Beyond your financial demands, many factors can tax your emotional, mental, and physical health. Common burdens left unchecked can squander wellness.

From workaholics to soccer moms to kids, Americans today are busier than ever. And while productivity is good, too much can come at the cost of your health. A packed schedule often means eating out more, working out less, and forfeiting downtime — even sleep — in exchange for another dollar, another activity, or another social event.

Try plugging health back into your calendar with these simple tips:

Learn to say no. While recent research found that kids may not show signs of stress from their packed schedules, parents definitely feel the pressure. Set rules for how many and when activities are appropriate for your family, and turn down invitations to all but 1 event for the weekend.

Capitalize on your efficiency. Instead of talking on your cell phone while driving (a dangerous distraction anyway), play calming music or a book tape. Use the ride to pray or meditate (with your eyes open of course); at the very least you’ll get a spiritual uplift while sitting in traffic. Or resolve a problem/decision by making mental lists of pros and cons.

Think ahead. Rather than ordering take-out or swinging through a drive-thru, plan your meals. Schedule a 2-hour block over the weekend to make and freeze 2 or 3 dishes for those days when you’re running behind. Bypass the vending machine by keeping a jar of almonds at your desk or in the car for a quick, healthy snack. Carry a water container wherever you go and refill at coolers and fountains.

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