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3 Tips For Structuring Free Time

Author: Stacey Arsenault

Have you ever thought “I am so busy I can’t keep up with my health goals?”  And then when you have extended free time, you actually struggle more than when you were busy!?  If you’re on summer vacation, newly retired, or in between jobs, having free time may be more challenging than you think! A big reason why it’s so challenging is that you have lost all your structure and routine. Sometimes too many choices can be our enemy.  Here are our top tips for approaching your free time so you can still meet your health goals.

1. Plan ahead

The key to helping yourself transition to this new lifestyle is to enter it with a plan.  How can you enter this new phase and continue with your healthy habits? Take time to reflect before your schedule changes and get clear about the vision for your new lifestyle. What challenges do you anticipate for yourself?  Of course, we can’t predict everything that will happen, but thinking about how you can manage struggles that may arise can help set yourself up for success. 

2. Create a new routine

Having a routine can help create some structure in your day which can help you continue your healthy sleep, exercise and eating habits.  You don’t need to keep the same intense routine that you previously had but it’s helpful to have some kind of loose structure in your day. When creating your new routine you might reflect back on what worked well in your old routine and how you can adapt those components to fit your new lifestyle. 

3. Master your mindset

Be aware of what mindset you’re bringing into this free period you have.  Many people associate summer with a relaxed vacation mindset, time to BBQ and eat ice cream every day.  Or perhaps you’re in between jobs and facing a lot of stress so you’re tempted to eat your feelings. Whatever mindset you may have, the first step is being aware of what emotions and or thought distortions are coming up for you.  Once you know what you’re facing then you can reach into your toolbox for some strategies to cope. Whether that be finding some non-food activities to manage your stress, or striving to achieve a balanced approach over your vacation, be in tune with how your mindset is affecting you.

Transitions have the potential to disrupt your health routines. If you’re intentional about how you will adapt your health routines to your new lifestyle, you can set yourself up for a smooth transition.