How to keep a balanced healthstyle (when you have a change in priorities)

A change in priorities doesn't mean your health has to suffer.

Many things can come up in life that instantly creates a change in priorities.

Maybe you’re going on vacation, or a family emergency pops up.

Maybe it’s a significant shift such as having a child or going back to school (or both! In a pandemic!).

Or you accepted a 6-month contract in Antarctica doing 12-hour rotating day and night shifts. So what is ‘day’ and ‘night’ anyway when there are 24 hours of light?

It doesn’t matter if the changes are welcomed or not, it affects your healthstyle. Whether you’re at home or the bottom of the world, there will always be something in your life demanding your attention.

There will always be something in your life demanding your attention.

When I accepted my first work contract in Antarctica, I knew my priorities were going to change. I wanted to take advantage of every opportunity, meet new people, and oh yes….do all my dizzying rotating 12-hour shifts.

Likely you are not packing up and heading to Antarctica for 6-months, but we’re not so different. If you ever felt the need to prioritize health and fitness, you can relate to this. The time you spend with your family and friends, work obligations, or downtime is often limited because choosing health can be time-consuming.

My health and fitness weren't even in the cargo hold; they were on the runway.

Here’s how I refused to make a fool’s choice and keep my health and fitness a priority without it being THE priority.

Rebecca Burtney in winter clothing at Antarctica with a weather balloon in hand. Balanced lifestyle strategy

A healthy balance doesn’t need to be hard! Rebecca would love to share more tips and tricks as to how to manage your health priorities...

Leave a comment below and Rebecca will be happy to continue the conversation!

1. Ask yourself what matters most to you? (in terms of a healthstyle)

Who wouldn’t love to emerge from an Antarctica contract (or a pandemic) with chiseled abs and an iron will?

I knew that going to the gym every day, eating broccoli and vegetables, and saying no to every slice of cake that came my way wasn’t a priority for me.

My priorities were to experience Antarctica, make new friends, and survive my shift work so I could do my job well.

In the past, when I would experience something new, that meant signing up for every event, going to every party, and self-medicating with caffeine and snacks.

It got me through, but it offered diminishing returns….I was constantly fighting exhaustion, lethargy, and weight gain.

If I didn’t make time for my health and fitness, I knew it would become harder to enjoy my time in Antarctica (or even get through a shift!).

Once I got clear on what mattered most (maybe that wasn’t saying yes to EVERY event), I figured out what needed to happen so I could best show up for it.

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2. How do you show up as your best self?

You likely know through some hard-won trial and error how you show up as your best self.

For instance, if I get a whole night’s sleep, I feel like I can conquer the world.

Well balanced lifestyle is within your control. A diagram that shows how sleep, a balanced meal, and movement are related.

On days that I don’t move at all, I feel sluggish.

I feel more satisfied and less likely to randomly start shoving cookies in my mouth on days that I eat a balanced meal. My stomach is happier when I take a breath between bites to slow down.

No matter my priorities, setting myself up for better sleep, doing some movement, and taking the time to enjoy my food make everything else in my day more manageable (and more fun!).

Even if my day ends up slammed with a host of unexpected things popping up, I can still do something, if not all these things.

Doing these things isn’t just for me. I know when I show up as my best, I can better show up for others too.

When I show up as my best, I can better show up for others too.
~healthy lifestyle quote for you to ponder

3. How can you have your cake and eat it too?

When you combine what matters most and how you show up as your best self, keeping health and fitness priority takes on a more balanced place in your life.

For me, I knew I couldn’t control my work schedule, but I could manage my bedtime routine to give me the best shot at a good night’s sleep.

I knew I was still likely to be fighting a lot of fatigue. My priority was to get in movement during my work shift instead of working out at the free gym.

I like the idea of doing push-ups, so I practiced doing ones off the counter while I filled up my water jug at work. I took a lap around the stairs whenever I took a bathroom break.

It’s not much, but after a 12-hour shift, I felt like I hadn’t stared bleary-eyed at the screen all day. I actually had more energy.

I couldn't make any food for myself, but I could control what I put on my plate. The foundation for a balanced meal was available to me; I added a scoop of steamed veggies and a serving of lean protein and starch. (The vegetables were made more palatable with a pat of butter.) Plus, it was more likely to keep me full.

Even if I couldn’t find a balanced meal, I could eat slowly. Especially if I did decide I wanted a piece of cake! Having a balanced lifestyle strategy, a healthstyle, is about ENJOYING the food I do eat.

A Balanced lifestyle strategy you can do now

Finding ways you can incorporate health and fitness into what is important to you, keeps it simmering there in the background instead of non-existent.

Unless you make room for your wellbeing, there is ALWAYS going to be something that will seize priority for you if you let it.

You may not look like a Bodybuilder or an Instagram model. Still, by combining what matters most with how you show up as your best self, you’ll have a formula where you can have your cake and eat it too. When your priorities change again (and they will), you’ll be able to keep your health lifestyle trucking along with you. Even in Antarctica!

As a health lifestyle coach (and always a student) Rebecca Burtney's unique coaching philosophy is about revealing the joy in your movement, your eating, and your life. Find other articles written by Rebecca on her coach profile. Discover tips and tricks that work anywhere whether you're working from home or Antarctica.