By: Kelly Atyeo, B.A.Sc., M.H.Sc., P.H.Ec.
Ever feel like you need superhero powers to get everything done in a day? Maybe that’s why Wonder Woman exists!
Since the early 70s, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of women entering the workforce – many who have school-aged children (also known as “multitasking Moms”).1 This trend sparked the notion of a “work-life balance”, which basically means: find time to work, enjoy life and stay healthy, both mentally and physically. We all know that achieving this “work-life balance” is easier said than done. Often times, what gets ignored is your health and forgetting to give yourself time to unwind and relax.
Here are some tips to help keep your day balanced:
Prioritize: Recognize that not everything you think NEEDS to get done MUST get done in one day. The best thing to do is prioritize your daily tasks on a scale from most important to least important. Keeping an agenda and crossing off tasks is a good way to prioritize your tasks.
Hey, you may even get to some of those less important things – BONUS!
Ask for help: If you need help doing something, don’t be afraid to ask. Too many times people feel as if they have to do everything on their own. A supportive network of friends, family, and co-workers can help you achieve great things. Also, if you have kids don’t forget about them! Spending time with your kids, while completing tasks, is a great way to balance your home life. Kids are great little helpers if they think what they are doing is fun. For example, providing kids with a special place in the kitchen to help you cook or giving them stickers for completing tasks and a prize at the end of 10 tasks can really motivate them to help out. Plus, it gives them a sense of responsibility.
Exercise: jog, swim, bike, walk. Whatever you choose to do, exercise is a great way to get you energized for your day, reduce stress, improve mood and brain function.2 Include physical activity in your daily tasks and aim for at least 150 minutes/week.3
- Eat Healthy: When you eat a healthy diet, you are more likely to have energy to do the things you enjoy doing in your day! Also, there is a growing body of research linking healthy eating to improved mental health.4, 5
- Don’t you feel better when you are eating healthy? Eat foods that nourish your brain to keep your mood balanced. Fresh fruits and vegetables, omega-3 fatty acids (i.e. fish, nuts, seeds, eggs), good protein sources (i.e. chicken, soy), and whole grains are highly recommended.4
Me Time: Often this gets ignored, but taking time to rest and reflect is so important for mental health. Simply reading a book, painting your nails, having a relaxing bath or writing in a journal can be therapeutic. Make it a priority to give yourself at least 15-25 minutes of daily “me time”. Do not force yourself to do anything during that time, let it come naturally and enjoy.
Part of being a Wonder Woman is making sure your needs are met. When creating your to-do list, make sure that YOU go on the MOST IMPORTANT list of tasks!
- Statistics Canada (2008). Employment rates of mothers, by age of youngest child. Ottawa, ON: Minister of Industry
- Anxiety and Depression Association of America (2012). Exercise for Stress and Anxiety. Retrieved September 24, 2012, from www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/managing-anxiety/exercise-stress-and-anxiety
- Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (2011). Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines. Retrieved September, 24, 2012, from www.csep.ca/CMFiles/Guidelines/CSEP_PAGuidelinesQ&A_E.pdf
- Canadian Mental Health Association (2012). Benefits of Good Mental Health. Retrieved, October 12, 2012, from www.cmha.ca/mental_health/benefits-of-good-mental-health/#.UHhzI45TEpo
- Mental Health Foundation (2006). Feeding Minds: the impact of food on mental health. Retrieved October 12, 2012, from www.mentalhealth.org.uk/content/assets/PDF/publications/FeedingMinds_exec_summary.pdf?view=Standard