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Ten Tips for Achieving Better Work Life Balance

We are all looking to achieve optimal work/personal life balance. Consider the following tips for getting closer to reaching your best by establishing a routine that works for you. Whether you work from home (WFH) or commute to an office every day, even adopting one of these tips and putting it into practice will make a difference.

1. Work From Home tip – finish working on time. Work in a separate, designated office, room or workspace with natural light.

2. Keep your office and home surroundings organized and tidy. Go though closets, drawers, cabinets and get rid of ‘stuff’ that’s weighing you down.

3. When/if you get bored or ‘burned out,’ freshen up your routine (activities, hobbies, foods, recreation).

4. Take a lunch break away from your desk, for at least 30 minutes.

5. Avoid overbooking/over scheduling your days/time.

6. Stay on track with 5 essential tasks/day that get you closer to meeting your goals.

7. Read and then re-read emails before sending them. Keep them short, to the point, positive and professional – a reflection of you.

8. Make a note (journal) of the lesson/what you learned from making a mistake/a wrong choice so you don’t repeat it.

9. Group like tasks together in a comfortable, efficient and orderly manner. Avoid jumping around from task to task. Establish a flow to your day that makes sense.

10. Whenever you have a break, squeeze in a walk. Prioritize exercise, at least 15 minutes, either before or after work.

Sample SMART Goals

Most people have already heard that setting goals is an important step in making thoughts and wishes a reality. Whether professional, personal, academic or health-related, the goal you set should be SMART. This stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant/Realistic and Time-Bound. Time and again, these goals are more motivating and get you to the next level, no matter your objective. So, in the area of health, nutrition and fitness, what does a SMART goal look like (versus a general goal). Check out these 5 examples:

General: I will eat better. (what, how, when?)
SMART: I will eat 2 servings of green vegetables daily, at lunch and at dinner. (You can also specify a duration).

General: I will be more active. (how, what, when?)
SMART: I will wake up at 6:30 am (instead of 6:45 am) on M, W, and F so I can take a 15-minute walk (or bike ride) before getting ready for work. (You can specify a specific time for your walk).

General: I will eat less sugar to lower my blood sugar levels.
SMART: I will stop adding sugar to my coffee in the morning and have an afternoon snack of 1 oz nuts and a piece of fruit instead of 2 chocolate chip cookies.

General: I will de-clutter my bedroom closet and dresser drawers, donating some items.
SMART: Every Saturday afternoon for the next month I will go through 3 drawers and 1/4 of my closet. (Furthermore, you could add that you will have 2 piles: donate and throw away, etc).

General: I will start following the Mediterranean diet.
SMART: For the next month I will transition to a Mediterranean-style diet by doing the following: eating fish 2x/wk (Tuesday and Friday), snacking on nuts, and trying a new Mediterranean-style recipe on a Sunday evening.

Moderate Exercise Promotes Gut Health

Studies have shown that engaging in physical activity at a moderate level of intensity has a positive effect on metabolism and the microbiome. Intense training (over 70% of VO2max) reduces microbiome diversity but only in the short term. Elite endurance athletes have high levels of short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) in the gut. SCFAs are producers of healthy gut bacteria.

A sedentary lifestyle, however, is associated with, not only the development of chronic disease, but a loss of muscle mass. This loss of muscle mass, according to experiments conducted in experiments studying the effect of weightlessness on the body, occurs in conjunction with a decline in the amount of SCFA produced, and the microbes that are produced from them.

Other ways to increase SCFA in the gut? Lactobacillus is a bacteria that makes short-chain fatty acids in the intestine. To promote optimal lactobacillus levels, eat more veggies, such as leeks, Jerusalem artichokes, asparagus, onions and garlic. Other foods, such as Kefir, sauerkraut, miso, bananas, yogurt and sourdough bread are helpful.