A healthy work life balance is a juggling act. When you are able to work at your desired level, maintain excellent energy and vitality while also maintaining quality personal and family relationships you have a sustainable and healthy work life balance.
When we make the choice to start having children this juggling of our career, family life and health requires a whole new level of concentration. A recent study is showing that parents are choosing to sacrifice their health in order to juggle their home life and careers…
The study, published in the May, 2011 Journal of Pediatrics found that parents of young children have unhealthier lifestyles than their counterparts without kids.
Researchers surveyed 1520 adults of which 149 of them were parents compared them to the 1371 adults who had no children. More than 90% of the parents reported that their youngest child was one year old or younger.
The survey participants were asked about their daily dietary habits such as their intake of fruits,vegetables and sugar-sweetened beverages. They were also questioned on how much mild, moderate and strenuous physical exercise they did.
The researchers found that the Dad’s were spending about the same amount of time doing physical activity than men without children but did 93 less minutes per week of the moderate to strenuous exercise that has been shown to be of greatest benefit for fitness, energy levels and heart health. Having children did not create a significant difference in the men’s diet or body wieght.
The story for Mums was a lot more serious…
Mums spent 50 minutes a week less on total exercise and did less of moderate to strenuous exercise than non-Mums. In addition to exercising less Mums consumed 400 calories a day more than women without children. This extra calorie load came about through higher consumption of sugary soft drinks/sodas and foods higher in saturated fats. This resulted in Mums being fatter than childless women averaging a whole point higher on the body mass index (BMI).
Surely beautiful children like this can’t be bad for us?
So if you are like most parents who have found that having children has thrown your work life balance and lifestyle out of kilter, how do you go about regaining some of that balance?…
Here’s four steps to regain a healthier work life balance as a parent…
Regaining work life balance for parents Step 1…Create a support network
Ask for help. Ask your relatives. Ask your neighbours. Ask your friends. Ask your health practitioner. Ask other mothers.
Ask others to baby sit for an hour or two so you can have the time to catch up on some sleep, do a bit of exercise or even prepare some healthier meals.
Regaining work life balance for parents Step 2… Stop putting your family first
Sacrificing your health for the sake of raising your child is NOT parenting and is not in the best interest of your child. In fact, you are teaching them how to be stressed out, run down and unhealthy!
Regaining work life balance for parents Step 3…Supplement your diet
If you are not eating enough fruits and vegetables, their is a quality fruit and vegetable supplement called Juice Plus that can help top up your fruit and vegetable intake to healthy levels.
Regaining work life balance for parents Step 4… Exercise smarter
There is more and more reserach showing that by varying intensity of your exercise you can achieve the desired benefits of exercise in less time. If you are stretched for time try this exercise progam that can save you hours.
References: Berge, J.M et al.Are Parents of Young Children Practicing Healthy Nutrition and Physical Activity Behaviors? Pediatrics, May 2011; 127: 881 – 887.