It’s Professional Wellness Month, and in honor of it, we have tips for you to maintain a healthy work-life balance and a healthy lifestyle at work.
Don’t let your job stop you from exercising. Even if you can only get out to take a 15-minute walk around the block on a break, getting moving is good for your body and can help clear your mind.
Take time for self-care during the week. Spending time on yourself off the clock can improve your performance while you’re on the clock. You can also take time for a class to improve your professional skills.
Take time to reconnect with former colleagues and classmates at mixers, on social media, and in person to hear about valuable knowledge and insights they’ve gained since you saw them last.
Try taking a mini-break from technology and screens over the weekend. It might be hard at first, but once you get used to it, it can be relaxing and raise your awareness of your surroundings.
Make sure you use vacations to refresh your mind and body. Choose a good mix of relaxing, invigorating, and intriguing activities in your time away.
If you work a desk job, your posture may be causing back and neck pain. Try to keep good posture, adjust your computer or chair height to ease the angle, and get up and stretch when you’re feeling sore.
Get used to light lunches and try out meal prep. Eating big meals in the middle of the day can make you feel sluggish, so try to eat a mix of fresh produce and light protein to fuel the day.
Many people with arthritis also have other serious conditions. 57% of adults with heart disease, 52% of those with diabetes, and 44% of those with high blood pressure, have arthritis. Learn more about arthritis research.
1/3 of adults with arthritis who would normally be working have limitations in their ability to work, and overall, they’re less likely to be employed than those without arthritis. If you have arthritis, learn more about managing your pain.
Arthritis and its related conditions account for over $156 billion in yearly lost wages and medical expenses. If you have arthritis though, you have treatment options.
If you need support emotionally or the tools and resources to make healthy changes like exercise and diet that can improve your arthritis, the Arthritis Foundation can help.
It’s Get a Balanced Life Month, and we have tips to help you balance your life between work and personal this week.
First, decide what a balanced life means for you. A balanced life doesn’t have to mean you spend as much time on work as personal activities if that’s not where your priorities are at this moment. It’s important to adjust with your life changes.
You don’t have to stick to a 9 to 5 work schedule if it’s not right for you. If checking your email late at night to make the morning easier helps, embrace it. If work is a priority, don’t apologize for treating it like one.
Create boundaries to enforce what matters to you. If you can’t take a work phone call while helping your kids with homework in the evening, call back when it works for you.
Don’t feel bad when you have to say no. Saying no can be necessary for balance. If you have the flu, you can miss that work meeting.
Be realistic. Don’t overbook your time trying to be a superhero. If you know you won’t have time to bake treats from scratch for the bake sale, don’t tell someone you can.
Set priorities and let them grow with you. When you’re young, keeping a tidy home with nice things can be like having a sanctuary. But once you have kids, don’t let a little chaos in your home, like toys in the living room, ruin your balance.
Keep a journal. Journaling helps you understand what’s taking up your time and helps you evaluate what’s working and what isn’t. Write down what you spend time on each day, from the gym to work meetings.
What just happened? I blinked, and all of a sudden, it’s 2018! The holidays came and went, and now it’s time to go back to our normal routines. I’m personally excited for spring to get here. I’m over this cold.
As I go back to my routine, I think of what I’m going to do differently this year. It is very cliché, but I really do look back on my previous year and reflect on what I can improve on for 2018. We can improve in every aspect of our life: relationships, work, finances, and health.
We all try to set goals and keep them for the entire year. But sometimes we set unrealistic goals, or we just don’t try hard enough. The most common goal I hear is having a healthier lifestyle. We all have at least one unhealthy habit that we want to kick to the curb. As I get older, I realize it is not about looking good or having “rock hard” abs, it’s about being healthy and strong.
There are so many ways we can have an active lifestyle. Many people would join a gym to reach that goal, but what happens if you can’t afford a gym membership? And the older we get, the harder it is to do heavy lifting or the more dangerous it is to use a treadmill.
We are so lucky to have an organization like the Wellness Place in the Wenatchee Valley. Its mission is “[t]o improve and enhance the health and well-being of community members through programs and education; inspiring every person to live their best life now.” Their current programs include targeting and supporting cancer patients, Stay Active and Independent for Life (SAIL), and diabetes support services.
The SAIL program started in 2006 and focuses on balance and fitness for those 65 and older. Exercises that improve strength, balance, and fitness are the most important activities you can do to stay active and reduce your chance of falling as you age.
These classes are offered all over the greater Wenatchee area, and they’re no cost to the attendees. It is a great opportunity to kick off a healthier lifestyle for free. Learn more about the classes and when and where they take place and start your new year the right way.
Jessica Arroyo, born and raised in the Wenatchee Valley, is a Medicare community liaison for Health Alliance, serving Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan counties in Washington. During her time off, she enjoys spending time with her husband and infant son.
The end of April and beginning of May might be the craziest month-long stretch I’ve ever planned for myself. I will be battling traveling stress each week with almost no downtime in between.
First, I spent a weekend with loved ones around Indy, going to the zoo and shopping. Then, my mom, sister-in-law, and I went on a big weekend trip to New York City to see a Broadway show. The next weekend, I’m headed to Chicago to visit some old friends. The 2 weekends after that, I’m driving home for events, and then the weekend after that, I’m off to Seattle.
No matter what, traveling is stressful, so to get through it, I’m trying to plan ahead, stay on top of things, make the healthiest decisions I can on the go, and enjoy the moments of fun that are the whole point of traveling in the first place.
Planning Ahead to Avoid Traveling Stress
While tickets and such have been booked ahead of time, the planning never ends there.
First, I spring-cleaned my apartment like crazy so that it could survive the coming month without looking like a wasteland.
I pulled tons of great tips to make this list from the helpful resources we shared in our Spring Cleaning for National Cleaning Week post, like using rubber gloves to wipe dog hair off my furniture, freshening up my garbage disposal, and more.
Organize, Organize, Organize
I’ve been making a list of all the things I need to do before each trip, so I don’t do something silly and forgetful, like making myself late by forgetting to put gas in my car before driving to the airport.
And this list doesn’t just include the things I need to pack but also the things I need to do around the house and the errands I need to run first.
This helps me stay on track and not forget all the little things that have to be pulled together at the last minute.
I try to pack as much as I can ahead. The key to-do’s I can mark off in advance:
Buy or organize travel liquids if I’m flying.
Check the weather forecast.
Plan versatile outfits, like things that can mix and match and fit the weather and planned activities, including shoes because I get blisters easily.
Organize or switch to a purse better for travel.
Never forget essentials, like headphones, a book, sunscreen, bandaids, gas in the car, and meds.
Plan driving times and routes.
Then, at the last minute, I can just add in the things I’m still using, like my makeup bag, toothbrush, and phone charger, and avoid all that last-minute packing stress.
Planning for Work
Another important key to planning ahead is making sure work is ready for me to be completely unavailable.
Usually that just means talking to my co-workers in advance and making sure anything that takes place on the weekends, like social media for the next week, is done early.
One of the easiest ways to ruin your vacation is to have to drop everything for work, so make sure you’ve talked to your co-workers and set boundaries for when you’ll be available.
Then, stick to those boundaries because vacations are an important part of avoiding burnout. If you’re only going to check email once a day, stick to that and do it at a time when it won’t ruin your day.
Staying on Top of Things to Avoid Traveling Stress
No matter how much planning you do, it can all fall apart while you’re there if you focused on the wrong thing.
I like to make plans for each day with loose free time around them. You never want to have to be too many places in one day, so one meal with reservations and one event or activity that requires tickets in advance per day is probably plenty. You can munch or discover something new when you’re actually hungry the rest of the time, which can help you avoid overeating on a trip. And you’ll have more time to focus on something you love instead of rushing off to your next activity.
I also like to have extra time planned in so that if I’m exhausted, I can take a nap, shower after a hot outdoor activity, or simply enjoy downtime by watching a movie or grabbing an appetizer with my loved ones.
Get Your Bearings
Another key can be knowing your location and how to get around. I’ve lived in New York and Chicago, so I know my way around the neighborhoods and how the subways work, and pulling up a location on my phone is more than enough for me to find my way in either place.
However, I’ve never been to Seattle, so looking at maps and familiarizing myself with what’s where will be a much more important part of planning that trip so I don’t end up lost when I get there.
Identify what you need to focus on in preparation for each trip for a smooth journey to avoid hiccups in the moment.
Start the Day Off Right
Each morning of your trip, it’s a good idea to review your plans with everyone. Not only will it put you all on the same page, but it will help you remember which important tickets, confirmation numbers, or reservation details you need to bring along that day for your planned activities.
Making Healthy Choices to Avoid Traveling Stress
Traveling stress skyrockets for me when I feel guilty about it, so I’m trying to make healthy choices wherever I go.
A few weeks ago, I bought a Ringly ring. Ringly is a fitness tracker that syncs to your phone but looks like jewelry. I’d been wanting a tracker for a while, and the design of these adorable pieces made me finally get on board.
You charge it in a ring box and manage it from an app on your phone, and no one would ever know from looking at it that it’s a tracker.
Because of this new tracker, I can see how much walking I’m doing each weekend. The weekend in Indy, I walked 9.2 miles. And in NYC, we planned in time to walk the High Line and the bottom half of Central Park. We ended up walking 25.5 miles total!
I also try to choose healthier food choices most of the time without sacrificing the experience.
Enjoying the Moment to Avoid Traveling Stress
Finally, the stress-busting key for me is enjoying the fun parts of traveling. Those moments have to outweigh the stress, or it’s not worth it!
In NYC, we:
Ate at Bobby Flay’s Gato
Saw the new show Amélie
Spent a day at Chelsea Market
Walked the High Line
Had a ball at Waitress, including the perfect-serving-size, tiny Key Lime and Marshmallow Pies at intermission (And they raised $20,000 dollars in a little auction at the end of the show for charity!)
Indulged in the special Easter brunch menu at Tom Colicchio’s Craft
Explored Central Park
With more crazy weekends ahead of me, I hope my planning helps me stay sane!
Tips for Your Travels
If you need more tips to make it through your next trip and traveling stress, these can help:
Sometimes, it feels like life is 5 steps ahead of you. At this time of year, I always feel it the strongest, as we launch this year’s websites and plans for 2017 and the holidays rush toward me.
The last few months have been a whirlwind of work, a move to Indiana, going remote with this job, a family trip to Phoenix, and huge holiday plans (like a trip to Philly) on the horizon.
I take comfort in knowing that I’m not the only one who sometimes feels like life is barreling ahead of me. My brother and sister-in-law bought an old house around this time last year and have completely redone it, which has taken them all year. I don’t know how they’ve had the energy to do it all.
When things feel like they’re spiraling out of control (which, I mean, usually feels like it’s all the time), I just have to remind myself to take moments for myself.
Sometimes, it means buying myself a latte. Sometimes, it means training for a 5K I’ll never run. (My chiropractor recommends I don’t run outside because inclines are bad for my back.) Sometimes, it means building a terrarium (which I finally did), watching a movie I’ve been wanting to see, or just taking 5 minutes to cuddle my dog.
And sometimes, it means just finding a way to clear my mind. Cooking has always been one of the best ways for me to do that, and I’ve been trying out recipes from the Skinnytaste Cookbook.
My favorite so far has been an amazing chicken parm made with whole wheat bread crumbs and homemade tomato sauce, and it’s baked instead of fried.
And recently, I’ve found those adult coloring books are a great way for me to clear my mind. They’re the perfect balance of intricate and easy.
New Healthy Habits – Meditation
I’ve been thinking about picking up something like meditation to get that same coloring book clarity. Our online wellness tool, Rally, has a mission to meditate for 20 minutes a day that can help you give meditation a try.
And these tips can help you get started with meditation. There are also lots of podcasts for you to listen to while you meditate, or this guide goes through some of the different approaches you can try to start meditating.
In the meantime, find whatever peace you can in the midst of the craziness.