Achieving a Work/Life Balance

27908152Achieving a work/life balance often seems like an impossible task. Work takes up a good part of your day, and by the time you run all your necessary errands and pick up the kids from school and extra-curricular activities, it’s tempting to hit the drive-thru for some fast food and zone out on the couch. You may even be in the habit of bringing work home with you, which results in less time for you to spend with your family.

Here are 3 tips to achieving a work/life balance:

Plan Meals Ahead

When you have some free time on the weekend, prepare some main dishes and put them in the freezer. Wash your fresh vegetables as soon as you get home from the store, and store them in airtight plastic bags. At the end of a hectic work day, you can pop a main dish into the oven, and make a salad and/or vegetable dish. Put out some whole wheat bread and you’ll be serving your family a nutritious meal.

Delegate

Remember you’re not Superwoman, so don’t try to carry the load by yourself. Johnny can set the table, and Mary can make the salad while you put your feet up for a few minutes. Your husband can pick up the dry cleaning and any last-minute grocery items on his way home.

Leave Work Behind

When you are at work, give 100% effort. Once you leave work, don’t check your work email or voicemails, and don’t bring paperwork home with you. There will be some exceptions such as teachers who have to grade papers and plan lessons, but it is important to carve out as much time for yourself and your family as possible.

By following these tips, you’ll reduce your stress levels, and have the best of both worlds.

Don’t Be a Weekend Warrior

elderly woman exercisingI have always liked to walk, but when Mark and I joined a gym, I decided to ramp up the intensity of my workouts. The gym had four racquetball courts and it was fun to watch the players serve back and forth. We decided to give it a try. We staked out a court and the game began. I thought I was doing very well for being in my 50’s, and I was making all kinds of leaps and turns as I returned the serve.

All was well until the next morning when my knee was absolutely killing me. A trip to the orthopedist was a necessity and my test results showed that I had strained my anterior cruciate ligament(ACL). I probably should have listened to my mother’s sage words of advice: “You’re too old to be playing racquetball.”

Don’t be a weekend warrior. When we hit the late 40’s and beyond, our focus should be on low impact exercise. Check out these 9 low impact exercises from the Huffington Post. Don’t be afraid to try out more than one for variety. The more you enjoy exercising, the longer you will stick with it and experience the benefits.

Always practice safety first. Check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. This is particularly important if you have diabetes, or heart disease.

Portion Control 101

people-eating-pizza-7185744Food temptations are all around us, and if you have eaten in a restaurant lately, you are aware of the huge portions that are served. Sure, you can pack some up for another day, but too often you just keep eating because your favorite dish tastes so good. Eating too much, whether at home or somewhere else, can lead to weight gain, as well as contributing to health problems such as diabetes.

Don’t be discouraged. You can still eat your favorite foods, and by following these 3 tips for Portion Control 101, you won’t even feel deprived.

Food Labels

Learn to read the food labels on the items you buy at the store. Pay strict attention to the serving size. A bag of potato chips that you could eat in 15 minutes during a football game, is often designed to serve 8 people. Your goal is to eat one serving.

Measuring Cups/Spoons

Unless you’re Rachael Ray and can “eyeball” how much a serving consists of, measure out your portions. It’s too easy to overestimate when you’re eating a smaller serving such 1/4 or 1/2 cup. Once you’re used to doing this for awhile, you won’t have to be so precise.

Walk Away

Once you have finished eating, walk away. Don’t hang around to lick the bowl or beaters, take just one more spoonful, or scrape scraps from the baking dish. Put any leftovers away immediately so you are not tempted.

Take a Step Back

??????????????????????????????????????Last week I felt desperately overscheduled. Between work, coaching, exercising and household chores, I didn’t feel like I had a minute to myself. When I feel this stressed-out, I feel like I am just going through the motions of life, and not living up to my potential.

I’m sure you’ve experienced these same feelings, but how can you feel less stressed and more productive? It’s time to take a step back, and get a new perspective on your situation. Here are 3 advantages of taking a step back:

Recharge Your Batteries

When you are tired and stressed, you don’t think as clearly. When you take a step back, challenges in your life seem more manageable, and you can return to your routine with renewed purpose.

Evaluate Where You’re Going

Is the path you are on leading you toward your goals or do you need to do something different? Take a step back, have some quiet time for reflection, and decide what goals you want to reach, and the steps you need to take to make these goals a reality.

Formulate New Ideas

It’s hard to formulate new ideas when you’re feeling dead tired and stressed-out. Take a step back by doing something you enjoy. Read a book, take a walk, or go for a drive. When you are doing something you enjoy, new ideas may pop into your head unexpectedly, and may be just the solution you are looking for.