Knock out Two Resolutions with One Effort

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Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions this year? If you decided that among your goals for the coming year you wanted to lose weight and to improve your work-life balance, you are in luck. Researchers have found that exercise can help you achieve both.

"Individuals who exercised regularly were more confident they could handle the interaction of their work and home life and were less likely to be stressed at work," said lead author Russell Clayton, assistant professor of management at Saint Leo University.

The more people work, the less time they have to spend on other activities, such as personal care or leisure. The amount and quality of leisure time is important for people’s overall well-being, and can bring additional physical and mental health benefits.

Obviously, with a crazy work schedule it is hard to make time for exercise, but doing so will ultimately help you get more done by boosting energy and the ability to concentrate. One easy way to get started is to carve out just a 15-minute block of time for a short walk or a quick bout of intense exercise. Work your way up to 30 minutes, even if you do it in two sessions of 15 minutes each.

Where can you find a block of time to squeeze in a workout? Look at your schedule. Surely there are a few things you can move around. For example, if you live close to where you work, turn your commute into a workout by biking or walking. If your work-route isn’t safe, try other ways to make parts of your commute exercise-friendly, such as by parking at the far end of the lot or making an effort to take the stairs instead of elevator.

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Other tips include setting your alarm thirty minutes early and having your workout clothes already laid out, packing a healthy lunch and using part of the time to take a walk, or invite family and friends for a group workout after work/school (instead of sitting in front of the tube or hitting the bar for happy hour.)

There are other ways to improve your work-life balance as well, even if you are putting in more hours on the job.

"A lot of people are having a more difficult time finding balance in their lives because there have been cutbacks or layoffs where they work. They're afraid it may happen to them, so they're putting in more hours," says psychologist Robert Brooks, PhD, co-author of The Power of Resilience: Achieving Balance, Confidence, and Personal Strength in Your Life. "But even if you don't have much control over the hours you have to work, you can ask yourself: In what other ways am I bringing greater enjoyment into my life? Focus your time and attention on things you can control."

Take a look at your day and drop activities that sap your time or energy. "Many people waste their time on activities or people that add no value -- for example, spending too much time at work with a colleague who is constantly venting and gossiping," says Marilyn Puder-York, PhD, a psychologist and executive coach in New York and Connecticut. Her advice: Take stock of activities that don't enhance your career or personal life, and minimize the time you spend on them.

Also, remember that a little downtime for yourself ultimately will help both your personal and professional life by offering time to relax. Set a goal to leave the office on time (or early) just one day per week. Slowly build into that extra time activities that mean the most to you. Even just 15 minutes should help recharge, yet not be so much time you feel you are taking away from “important” tasks.

Reference:
Dick Jones Communication: Study: Want Better Work-Life Balance? Exercise
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development – Work Life Balance

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