Eat. Sleep. Work. Repeat.
Sounds simple right, but when all routine has disappeared during the holiday season it can seem like those four words are an accomplishment achieved only by the high-flying, over-organised, “got-their-life-together” types. Don’t worry, because getting back into a healthy daily routine is an extremely common struggle – you are not alone.
Now that summer is coming to an end, people around the world are getting ready to go back to school, university, and work. Whilst this can mean the start of some exciting new chapters, it can also mean the end of a whirlwind summer living your best life in the sun. The sudden change from a relaxed, indulgent summer to a regimented, productive routine is a difficult adjustment.
For many, your summer routine arc looked a bit like this:
- Pre-Summer Routine – You probably had quite a good routine. In fact, you may have been working extra hard to meet strict fitness goals or work deadlines.
- Summer Holiday Routine – Summer holidays let you forget about it all whilst you ate and drank whatever you fancied, celebrating with friends with excessive amounts of unhealthy treats and little sleep.
- Post-Summer Routine – Now, you’re returning to commitments like university or work and feeling like you need a holiday from your holiday. You’re constantly tired , eating unhealthy snacks because it’s quick and helps the post-holiday blues, and you’ve forgotten what a deadlift is.
Returning to a structured lifestyle can be difficult, but how can you expect to study or work at your best when you are tired and your body isn’t fuelled with the right nutrition?
At Myvegan HQ, we fully sympathise, so we’ve asked around and put together a list of our top tips for getting back into a healthy daily routine.
10 top tips for getting back into a healthy daily routine
1. Sleep. Sleep. & More Sleep.
Over the holidays there are often late nights and long lie-ins, but now this routine is completely reversed. The alarm is set every night to kick-start the next morning of a busy lifestyle. You might even be returning to early morning training, in which case getting a good night’s sleep particularly applies to you. This is easier said than done when your sleeping patterns are still in holiday-mode. The mornings are also getting darker, so our circadian rhythms are confused and want us to stay cosy in bed until the sun tells us it’s day time.
The optimum amount of sleep vary depending on your age, but as a general rule it’s recommended that adults get 7 to 9 hours sleep per night. If you struggle to get to sleep, try dimming lights and use lamps earlier in the evening as this will maximise the release of melatonin (the hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycle). For the same reason, avoid looking at blue light and screens before bed and read instead.1 According a study by The Sleep Council, 41% of people find reading helps them get to sleep.2 Avoid eating late at night by meal prepping ahead of time. Keeping your room cool is also a great way to improve sleep quality.3
2. Food time savers
Trying to get back into a healthy daily routine can make it feel like you no longer have any free time. How did you manage to cook, eat, sleep, gym, work, study, have a social life, and everything in between, all in 24 hours?
Nutrition is one of the key components of a healthy daily routine, which means putting time into buying healthy ingredients and preparing your daily meals. Meal prepping a week’s worth of lunches or dinners can dramatically save precious time.
Similarly, substituting a meal for a nutritionally complete shake, such as our Whole Fuel Blend, is especially useful for people with a busy lifestyle who want to ensure they are still fuelling their body with key nutritionals whilst also saving time and avoiding bought ready meals. Top tip: we like to shake ours up the night before and let it chill in the fridge, then it’s ready to grab-and-go for breakfast on your way out of the door.
3. Get up a bit earlier
This might sound like torture at first but an extra 10-20 minutes will have a significant improvement on your mood and time management. The extra time in the morning can allow you to sit and have a tea or coffee without rushing and allow you to mentally prepare yourself with whatever busy day you have ahead of you. It gives you some buffer time in the mornings because getting back into a routine can mean morning rituals you had gotten expertly quick at have now become slower. If you always rush in the mornings, try getting up just 15 minutes earlier and you’ll set yourself up for the day feeling much better.
4. Vitamins and minerals
There’s a good chance over the summer that you paid no attention to what vitamins you consumed except, of course, for the “sunshine vitamin” – vitamin D. There are 13 essential vitamins which must be consumed in the diet as the body cannot produce sufficient quantities itself; these are vitamins A, C, D, E, K and 8 B vitamins. These vitamins, along with many minerals such as calcium, potassium and iron play important roles in the normal physiological processes in the body.
An easy way to make sure you’re getting all the micronutrients you need is to take an A-Z Multivitamin each morning.
5. A short workout is better than no workout
Getting back into the gym or your normal fitness routine is perhaps the hardest bit about getting back into a healthy routine. It’s okay to not return to smashing your PBs; your body is running on catch up. Ease back into your daily routine by focusing on that first hurdle – getting to the gym. Force yourself to work out for just 20 minutes and you’ll quickly be reminded of why you did in the first place. From a regular routine that includes some active time, you can then use that foundation to focus on your second hurdle, whether that’s building muscle, losing weight, or hitting that 10k run.
6. Stay hydrated
Water makes up two thirds of our body and its importance cannot be understated. During summer, staying hydrated is particularly important as people are more likely to be spending time in the sun and drinking more juices or alcohol, which increases the chance of dehydration. Dehydration can lead to a whole range of unpleasant symptoms including headaches, dizziness, and lack of concentration. These are the last things anyone wants when they have to get back to studying or working!
An easy way to stay hydrated whilst in a busy routine is to have a reusable bottle or shaker with you which allows you to regularly sip water throughout the day. Another tip is to add a reusable straw to your bottle and you’ll find yourself absentmindedly sipping away! It’s easy to forget something as simple as having a drink of water when you mind is focused on your first project back to school. Our Metal Shaker is perfect if you want to keep your drink cool whilst out and about and holds up to 750ml of water.
7. Enjoy healthy snacks
After a holiday full of tasty treats, it can be tempting to do either of the two unhealthy snacking extremes:
- Continue eating unhealthy snacks because you’ve lost all the work you put into your health over the summer – plus you have post-holiday blues so need comfort food.
- Immediately ration to 3 carrot sticks and 10 cashews a day because the holiday season is over and you need to play catch-up.
Neither of these is a sustainable way to a healthy snacking routine. There’s no need to immediately cut out all of your favourite foods in an attempt to get back into a healthy diet. Snacks such as our Vegan Protein Cookies are made to satisfy sweet cravings whilst avoiding the excessive sugar found in many standard sweets. Enjoy these tasty yet nutritious snacks into your diet so you can ease back into a healthy lifestyle which you can then maintain.
8. Lists with achievable goals
Making a list is one of the simplest and most effective ways to get yourself into a healthy routine. In a notebook or on your phone you can note down healthy shopping lists for meal preps, or prioritise the tasks you need to get done that week. It’s important to make these goals achievable otherwise you can quickly feel despair when you aren’t ticking off as much as you hoped. It’s unlikely that anyone will hit the ground running from exactly where they left off before the summer, so goals should be realistic. Ticking off 4 or 5 little things each day will help you avoid that all-or-nothing mentality where you run the risk of getting nothing done.
It might seem counterproductive to take precious time out of your busy day to do nothing, but meditating will actually be doing more for you than it first seems. Taking 10 minutes a day to sit in a quiet place, eyes closed, and focusing on your breathing can help you to slow down when your life is suddenly extremely busy again. Meditation or practising mindfulness is growing in popularity as more scientific studies reveal some of the benefits it can have on your health and wellbeing.4 There are great resources out there to help make this easier such as the Headspace or Calm apps, so why not give it a go.
10. Stock up with healthy food
During the summer, diet plans and meal preps no longer exist. People tend to enjoy food as and when they please on holiday, be it that fried treat from the market or that cocktail by the beach. It’s easy to lose track of where your nutrients are coming from, if you’re even getting them all in the first place! When you’re preparing to go back to school, university or work, this habit of buying food only for that day can stick with you. This can lead to unnecessary spending, food waste, and can impact your health.
Get back into your healthy routine by writing a list of the cupboard essentials and fresh food missing from your sparse fridge. Once you have stocked up with healthy food, you can meal prep for the week ahead and snack sensibly. Take inspiration from vegan recipe books and online. A balanced diet with a range of wholefoods such as grains, beans, lentils, fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds, is essential for ensuring you are consuming a balance of carbohydrates, fibre, protein, and healthy fats.
Eat. Sleep. Work. Repeat.
Hopefully those four words don’t sound as daunting as they did at the start. The ten top tip for getting back into a healthy routine are simple but effective ways to ease back into your busy lifestyle and recalibrate after a summer of fun in the sun. Stocking up with healthy, nutritious food and giving your body the fuel and hydration it needs is the first step to a healthy routine. A healthy diet is only half a healthy lifestyle; get back into an exercise routine by setting realistic goals and remember a short workout is better than no workout.