We live by schedules. Lots of your time revolves around transportation: getting to and from work, driving the kids to their extra-curricular activities, going to the gym and more. Between all these scheduled activities, be sure you’re fitting in time to achieve your wellness goals and to do things you enjoy.
Make Your Smartphone Work Harder for You
Build in time for the less stressful and more healthful events like seeing friends and calling your parents. The best tool for this is right next to you: your smartphone.
Smartphones are fantastic scheduling tools. It takes just a moment to tell Cortana, Siri or Google to remind you about details that slip your mind. If you find exercise boring but know it’s necessary, search your smartphone for health apps to make it more interesting. Samsung’s Galaxy series (S5 and later) has a health app that delivers a heart monitor, pedometer, fitness tracker and a fitness and nutrition coach. It even has a peer support community. Your smartphone can also look out for events you enjoy. If you heard there’s another final tour for the Rolling Stones or The Who, tell Cortana or Siri to let you know when tickets come on sale. When the time comes, she’ll send you right to the website to buy your tickets.
Take Time to Read
It doesn’t matter what you read: the act of reading is mentally stimulating. The National Institute of Aging says intellectually stimulating activities, like reading and socializing, lower the chance of Alzheimer’s, too.
But while you’re reading, make sure some of it is hardcopy material, particularly if you read in the evening hours leading up to bed. The blue light from tablets, e-readers and smartphones suppresses melatonin, the chemical that helps you prepare for sleep, Harvard Medical School reported in late 2014. So go ahead and subscribe to one print magazine or borrow a book from the library.
Cook Several Meals and Freeze the Leftovers
Don’t resign yourself to a weekly (or more) fast food run and eat food that isn’t boosting your wellness goals. Instead, tell your smartphone to schedule enough time for you or your assigned shopper to get to a grocery store once a week. Most shopping experts say Wednesday is the best day to shop for food bargains, but some chains have great deals on Sunday nights.
Then, cook up a storm. Turn up the radio or put on the game, and cook all your meals for the week. Just about any cooked food can be frozen, says food blogger and historian Tori Avey, but not all foods have the same frozen shelf life and not all dishes freeze as beautifully as others. Leftover cooked poultry can be safely refrigerated for three to four days and frozen for months. Same with cooked meat dishes. Check out the FDA’s freezing and storage chartfor details.
A few things to remember:
- Don’t allow cooked foods to cool for more than two hours
- If you’re freezing a small amount of cooked food, you don’t have to let it cool first
- The safest way to thaw frozen foods is overnight in the fridge, with covers still on
- You can thaw food under cold running water and in the microwave