This blog is for busy professionals who are too exhausted for self-care, or at least that’s what they tell themselves. If you’re feeling depleted and fatigued, you may feel like you don’t have time to take care of yourself. In this blog, I will share some tips to help you with this.
Prioritize Restorative Sleep
For most of my clients, one of their goals is to release excess fat. However, it’s important to note that you cannot release fat when you’re not getting sufficient amounts of sleep. Ideally, we should be getting seven to nine hours of sleep each night. If we don’t get enough sleep, our body can stay in a stress response mode, which prevents it from repairing, regenerating, and releasing that excess fat. In addition, when our body is under high stress, it produces high levels of cortisol, which in turn leads to increased insulin levels in the bloodstream. This ultimately results in high sugar levels in the body due to stress.
In the past, when we experienced stress, our body would respond as if there was a threat, such as a bear or lion chasing us. This response is known as the “fight or flight” response. Our body would release hormones and increase our heart rate and breathing to prepare us to escape the danger. To do this, our muscles need sugar, which fuels them with the energy they need to help us run away and protect our life.
So, when we’re stressed, sugar is released in our body. This triggers the release of insulin because our body needs to be fueled to run or fight in such situations. As a result, we experience high blood sugar levels. However, during times of high stress, our brain doesn’t understand that we’re not being chased by a lion.
It’s important to prioritize getting restful sleep, especially when many of us are living in a chronic state of stress. Having proper sleep hygiene can dramatically improve your energy levels. This includes consistent sleep schedules and avoiding social jet lag. You should maintain the same sleep and wake times consistently, even on the weekends. To improve your sleep quality, you should reduce screen time before bed and create a peaceful environment conducive to rest. The benefit of doing this is not only feeling rested, but also improving metabolic health, which supports fat release. To establish a regular bedtime, limit your exposure to blue light from screens at least an hour before bed, invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows, and keep your bedroom cool.
One of the interesting findings in my research is that to have restful sleep, our body needs to be cool, but our feet need to be warm. Typically, the temperature range for a good sleep is 68 to 70 degrees. Wearing socks can help keep your feet warm and aid in achieving a deep and restful sleep.
Embrace Mindful Eating
I’ve discovered that raw food meal prep is truly something special. Why? Because when you take the time to prepare your own food, it becomes a way to reconnect with yourself. It’s an opportunity to step away from the relentless hustle of working full-time, juggling another job or managing a private practice, and chasing various career goals. Don’t get me wrong—it’s wonderful to be ambitious and to strive for success. But there’s something incredibly grounding about coming back to the basics of nourishing your body with food you’ve prepared with your own hands.
Grab the Bag, but at What Cost?
This relentless grind-till-you-die mentality is exactly what’s draining our energy. It’s crucial to step away from that. I want to share something that’s been a real eye-opener for me: “Rest is Resistance: A Manifesto” by Tricia Hersey and “The Rest Deck,” which includes 50 practices to resist grind culture. If you’re feeling too spent to take care of yourself, it’s as if we’re voluntarily enslaving ourselves.
As a Black woman with Caribbean roots—my parents hail from Jamaica—I feel deeply passionate about this issue. My ancestors faced unimaginable hardships; enslaved Africans in Jamaica endured some of the harshest treatments for the sake of capitalism, benefiting others at their own expense. Fast forward to today, and it seems we’re subjecting ourselves still to brutal labor (working ourselves into exhaustion) for what we believe is our own gain. But what do we truly gain?
If you’re so focused on chasing money that you neglect to nourish yourself properly, what’s the point, even if you do end up ‘getting the bag’? We’ve seen too many stories of Black men—rappers, actors—passing away prematurely from preventable health issues like heart attacks, strokes, and type 2 diabetes. It’s not just the food; it’s our entire lifestyle that’s at fault. We’ve been conditioned for centuries to neglect our well-being and measure our worth solely by our productivity.
But remember, we’re much more than what we produce. When your time comes, what will you cherish more: the wealth you’ve accumulated or the memories with loved ones? I want you to experience the latter without the shadow of health issues caused by a lifetime of stress and neglect.
Mindful eating goes beyond just taking your time with food. It’s about preparing your meals thoughtfully, choosing foods that are healthy and nourishing. My mom noticed that eating raw foods means she has to chew more, so she says it is taking her longer to eat. That’s ok. It is ok to take time out to eat. Literally people protested and fought to get the legal right for a lunch break for workers. Now we forgo this in the name of ambition. What does it say about us?
When you hear about people battling illnesses like cancer, facing enormous medical bills, it’s clear: the system doesn’t prioritize our health. It’s up to us.
So, while I’m not saying to give up on your goals, it’s vital to maintain perspective. If we’re working ourselves to the bone, what was the point of our ancestors’ struggle for freedom and liberation? Let’s honor their fight by taking care of ourselves, prioritizing our health, and embracing practices like mindful eating to live a more balanced, fulfilling life.
I know many of you are so swamped with work and other commitments that squeezing in an exercise routine seems nearly impossible. You’re clocking in long hours at work, often staying beyond when you’re supposed to leave. If this sounds like your life, I’ve got a tip for you, especially if you’re an iPhone user. Dive into the fitness app and start using the tracker with the goal of closing the circle every day. This simply means getting up and moving around—whether it’s walking to work, to your car, or just around the office to chat with colleagues.
Think about how much you walk daily and look for opportunities to increase it, aiming to close that circle each day. This small goal can make a significant difference. Once you start doing it regularly, your body will begin to crave more movement, and you’ll find yourself naturally progressing towards any other fitness goals you have.
Don’t have an iPhone? No problem. A pedometer or a Fitbit can be just as effective. Set a goal for yourself, maybe start with 9,000 steps a day and aim to hit 10,000. Try incorporating a 30-minute walk into your morning or evening routine. It doesn’t have to be intense; the key is consistency. Once you get into the habit, your body will look forward to it, and you’ll be building a foundation for more challenging workouts down the line. Let your body be your guide and your greatest motivator in this journey.
Optimize Your Environment
Your environment plays a pivotal role in your health journey. By optimizing your living and working spaces to encourage healthy choices, you can experience effortless weight loss. Make it a point to keep fresh fruit and vegetables in plain sight. Having fruits readily available on your kitchen island or somewhere visible, and keeping vegetables stocked in your fridge, can make a world of difference.
I remember when I decided to invest in new exercise bras because the ones I had were starting to lose their elasticity. Buying a whole bunch of new workout gear really motivated me. I couldn’t just let those beautiful, new items go to waste—I was compelled to use them. This is a classic example of setting yourself up for success. I also invested in adjustable dumbbells, allowing me to modify the weight as I progress in my fitness journey, ensuring continuous improvement.
Consider getting that juicer, food processor, or mandolin slicer you’ve been eyeing to make food prep more fun and manageable. And let’s talk about blenders for a moment. Yes, a Vitamix blender can be pricey, but you’re investing in quality, especially with its powerful motor that ensures smooth textures. There are also refurbished models available if cost is a concern. The key is to keep these tools accessible, like visible on the counter—they’ll serve as constant reminders and motivators.
During my kitchen redesign a few years back, I included a little cubby for books. As a book lover, having recipe books readily available makes sense and fit me and my personality perfectly. I think this can be a game-changer for you. It’s incredibly motivating to have healthy recipe books staring back at you every time you’re in the kitchen, nudging you towards your health goals. Even if you’re pressed for time, on the days when you do have a moment to spare, those books will be there, encouraging you to make choices that align with your journey.
Your environment can either propel you towards your goals or pull you away from them. So take a moment to consider how you can optimize your surroundings to support your health ambitions.
Simplify Your Wardrobe
When it comes to adopting a healthy lifestyle, decision fatigue is a real obstacle. It leaves us so drained that the thought of meal prep or exercising feels overwhelming because our brains are simply too tired. A straightforward strategy to combat this is by simplifying your life, starting with your wardrobe. Opting for a minimalist wardrobe can make a huge difference.
Here’s how to begin: select a color scheme that allows you to mix and match pieces effortlessly. By this point in your life, you likely know what styles and types of clothing you prefer. This knowledge enables you to just grab an outfit and go without spending extra mental energy on your daily choices.
I remember reading years ago about Mark Zuckerberg and his approach to clothing. He had numerous shirts of the same style and color, simplifying his daily routine significantly. I’ve adopted a similar system. I have designated sections in my closet for what I wear daily, minimizing the time and energy spent on choosing outfits.
By reducing the number of decisions you need to make each day, you free up mental space and energy. This simplification can make it significantly easier to prioritize self-care, including meal prep and exercise, by reducing overall decision fatigue.
Schedule Self-Care Appointments
Meal prepping and working out are not just activities; they are commitments to yourself. It’s crucial to block off time on your calendar for these activities. You don’t necessarily have to schedule them at the start of each week, but once you’ve decided they are important for achieving your health goals, make sure to carve out specific times for them. Think of these moments as dates with yourself. If you can show up on time and consistently for your boss or your clients, then you owe yourself the same level of respect and commitment. This isn’t just about scheduling; it’s about valuing yourself, your self-worth, and your life energy.
That’s why I’m a big advocate for having a spiritual practice. Our bodies and our health are gifts from God, blessings that we should not take for granted. Disrespecting this gift doesn’t lead to more gifts. Remember, we only have one body to live this life, our sole vehicle for this life experience. Making it a priority to take care of this body is essential.
Something as simple as setting aside time on your calendar for workouts and meal prep, making it a recurring appointment, and honoring that time as you would any important meeting can make all the difference. This practice is about honoring your body and your health, ensuring that you’re giving yourself the respect and attention you deserve.
Utilize Technology for Accountability
Staying on track with your health goals can indeed be a challenge, especially when you’re trying to do it solo. Thankfully, technology and community support can make a huge difference. For instance, fitness trackers and social media groups offer a way to keep yourself accountable. We even have a free group called the Raw Food Health Empowerment Circle, which can be incredibly supportive.
While I offer coaching services, I understand that not everyone is ready to invest in a premium coaching experience. It’s not just about the cost but also about being ready for the one-on-one interaction and facing the reality of what you’ve accomplished and what you’ve yet to achieve. Some people might not be ready for that level of introspection because they often prioritize other things over their own well-being, usually out of fear of loss, believing they must sacrifice themselves. However, I hope you’ll come to see that this is a no-win situation—a narrative pushed by those in power to make us believe we have no other choice.
Sacrificing yourself is a losing battle. You’re not just risking your health; you’re also hindering your ability to progress in your career or personal goals. Your brain needs proper nutrition and blood flow to function optimally. Ignoring your health now can have expensive repercussions later. That’s the core message of my book, “You Can Afford to Be Healthy,” because the cost of being sick is far higher than most people realize.
Chronic diseases, especially in the Black community, are draining our financial resources and hindering the building of generational wealth. Many of these diseases are preventable with affordable, healthy lifestyle strategies. Sharing your goals and progress within a supportive community like the Raw Food Health Empowerment Circle can be incredibly motivating and provide you with valuable advice.
Connecting with a community that shares your health-focused goals can significantly impact your progress. We often mirror those we spend the most time with, so if you’re feeling drained, it might be time to reflect on your social circle. Are they contributing to your sense of well-being or detracting from it?
Now that you’re armed with these transformative health tips that don’t require heavy lifting, we’re eager to hear from you! Which strategies resonate with you? Do you have any no-effort health hacks to share, or perhaps some initial thoughts on incorporating these practices into your daily routine?
Drop your comments below and let’s kickstart a conversation on making self-care effortless and enjoyable. Your journey towards a healthier, more energized self starts with these simple steps, and we’re here to support each other every step of the way.