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A Healthy Balance: Can you have work-life balance? May 20, 2009

Posted by Dreamhealer in Diet, naturopathic.

By Katie Baker

How is it possible to balance work, family, friends, community and personal time?

There are some simple steps that can go a long way toward helping us all find balance in our busy lives. The key is to assess whether you are living consistently with what you believe to be important.

I’m a lover of lists. It keeps me from being distracted and helps me feel successful to see checked- off items that I’ve completed during the day.

My sister, a consummate list maker, even stores lists on the computer that include everyday chores and events with blank lines for adding specific tasks. She has created a grocery shopping list with everything in her cupboard that has been categorized and some empty slots, so she can put a check next to items as she uses them up.

This keeps her from spending money on things she already has and helps her remember what she needs, preventing multiple grocery store trips (and wasted time trying to remember what she forgot).

Consider sitting down for 30 minutes and writing out your weekly plans. Look specifically for items that are unappealing and unnecessary.

Practice saying no. This gives you more time to say yes to the things you enjoy doing.

Someone else can bring the snacks for the team or stay behind to help clean up. It does not always have to be the same three parents every time. Just because you’re invited to a barbecue by a co-worker doesn’t mean you have to squeeze it in between two other family events and blow a whole Sunday. Be gracious, but firm.

For some parents who feel more like hired help, work on getting your children involved in household cleanup (many hands make light work). Talk with them about choosing one or two activities instead of a different one each day of the week.

Give an evening a month to volunteer at a local food bank or a Sunday afternoon picking up trash in a local park. Volunteering feeds the soul, helps the community, builds connections with your children and offers them a powerful example of a good role model.

Are you feeling disconnected, even though you have a crowded dinner table? Do you eat in front of the TV or spend hours at night watching?

Turn off the TV. Use dinnertime to check in with family members. Now that the weather is (reasonably) nice, consider a walk after dinner by yourself or with your spouse, alone or with the kids. On a crummy weather kind of day, have family game night or rent a movie to watch together. The key is reconnecting, rather than everyone going their separate ways.

In any of these above ways, you can find things to do with your family, with your friends, and by yourself as well as the time in which to do it. It’s a matter of sitting down and making sure that you know what your priorities are and working to make sure that what you do and how you spend your time is a reflection of them.


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