Work. Life. Balance. Words we hear frequently and many of us strive for, but find ourselves constantly caught up in “having to get our work done,” trying to meet deadlines, or staying ahead of the game to prove your worth at your job. Many times this fight to succeed in the workplace turns into home life and health sacrifices. Family dynamics become stressed, we pick up bad eating habits, we don’t have time to exercise, and to top it all off, it feels like we are always working. While there is no question that financial stability is important, do you have to give up a work life balance and sacrifice your health and relationships for it?
In fact, this is generally not the case. By taking time to separate yourself from work, spend time with family/doing things you enjoy, taking the occasional vacation, eating healthy, well timed meals, and exercise actually tend to increase your overall productivity and success in the work place when you are “on the clock.” So the big question is: how do we actually make this balance happen in order to improve our nutrition, health, family relationships, and even potentially our productivity at work?
The following tips give you ways to begin accomplishing this mysterious balance:
1. Avoid taking work home. In some jobs it is inevitable that some work will come home at night or we choose to bring it home to get ahead. If you have to take work home, set aside a time frame that this work must be accomplished during as well as choose a couple days a week that are dedicated for “no work in the house.” This allows for a clear separation between work and family/ “you time.”
2. Work hours are for work, but scheduled breaks are necessary.
a. Work hours are for work. During your work day, avoid taking frequent breaks to check social media, scroll through your phone, and get distracted with mindless activities.
b. Schedule a quick break once an hour. Once an hour take a quick break to get up and stretch, take a quick walk to the bathroom, do some in office exercises, and/or have a scheduled snack. This break allows your mind to escape from autopilot mode and return to its highest level of productivity allowing you to actually get your work done faster.
3. Set aside dedicated meal times. Whether it is lunch at work or a family breakfast or dinner, dedicate meal times purely to eating your meal and separating from the craziness of the day. Use this time to mindfully eat and enjoy your food. You should take at least 20 minutes to eat your meal to promote clear hunger and satiety signals to prevent the physical need to graze throughout the day (emotional eating may be a different discussion). If you are having a family meal, use this time to talk about your days, keep conversation light, and disconnect from the craziness of the outside world (put away electronics, tv, cell phones, etc.).
4. Meal Prep. Set aside time during your week to meal prep. Even if it’s only for a couple days at a time, this bulk prepping allows for more available time on a day to day basis and discourages grabbing, quick, easy and many times more expensive meals out.
5. Schedule time for exercise. Find a physical activity you enjoy and put it on your schedule. Especially if you are someone that likes to “check things off your list,” this will motivate you to get your exercise in, rather than finding excuses to get out of it or lower its priority. Exercise usually has the benefit of energizing you, so if you are “feeling tired” that gives you even more of a reason to exercise. In addition, exercise can be great family time as well. Plan family walks or trips to the park to combine these two important parts of life.
6. Take a vacation. Especially if you work at a job that gives you vacation days, utilize them! Even if you don’t want to spend a ton of money traveling somewhere, take a couple days off to do fun things in town that allow you to reconnect with yourself and your family and rejuvenate. Whether it is a staycation or a destination vacation, the time off is crucial for your physical and emotional health.
7. Get a good night’s sleep. Schedule at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Take 30 mins- an hour before bed to wind down from the stresses of the day and promote good quality sleep and give yourself the time it needs to reset every night. If you are well rested, it minimizes cravings driven by your body’s need for energy (note sleep and food energy are not the same, but your body’s signals don’t know that), increases productivity, and many times decreases the stress levels/cortisol and inflammation in your body.
Maintaining a high stressed lifestyle without good quality work-life balance has the potential to result in higher risks of many disease states, increasing overall inflammation/cortisol in your body making it more difficult to maintain a healthy weight, and can destroy family and personal relationships. By using these 7 tips to begin developing work-life balance in your day to day to day life, you may notice changes in your energy levels, family dynamics and overall health. We are all guilty of getting caught up in work and losing this delicate balance, myself included, but I challenge you to give some of these tips a try and see what happens!
I would love to hear any experiences or success you have with restoring this balance in your life or other tips that you personally use to help you reach this balance!
If you are looking for extra help with your nutrition and health goals and need help making a healthy lifestyle as easy and enjoyable as possible, contact us today and schedule your first appointment toward taking control of your health!
Wishing you a week of balance, health, and happiness,
-Ricci-Lee Hotz, MS, RDN
Denver’s Dancing Dietitian
A Taste of Health, LLC
“Improving Quality of life one bite at a time”