I'm sure you've heard of health professionals telling you to be sure to have a work-life balance so you can reap the rewards of your work life without taking away from time to enjoy with family and friends. However, what I have found is lacking in individuals is not just a work-life balance, but a health-life balance. In this scenario, I will place work in the life category since it incorporates the time you spend with others as well as time you spend helping others. The health aspect that is often placed by the way side is the time you spend on taking care of you and you only.
Use the strategies below to keep your health-life balance in check:
1.) Keep a daily planner: Having a visual image of what you have to get done during the day as well as the time you have available each day will give you more control over your time each day. Time can seem to fly by as we engage in unnecessary tasks such as checking our email, voicemails, text messages, looking up miscellaneous things on the internet, and watching television. By using these bits of time here and there more wisely, we could be engaging in more healthful activities for ourselves throughout each day such as:
- taking a short walk or jog (or a 30-minute workout if time permits)
- taking a technology time-out to rest your eyes and mind
- listening to music to give yourself a mental-health break
- reading a book to escape from your daily stresses
- preparing healthy meals and snacks
2.) Delegate tasks: At both home and work, we can sometimes get so caught up in getting our to-do list done that we neglect other things that are crucial to our health such as...well...eating, staying hydrated, taking a time-out to breathe and rest for a bit, etc. Instead of trying to be a superhero and getting everything done at the speed of light without stopping, try to delegate some of your tasks to either a family member or friend that is available to help, or delegate the tasks that do not have a strict deadline for another day. Like a wise supervisor once told me, "If you don't have time to get everything done today, it will always be there waiting for you tomorrow, so don't worry."
3.) Put your yourself on the schedule: We always seem to find time to go to work long hours, give car rides to family and friends, prepare meals for others, volunteer, among other things, but when it comes time to put ourselves on the schedule to work out, prepare healthy meals and snacks, go to doctor's appointments for ourselves, and take "me-time" to de-stress, there never seems to be any time on the schedule.
Make today the day you start putting yourself on the schedule for 20 to 30 minutes a day whether it be in the morning before everyone in your house wakes up, during your lunch break at work, after dinner, or during the time when you usually watch television.
If you can't seem to find the time, then make the time.
- Wake up a little earlier
- Sacrifice some computer or television time
- Distribute tasks throughout the week
- Delegate some task to others who are able to help
- Pack lunches and prep tomorrow's dinner the night before after dinner dishes are cleaned up so three tasks can be knocked out in one shorter period of time and more "me-time" can be freed up in the evening.
- Use your available days off at work to make doctor's appointments or schedule "me-time" for time to get your hair done or get a massage. Neglecting to use your available personal days and vacation days at work is not a commendable action that should be rewarded. Days off are given to you because every human being needs a break from work every once in a while to regroup and keep their physical, emotional, and mental health in check. If time is not taken off every once in a while, it is very likely that your health is being neglected in some way or another.
No matter how busy our lives may be, if we look hard enough, at least 30 minutes throughout the day can be found that you can designate towards your health. Find this time, make this time, and keep your health-life balance in check so you can be at your best both inside and out!