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Celebrate National Work and Family Month by Establishing Good Habits

I’ll be the first to admit that I have trouble finding a good work-life balance. I think we’re all in the same boat, though. It seems like I’m constantly re-evaluating if I’m giving my work and my family my best, but I usually feel like I am falling short in one area or another. Maybe that is because I work from home most days! I wouldn’t have it any other way, though. I love the flexibility of my work. I’ve always wanted to stay at home with my children, and I’m thankful that I have a job that allows me to work from anywhere that I choose. Flexibility with work has evolved quite a bit over the years. When I was a kid, I don’t remember many of my friends’ parents who had the privilege of working from home. Most dads and moms went to the office and had a regular 8 to 5 job. I didn’t hear terms like dependent care expense accounts, community work days or staff retreats. Today, though, working from home is quite common. Some companies allow employees to work from home a few days per week, while other corporations find that they actually are saving money by their employees working from home. Finding a balance between work and home also means taking time for our health. As a kid, I don’t remember families going to wellness centers, running outdoors or participating in sports as much as we do today. Today, there are recreation leagues for all kinds of sports for children and for adults, and community events often have a health focus. It’s not uncommon for employees to get in a quick workout at lunch if there is a gym in the same building. My husband often uses his lunch hour to run a 5K on the treadmill and lift some weights. Companies often will sponsor health-related activities. Our workplaces know that if we stay physically, mentally and emotionally healthy, we will be able to give our best to or work and our families. In 2003, World At Work Alliance established the month of October as National Work and Family Month. Congress, businesses, universities and schools, and work-life advocacy groups recognize National Work and Family Month to help balance the responsibilities of home life and careers. The goal of this initiative is to encourage employers to invent and implement family-friendly policies and work-life benefits for their employees. One example of this concept of employers implementing family friendly, healthy policies was that my husband’s company in Virginia would pay for any employee and spouse to run the Monument 10K each spring. They paid our registration, and we would run with several other employees. The event was always a highlight of the year. Another program was called “What’s Up, Doc?” Money would be placed in our Flexible Spending Account after having a physical or doing other proactive activities for our health. Sometimes, we have to take charge of our own work-life balance. Putting down our iPhones, closing the laptop, and engaging in healthy activities with our families are some of the best choices that we can make with our down-time. Here are some activities that you can do with your family to show them that you value your time at home with them:

  • Go out and take a family walk
  • Play a game of kickball in the yard
  • Turn off the T.V. and have Family Game Night
  • Make a healthy dinner together. Look on our blog for some healthy recipes!
  • Schedule everyone in the family for regular physicals, dental exams and eye exams
  • Adults, schedule a colonoscopy at age 50 or earlier
  • Volunteer for a charitable organization
  • Take a class in art, languages or sports. See if you can find one you can take as a family.
  • Ride bikes together
  • See what is going on at your local library or community center and get involved
  • Be a good listener to your spouse and children. Engage your family in good conversation and ask thoughtful questions.
National Work and Family Month is a good place to start, but we need to take our own initiative to give our families and work our best efforts. Repetition creates permanent habits, so make positive choices that will become habit in the future. I’m going to start with being a better listener to my husband and kids and commit to regular workouts!

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