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In a world where technology is so prevalent, working a 9 to 5 job can become hard to maintain. With access to work at your fingertips you put yourself in a role that means working an “always on” job without even realizing it. When you are always available you face the challenge of following a healthy work-life balance because instead of dividing your time evenly between the two, you give all your attention to work only.

Another factor that causes an unhealthy work-life balance is the fear of job loss, which can make you feel the need to work longer hours. Harvard Business School found that 94% of working professionals reported working more than 50 hours per week and nearly half said they worked more than 65 hours per week.

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is important for your mental and physical health. Focusing on things other than work such as family, friends and extracurricular activities not only keeps you active but keeps you sane as well. Too much stress and focus on a never-ending work day can hurt relationships, health and overall happiness.

Here are 5 tips to help you get on track to maintaining a healthy work-life balance:

  1. Add downtime into your schedule

When you are planning your week, add in time for friends, family and activities that allow you to relax, enjoy yourself and recharge before the next work day. If you don’t schedule out down time your free time will likely get filled with whatever you feel like needs to be done in that moment, such as things like work or catching up on emails. Making sure you have scheduled downtime will help you remember to actually take some time for yourself.

  1. Take a break

You may not be able to take a break every day, depending on how busy your day is. However, you should at least take thirty minutes to an hour for lunch each day. Taking a lunch that forces you to focus on something other than work, reboot and come back full and ready to work again. It also gives you the “break” you need each day. Make sure when taking your lunch break you are getting away from your desk. Even if you brought lunch from home eat in the break room or even go outside if the weather is nice.

  1. Unplug

Technology has probably helped your life in several ways from working, to communicating and especially accessibility. The problem is that the work day never seems to end. If you have a hard time putting your phone down and focusing on things other than work when you’re supposed to be off, then consider unplugging. A lot of work problems that come up after work hours can’t be solved until the next day anyway. So instead of stressing about them all night, turn your phone/computer off and deal with it the next day.

Schedule weekend plans and vacations

Believe it or not, you company wants you to use your PTO. That’s why they give it to you because they understand that everyone needs a break sometimes. Often times, companies have a “use it or lose it” policy associated with PTO too, so why wouldn’t you use your days? There is also a reason you’re given days off. Even if you don’t have weekends off per say, you do have days off that you consider your weekend. Plan something for at least a few hours on your day off to get you out of your normal weekday routine.

  1. Make time for family

Your relationships with your family and friends are the best source of happiness. If you become a workaholic and allow it to damage your personal relationships, you will not be happy in your work or home life. Some days you will have to work overtime and that’s understandable, you just want to avoid letting it become an everyday thing that will ultimately cause you to be unhappy. Making personal relationships a priority will actually improve your productivity and efficiency will at work.

Bottom line, start small and build from there. Don’t try to change every bad habit all in one day, it won’t work. Pick one thing to start with, work on it until you’re where you want to be and then move onto something else. Small successes, less stress and a happier mentality will encourage you to keep improving.

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There are pros and cons to everything in life, but one of the most talked about is technology. Most likely because technology is constantly evolving, and in doing so it consumes us more and more. Every new advancement intrigues us just a little bit more, which can be seen as good or bad depending on the way you look at it.

No matter what your feelings are regarding technology, it’s easy to agree that it would be hard to live without if it suddenly disappeared. We rely on technology so much now-a-days for communication, work, education, dating, staying in touch, shopping and much more. So what does that say about us? It isn’t completely a bad thing, but it isn’t necessarily a good thing either. So here’s the good, bad and the ugly of technology and what it says about us.

Good:

Without a doubt, technology is definitely good for us in numerous ways. The use of computers and smartphones allows us to communicate with anyone, anywhere in the world, in seconds. Not to mention the fact that we don’t have to use paper maps anymore. You can type an address right into your phone and directions of how to get there immediately pop up right at your fingertips. If you don’t have time to run to the bank or the post office to pay a bill, no problem. Online banking allows you to pay bills, transfer money and even deposit checks now. Technology even provides education for people with the ability to complete college via online courses. The ability to find out family history and research ancestors is also a great resource technology allows us to use.

Using technology to teach others and spread positivity through acts such as, blogging, sharing quotes, motivational videos and more is also a great way to use technology. Pinterest and Facebook both provide inspiring and educational videos and photos for a number of things. A couple of the most popular and favorite ones are cooking and exercising videos and photos. However, you can find just about anything from home improvement projects, DIY projects, event planning, ‘how to’, fashion and much more online.

Bad:

According to CNN, Americans devote 10 hours a day to screen time. The more that technology evolves, the more addicted and reliant we become. While technology can be healthy and useful, we need to remember to use it in moderation. When is becomes valued as a necessity is when it becomes a problem. In today’s world, we hate to be bored. However, if you have a phone or a computer, you don’t have to worry about that, and that’s the problem. Any time we feel bored, what’s the first thing we do? Pull out our phone or computer and find something online to pass time. Instead of sitting in silence with our own thoughts or talking to someone next to us, we find more comfort in our devices. The things that draw us to our screen are anything from games, to social media, apps and even emails. There is always something new to see or learn online, whether that be a photo, video, article or something else, we don’t have to worry about missing out with our constant access to technology.

Ugly:

Although there are multiple ways that technology is good for us, there is also an ugly side to it. The truth is that not everyone who uses technology, uses it for the rights reasons. For example, instead of using the internet to learn, people use it to view or research inappropriate content. The fact that you can find anything on the internet, can be a good and a bad thing. When it comes to the bad things, people need to remember that just because it is available doesn’t mean you need to look at it or read about it. In addition to viewing inappropriate content, technology can also be used to threaten or bully others. With everyone using social media, it makes it almost impossible not to find someone online and reach out to them. While this can be a great way to stay in touch, not everyone uses it for that reason, causing the Internet to be a scary place for those who have been victims of bullying.

Technology has played a big role in our lives, and as it continues to evolve, it will only become more popular. So, it is your responsibility to stay up-to-date with technology and use it only for good. Technology is not the problem, how we use it is. The way we choose to use it and how often determines if it’s good or bad, and helpful or harmful.

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Being tied down to your desk all day, rather than on your feet and active is obviously a problem for your health. In fact, siting all day long is one of the worst things you can do to your body. Dr. James Levine, an Endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic who has researched the impacts of sitting, describes sitting as the “new smoking.” Spending more than 6 hours a day sitting increases blood pressure and puts you in danger for diabetes, obesity and depression. On average, Americans sit anywhere from 7-9 hours per day. Unfortunately, even if you exercise regularly, that doesn’t outweigh the dangers associated with sitting.

After working all day, it’s hard to find time, or even want to find time, to exercise. When you get home from work, you are tired and might not be in the mood to go burn calories at the gym. Not to mention, many people have other priorities to attend to before and after work, therefore exercise often isn’t even an option for them. So, what should you do? Simple, adopt new practices and habits while sitting at your desk to maintain your health. Here are 10 options to get you started on a healthy and active work routine:

  1. Take an hourly walk

Whether that be to the drinking fountain, a co-worker’s office, the restroom or even just a lap around the building, try to make it a habit to get up and move every hour.

  1. Stretch

If you can’t take a walk, there is always the option to stretch. Stand up, move your legs and stretch.

  1. Count your steps

Consider investing in a wearable step device to track your steps and remind you to get up and move.

  1. Forget your phone and email

Try to walk over to a co-worker’s office and talk instead of emailing or calling them. This will get you up and moving and likely get your question answered faster too.

  1. Set alarms

When you get busy working, you tend to forget to move. Use your phone, your computer, or your smart watch to set alarms that remind you to get up and move.

  1. Choose healthy snacks

Instead of eating candy bars, chips and whatever else comes in the nearest vending machine, try healthy alternatives instead.

  1. Drink a lot of water

Bring a reusable water bottle with you to work and try to drink one full bottle before lunch and one full bottle before you leave.

  1. Say no to sweet treats

No matter how many tempting sweet treats are being offered at the office, always say no. If you really want a snack, try eating fruit or nuts instead.

  1. Skip eating out

Try making larger healthy meals at home so you can take leftovers to work with you. That way you won’t be tempted to eat out if you already have a meal planned.

  1. Swap out your chair for an exercise ball chair

This might sound crazy, but it can really help. Exercise ball chairs improve your posture, strengthen your core and even burn calories.

Adding simple exercises to your daily routine at work doesn’t have to be hard. Once you are used to the change in your routine, it will become the new normal. You will feel better throughout the day and even burn additional calories you wouldn’t normally burn. So don’t wait, get moving!

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