of these can clash in a bad way, especially with your prescription meds. Make sure you’re reading the labels and check that your doctor is aware of what else you’re taking. These can actually be really good ways to boost your health if you pick the right ones to try.
A healthy lifestyle is all about integrating healthy choices into everyday activities. Walk instead of drive whenever you can. If you’re struggling for time to do the things you love in life, find ways around it. You might hire someone to take on that DIY project you’re not feeling the love for. Or you might buy a robot vacuum so you can all have those extra minutes together each evening.
Getting more active in the day is another big part of a healthy lifestyle. Try a standing desk, and walk around the block at lunchtime. Book a massage to reduce your stress levels, and ensure you can integrate something you love doing with the things you’re not so keen on. Earbuds while you work or dancing while you dust might be good!
We’ve all worked weekends and overtime to get ahead in our careers. And most of us have taken on a second job or extra evening study to give ourselves the very best chance of promotion. But if your entire life is devoted to your work, you’re going to miss out on life! You’ll miss all the little moments (and some of the big ones) with your kids. You’ll lose that closeness with your better half. It’s not worth that sort of sacrifice.
Switch off your work phone at 5:30 and don’t read your emails until the morning. Allocate one hour on a Saturday to catch up with any genuine work emergencies. The rest of the time is for you and for your family. This can go a long way to reducing the risk of stress and arguments with your missus! Most importantly, it makes sure you have time to spend addressing your health.
Work stress can make you very ill. Mental health is a huge issue for many people. It is a lot more common than you may think. Very few people have medication for mental health issues, but that doesn’t mean the effects on their lives aren’t serious. Taking care of your mental health involves carefully balancing the different aspects of your life. It requires you to be more mindful of your feelings and responses so you can take a step back when you need to.
If you’re feeling angry or emotional, chances are things are getting on top of you. Take a day off work and address what’s going on. Draw up an action plan and talk to someone you trust. If you ignore it, things will get worse, and you’ll risk your most precious relationships.
Spend time with friends every week, and spend time on your own too. Taking care of you is about enjoying life as fully as you can. For that, you need to make sure you’re as healthy as you can be. Choose hobbies you can enjoy spending time on each week. Perhaps you can get your kids or your partner involved in them too? Visit friends and family to boost your social life. Read books in the bath while you soak a hard work day away. And sleep!