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(ARA) - From the moment your alarm clock rings, the race is on. It's a rush to get ready, a hurry to get to work and a hectic day at the office, all before the evening introduces its own laundry list of tasks. It can feel difficult -- if not impossible -- to find time to care for yourself in the daily hustle and bustle, particularly during the holiday season. But at the same time, everyone wants to look good, feel good and be healthy.
There's truth in the idea that sometimes you need to put yourself first. Looking good and feeling good often go hand in hand, and being healthy follows closely afterward. "By taking the time to tend to yourself, you'll actually be doing a favor to your already busy schedule," says Boston area dermatologist Dr. Jeffrey Dover. "Incorporating self-preserving and time efficient activities into your everyday routine can keep you healthy both physically and mentally, which ultimately promotes an energetic lifestyle."
Try working these tips into your day, during the holidays and into the new year, to help maintain your look and support your lifestyle.
* Take the extra steps. While there is increasing concern about people living sedentary lifestyles, you can beat the trend. It's easy to make your day more active, and little things all add up in terms of calories burned and muscles used. Let the elevator doors close and opt for the stairs. Or, as you make your dash for coffee in the morning or groceries in the evening, pass by the parking spots up front and choose one that will give your legs a stretch as you walk in.
* Consider new ways to keep your shape. Sometimes, a healthy exercise regimen, whether it's a yoga practice, dedicated visits to the gym or going for morning jogs, doesn't get all the work done. Even those who have a healthy lifestyle still find themselves fighting pesky muffin tops and spare tires, especially in the face of tempting holiday buffets filled with rich foods. If exercise can't budge them, a new treatment called CoolSculpting might be able to. The body-sculpting treatment, developed by the doctors at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, which freezes and eliminates fat cells in a process called Cryolipolysis, is an alternative to costly, invasive and time-consuming treatments, can be done over a lunch break and doesn't require subsequent treatments. "In your busy life, taking advantage of treatments like CoolSculpting gives you the results you want without making a major impact on your schedule," Dover says.
* Simplify your get-ready routine. If your medicine cabinet and counter are overfilled with products, it's likely your schedule is, too. For both men and women, clearing out the drawers and cabinets in the bathroom can make things easier to find, but replacing multiple products with those that do double duty will also help cut down on time. The right haircut - one that requires a minimum of product, time and fuss - can make a difference for men and women alike, so let your stylist know that you want something low-maintenance. And just as a crowded bathroom counter can slow you down, so can a packed closet. Winnowing down your wardrobe helps you make decisions faster.
* Make your menu work. It's easy to rely on fast food that doesn't really do much for your wellbeing. Switching your menu options to include whole and minimally-processed foods can not only help you keep your shape, but can also have health-boosting powers. That's not to say that you have to cut out your favorites - just strike a balance that brings in more healthy foods that are richer in nutrients and which will support your fitness and health goals.
Finding ways to put more emphasis on looking and feeling great might seem like too big a challenge to tackle. But with incremental adjustments to your lifestyle, like streamlining your everyday schedule and body sculpting, you might find yourself living better than ever before.
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