Keeping healthy in the rat race

The ‘daily grind’ is called that, partly because the idea of having to grind out your money every day reflects how hard this can be for most people. It also implies that constantly getting up to do so can and will eventually grind you down, too. People give up the majority of their lives trying to get ahead, making vast fortunes for their employers so they can get that new car or mortgage, or pay for their kids’ college fees.

We’re not going to talk about the wisdom of getting into, or staying in the rat race, that has already been done elsewhere. The fact of the matter is that many people are trapped in it for the foreseeable future and are unaware of the danger they are putting themselves in physically and mentally. Aside from risking ruining their own health, they could also be putting at risk the very fruits of their labor – a mental or physical breakdown on their part could easily result in having to deal with massive medical bills, a spike in insurance premiums and even losing their jobs, and therefore their income, their home, their car and their kids’ college funds.

If you still want to be a part of the rat race and go through the daily grind, or if you feel you have no choice about the matter, you’d better start taking steps to protect your mental and physical health.

The good news is that, to a large extent, mental and physical health are related. If you take good care of your body, it will take care of you. And so the first thing you need to look at is what you put into it.

Company workers often feel that their time is too restricted to be able to enjoy a healthy diet. They skip meals, thinking that it’s ok to make up for them with snacks. The snacks they choose, just like most of their meals are nutritional garbage. A bagel and a coffee isn’t what you need to start a day of non-stop stress. Eating a toasted cheese sandwich at your desk and chewing on a peanut butter and chocolate bar in the car while guzzling a soda is just going to make you less able to cope. Overloading on sugar and starchy foods will give you an energy boost for up to an hour, before leaving you with a dip in your blood sugar which makes you feel like you’ve lost all your energy.

Constantly topping up like this means the sugar and starch will just be converted into extra fat which you have to carry around, further draining your energy and putting pressure on your heart and other organs. Coffee is no good either – it will increase your heart rate and make you more alert for an hour or two, before leaving you wanting more. Thus, your body becomes addicted to caffeine and you start to live your day from one coffee to the next. By the time you’re ready to go home, you’re a nervous, exhausted, wreck.

Taking the time to prepare balanced, nutritional meals is its own reward. There are plenty of time saving tricks, too – you can rustle up a couple of vitamin and mineral-rich smoothies in the morning. Sprinkle in some wholegrain cereal for your breakfast with one of them. Take the other to work to snack on. Have a fruit bowl by your desk, too. Instead of drinking coffee all day, go outside for five minutes, walk around the parking lot, take in the fresh air and sunshine. That’s far more invigorating than a coffee will ever be.

Try cycling to work to stay fit. If that’s not an option, go to the gym or take up sports to play after work. If you’re too pressed for time to do that, get yourself a piece of home gym equipment from Treadmill Trends. Get in 20 or 30 minutes of exercise instead of collapsing on the sofa. Work out together with your spouse so that you can have the time together that you need, while looking after your body.

Surviving the rat race is an increasingly tough challenge. If you want to spend your life working as much as you can to make other people rich, you’d better make sure you take care of your own body and mind.

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