How I maintain my fitness routine during times of stress…and why it helps

When I’m working overtime, I try not to give up my exercise schedule. Just like I need my morning coffee, I need the energy boost from my workout.

Here’s how I manage to fit my routine in:

Don’t cancel scheduled workouts: If I know I always go to yoga on Tuesdays, it’s more likely to happen even when life is crazy. I don’t make new commitments, like signing up for five new fitness classes. But I show up most of the time for the activities in my regular schedule. It’s easier to keep up a schedule than to try to re-establish it after being inactive for a while.  

Do what you can: Last winter, I was so busy with work and the holidays that there were days I didn’t have the time or energy to do my normal workouts. Instead, I would take a walk over lunch or do a ten-minute video on PopSugar Fitness. These activity bursts helped me stay focused on all the things I needed to do.

Bribe yourself: During that busy time, sometimes I needed an extra push. I’d promise myself that if I got off the subway a stop early to walk, I’d get a latte or that gossip magazine I rarely read. I didn’t need those extra 200 calories, but they motivated me to do my normal five workouts that week. Give yourself the occasional small treat to keep you motivated. 

Figure out what you don’t have to do: On an otherwise bleak domestic résumé, I excel at doing laundry. On Saturdays, I separate colors from whites and fold t-shirts into neat squares.  If I’m overwhelmed, it’s better to let the laundry slide than my health. My family is not going to go naked if I skip laundry for a week so I have time to exercise instead. Consider what you can give up for now to give yourself extra time.

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