Bangor Metro’s 2012
women’sguide looking great, feeling great beauty inside and out
finding time to work out it’s not as hard as you think
work, life & balance how to stay sane
eating healthy delicious & nutritious
health screenings what to do when
2012 women’s Guide by Bangor Metro
ashioning a clothing collection from scratch isn’t easy, and it isn’t cheap. But you don’t have to spend a fortune to accrue a stylish office wardrobe. By investing in a few key pieces, you’ll have the makings of a complete look to get you from Monday through Friday and maybe even transition into evenings and weekends. The key to purchasing an office wardrobe is to buy quality pieces that you can mix and match to create infinite looks. If you know what you’re looking for and you stick to a budget, you can have a closet full of stylish, adaptable office attire without breaking the bank. Here’s how.
edited boutique where every item fits and flatters just you. Once you have pared down your closet, make a list of new items you need to complete your work wardrobe. Your list will be a work in progress, so be open to updating as you go along. Head to the stores with a list of what you really need; you will buy much less than you would without a list in hand. Every woman should own a suit, little black dress, and a pair of pumps. Apparel such as button down shirts, blazers, cotton tees, and tailored trousers and skirts are additional must-have fashion staples to have hanging in your closet.
Shop Your Closet Analyze your existing wardrobe to get a better picture of what you will need to add. Set aside time to thoroughly search your closet. Select your best pieces as well as your basics. Let go of items that are outdated, the wrong size, or unflattering for your skin tone and body type. Imagine your closet as the perfectly
Keep It Classic With all the talk of trends, it’s easy to forget the power of streamlined, reliable basics. Your work clothes are your office allies, so when you hit the stores, keep a keen eye toward sculpting your professional image. Build on your existing wardrobe with classic pieces of clothing. Selecting neutral or dark hues, such as
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First impressions are everything, and in the working world, it’s essential that you convey the right image to your colleagues and co-workers. Presenting your best self starts with putting together the right wardrobe. By Susan Stephenson
tan, gray, navy, and black will help you achieve a professional look. You can jazz up your outfit with accessories or embellishments in rich patterns and bright colors. Think quality not quantity. Pay attention to the item’s fit, construction, and versatility when making your selections and you’re sure to find go-to pieces that will work for you throughout the seasons. Buy In Moderation Instead of making one large shopping trip, pick up essential pieces first. Spreading out your purchases will allow you to maintain your budget. Smarter choices equal smarter style. Accessories are an easy, costeffective way to make an outfit feel new, as adding or changing accessories can completely alter the look of an outfit. Simply adding a scarf can transform something as basic as trousers and a t-shirt by adding a pop of color, texture, and layer to your look. Though you might not think to prioritize these little extras, they’re key to mixing up your look while maintaining a professional and sophisticated style. Look for a few belts, scarves, and statement bracelets and necklaces that complement your clothing. Looking sharp at the office doesn’t have to be an expensive venture. Building a professional wardrobe on a tight budget is easy with some strategic planning. Before you know it, you’ll have a great work and casual wardrobe that looks professional and well edited. Susan Stephenson is a business owner, blogger, and boutique buyer who is passionate about helping women make the most of their wardrobes. Visit her at www. welltodoyou.com and connect with her at @WellToDoYou.
Timeline for Health Appointments Be healthy at every age. In addition to your annual checkup, here is a timeline to follow to make sure you catch health problems early on, before they become a serious matter. 18 years old: Planning on going to college? Discuss with your doctor the possibility of having a meningococcal vaccine if your college or university doesn’t already require it—the vaccine will help decrease your chances of contracting meningitis while living in the dorms. 20 years old: You should start having a clinical breast exam at least every three years. Your doctor may do one at your annual visit, if not, ask. Make sure you are conducting breast self-exams at home, too, looking for unusual lumps. At this age you will also want to start having your cholesterol checked. A fasting lipoprotein profile will measure good cholesterol (HDL) as well as bad cholesterol (LDL). 21 years old: Women should have their first pap smear within three years of first having sex. If you haven’t had a pap smear by the time you are 21-years-old, it’s time to get your first. Be prepared to make it a yearly visit. 25 years old: It’s a good idea to have regular blood pressure tests, one every two years. 30 years old : Start paying attention to your skin. If you’ve got suspicious moles or blemishes, see your doctor to make sure they’re not a threat. Summertime sun exposure can do a number on your skin—make sure you check your back, too.
supplements. Most women need 400 micrograms of folate a day, even when they’re not pregnant. It helps keep your blood healthy and helps to prevent anemia. Folic acid is a B vitamin that is found in foods like spinach, orange juice, and enriched grains. Taking folic acid can help prevent birth defects involving underdevelopment of the brain and spinal cord. The sooner you start in on your folic acid supplements, the better off your baby will be.
35 years old: Now is a good time to have a thyroid test. The thyroid is a gland that makes a hormone essential to proper tissue and organ function. 40 years old: If you haven’t had a mammogram yet, it’s time to make an appointment. This should now be an annual occurrence, even if you don’t have a high risk for breast cancer. 45 years old: About 12 million American women have diabetes. If you haven’t experienced any of the symptoms prior to this age, then great! It still makes sense to get a blood glucose test, because about half of those 12 million American women don’t know they have the disease. 65 years old and older: Beat osteoporosis by getting a bone mineral test done. This test takes a special x-ray of your bones to make sure you’re still going strong. Bone health is especially important for women, and bone loss is preventable.
30s: If you are planning on getting pregnant, start taking folic acid 2012 women’s Guide by Bangor Metro
Looking Good & Feeling Great Spending time outside during the summer is a must! Whether you prefer to garden, hike, or simply hit the beach, protecting your skin and looking good are of the utmost importance. re you ready to head out the By Robin Ball and Danielle Dumont
door and enjoy the beautiful weather? Remember, you only have one face and body—you need to protect yourself. No matter what the season, keeping your skin healthy will benefit you in the long run. Skin cancer is on the rise, especially in young adults. You don’t need to buy expensive products or treatments for combating the sun’s harmful rays—most items you can find right at your local grocery store. Here are some easy ways you can protect your skin.
Drink plenty of water Ninety-six percent of Americans are dehydrated, and since our bodies are mostly made up of water, this is detrimental to our skin. The average person should consume half her body weight in ounces of water every day. For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, you should be drinking 70 ounces of water—roughly five tall glasses. 4
2012 women’s Guide by Bangor Metro
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Use sunblock Sunblock is one product you should never leave the house without. Stock up on SPF (skin protection factor) 30 or higher. It’s the single most important skincare product you put on your face and body. If you are spending the day outside, especially if you will be in the water, reapply sunscreen every hour. There are ingredients in sunscreen that are not waterproof, despite what the bottle may tell you. The average body needs 1.5 ounces (the equivalent of a full shot glass) of sunblock, applied over the entire body, to be sufficiently covered.
Exfoliate Summer is a time when skin can get especially dry and flaky, due to overexposure to the sun and drying salt water. Exfoliate two to three times per week to keep skin glowing and to ensure proper penetration of skincare products. A great inexpensive exfoliating scrub is olive oil and sugar mixed together. While it’s true that our skin may feel greasier in the summer, moisturizing twice a day is essential to skin health. Switch to a lighter oil-free formula for the summer months. Wear hats and large sunglasses It might seem silly, but large sunglasses help protect the delicate eye area from burning. Hats are a great way to protect your face, whether you’re out gardening or spending the day on the beach. Pay attention to your time in the sun If you are spending your whole day outside, make sure to find some shade. Even the best sunblock can’t protect you from all day sun exposure. Take your sunburn seriously Treat burns with aloe or an after-sun care product. Check your body for suspicious moles or marks Take note of changes in color, size, and/or texture of moles or marks. Contact your doctor right away if you find something that concerns you. It’s better to be overly cautious than to let potentially cancerous marks go untreated. Summer is a time when you can have lots of fun when it comes to your beauty regimen. And you don’t have to spend a ton of money on designer makeup or expensive cleansers to get the results you want. Here
are our picks for some of the best budget beauty buys of the season. Cetaphil. A great low-priced cleanser with a formula for all skin types. This product cleans the skin without stripping natural oils. You can buy a 16 oz. bottle for under $10 at your local grocery store. E.L.F. Contouring Blush and Bronzing Powder. With a color and pigmentation that rivals NARS, this is one beauty product every woman should have. And at only $3, it’s 10 times less expensive than comparable brands. Use the blush to highlight the tops of cheekbones and the bronzer to contour the lower part of the cheek for a sculpted look. Maybelline Baby Lips. Say goodbye to ordinary chapstick. With a six-shade range and an SPF of 20, this easy-to-use lip balm is a no-brainer for any Mainer. The perfect hint of color, eight hours of lasting hydration, and a price tag under $4; this product is perfect for use on the beach. Cover Girl and Olay Tone Rehab 2-in-1 Foundation. This product is perfect for the working woman who wants to moisturize and cover up in one easy step. It comes in a wide variety of shades for only $13.99. Loreal H.I.P. Makeup. This line of High Intensity Pigment shadows, blushes, and lip colors has a concentration of pigment comparable to luxury brands. H.I.P. offers a huge selection of colors and finishes and is now branching out into primers and tone correctors. And at $6 and up you can buy more than one! Robin Ball is the general manager and Danielle Dumont is a licensed esthetician at Anthony John’s Day Spa in Bangor. 2012 women’s Guide by Bangor Metro
ood is arguably the most important thing we spend our money on. It is our body’s fuel after all, without which we would not be able to work, play, or do any of the things that we love. But there is no doubt that groceries are expensive. So what is a person who wants to eat well on a budget to do? There is couponing, but if you are on a quest to eat healthy foods you have probably already discovered that many coupons are for processed, overly salty, and sugary foods. That’s not to say if you find a coupon for a product you regularly buy that you shouldn’t use it. You should! But perhaps some of these reasonable solutions will work even better for you. Buy fruit and vegetables in season Food is less expensive when food growers have plenty of it and are trying to sell it while it’s fresh. Have you noticed that the price of strawberries and blueberries is almost double in the winter, as opposed to the summer? Check out seasonal food guides if you are not sure when certain foods are available in Maine. One good resource is the website of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association at www.mofga.org. Don’t waste food You paid for it, after all. Are the bananas on your counter starting to speckle with brown? Peel them and put them in a container in the freezer. They make any smoothie cold and creamy. Did you buy too many of those delicious in-season strawberries? Those can be frozen to use later too! The University of Maine Cooperative Extension website is a fabulous resource, with food preservation tips and instructions galore. Check them out at www.extension. umaine.edu.
You don’t need to make a lot of money to feed your family well. By taking advantage of Maine’s local growing season and planning ahead, you can easily save money on your grocery bill. By Lori Fecteau
2012 women’s Guide by Bangor Metro
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Eat Well on a Budget
Experiment with a shopping schedule that works for you and your family. Do you find yourself shopping twice a month and stockpiling all kinds of fresh fruits and veggies and lean meats, only to find that things come up at work causing you to eat out one night or grab a pizza on the way home another night, because you are too tired to cook what you purchased? Or do you find that you just don’t feel like eating what you bought? Shopping more frequently may be a better fit for your lifestyle. Switch up your proteins Beans, peas, and legumes are great sources of protein and are very inexpensive when compared to meat. One or two days a week, try trading the hamburger for a chickpea burger or a bean and veggie chili. You won’t miss the meat, you’ll save money, and you’ll likely consume less un-
healthy fats than you would if you had chosen the hamburger.
have in its entirety to save money and minimize waste.
Be wary of portion sizes When dining out, order off the appetizer or soups and salads menu, or split an entrée with a friend or significant other. We all know portion sizes at many restaurants are way over what is ideal anyway, so you save money and eat a reasonable portion.
Grow your own food Soil and seeds can be purchased very inexpensively and provide a great project to do with kids. And who doesn’t love fresh carrots, tomatoes, and cucumbers from the garden? Think about what you and your family love to eat, and start small, adding a new veggie or two each year. If you don’t have a yard, try a container garden.
Shop smarter When planning your meals and shopping list, think about common ingredients that can be used in multiple recipes. Maybe you are going to make a spinach salad one night for dinner, but you know you won’t use the entire bag of spinach. Think about what else you could make with the remainder of the greens. Lasagna with spinach? Eggs Florentine? A green smoothie? Utilize what you
Finally, save where you can, but also make sure to buy high quality food that you love. Food is meant to be savored and enjoyed. Lori Fecteau is the public health educator at Bangor Region Public Health and Wellness, a local Healthy Maine Partnership.
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Find a Doctor: 207-596-8200 | www.penbayhealthcare.org 2012 women’s Guide by Bangor Metro
How Busy Women Find Time to Work Out time to exercise? Think again! Read on to learn about some creative ways to stay fit and have fun, no matter how busy you are. By Carol Lane
2012 women’s Guide by Bangor Metro
ost women lead hectic lifestyles balancing family, work, and/or school, never mind fitting in any extracurricular activities and time to work out! So what’s the answer? How can women make it all go right, so they can enjoy their family, raise their kids, do well at work or school, and have time to exercise and do other things? Well, every situation and person is different so there is no one set answer, although there is an answer for you! Ideally you would want to consult with a physical therapist who would fully assess your physical condition and situation, no matter what shape you are in. A physical therapist who specializes in preventative medicine or fitness can take an hour to do a detailed evaluation that includes looking at your posture, muscle imbalances, cardiovascular health, and risk factors; how well
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Think you don’t have
your body uses oxygen while you exercise, and many other specific tests. Armed with this information, he or she can put together a safe and effective, personalized program just for you. This program will help you stay efficient with your workouts so you can focus on the areas that need the most attention with the least amount of time spent exercising. Let’s face it, not everyone can make it to the gym to work out. A physical therapist can help you to be creative and show you how to incorporate specific exercises into your home life. This might sound a bit funny, but aerobic vacuuming is a great example! Get your heart rate elevated to your target heart rate to burn some serious calories while cleaning your house. Another example— say you’ve recently had a baby and your therapist finds your lower abdominal muscles to be weak (quite common with postpartum moms). You can learn how to do abdominal strengthening exercises incorporating baby into your workout. Are you are a businesswoman who sits at a desk most of the day, then rushes home to feed the kids? You can find some time to work out at your desk. Maybe you need some good hamstring stretches and upper back strengthening and postural exercises. You can grab an exercise band and do your exercises during the day or on your lunch break. You’ll start to feel better about yourself and can squeeze in an extra 20 minutes of aerobic exercise at home, after the kids go to bed, or first thing in the morning. Another idea is to work out with your kids. Bring them to the gym with you. Kids can do some push-ups with you, sit on your feet while you do sit-ups, lift weights (the light ones) while you lift weights, run or walk on a track with you, and even cheer you on while you’re on certain gym equipment. Sometimes you just have to be creative! Many gyms have someone who will set you up on a program to get you started, and most gyms open early in the morning, before you go to work, and have late evening hours, so you can make it there after work. Sometimes we just need to make a commitment to ourselves. The idea is “when there’s a will there’s a way,” and with a little help on fine-tuning an exercise program that totally suits your needs, you can make the time to get that workout in and make it fun! And if you want, a physical therapist can look not only at your health and fitness level, but also at your home situation and help you figure out the best way to fit that workout into your schedule. Carol Lane, CEO of Results Physical Therapy and Wellness Center with locations in Brewer, Dover-Foxcroft, and Dexter, is a physical therapist with over 25 years of experience.
Your Beauty Questions Answered How do I get rid of the dark circles under my eyes? Dark eye circles can be a result of several internal issues such as fatigue, dehydration, allergies, poor nutrition, genetics, and, unfortunately, aging. The under-eye area appears dark due to the weak capillaries underneath the delicate skin in the eye area. Eye creams with vitamin K and antioxidants are helpful for repairing the capillaries and aiding in proper circulation. —Kasey Blood, Rheal Day Spa, Rockland What is the most popular hairstyle for thin hair? Shorter cuts have a weightless appearance and can be fun and youthful. Layers will add movement and volume to thin, fine hair and help maintain a fresh look. Add color for dimension, texture, and shine. —Mary McGary, Balance Hair & Body, Bangor What are some of the current nail trends I should know about? Gel polish is the newest trend this year. It’s a long-lasting wear for natural nails, with the consistency of a regular polish but the durability of acrylic nails. It comes in a variety of colors and most nail companies carry it. Also, ladies are rocking the “bling” finger. You create this look by giving one finger on each hand—usually the ring finger—a different color or design than the rest. —Amanda Ripton Pelletier, Color Me Bronze, Millinocket How do I get shiny hair? When blow drying, use a cool setting. Once your hair is dry then apply a shine serum from the mid shaft of your hair to the ends. —Dianne Lane Terio, Steele Magnolias, Millinocket How do I get rid of acne scars? Lasers provide a quick solution, but can be expensive. If the scar is new, apply vitamin E oil to the area after cleaning it thoroughly and leave it on the skin. Regular exfoliation treatments, such as microdermabrasion and chemical peels, can also help the skin by speeding up new, healthy cell production. —Kasey Blood, Rheal Day Spa, Rockland I don’t like to wear a lot of makeup, but what should I make sure to wear for a polished look? The basics would be a good tinted moisturizer with SPF protection to even out your skin tone, mascara, a bit of blush, and lipgloss. —Sharon Wheaton, Scissor Excitement, Hampden 2012 women’s Guide by Bangor Metro
Women When it comes to health care choices, women have proven to be the decision makers for their families. By Linda Ziegler, RN
Women proactively seek medical information for themselves and their loved ones. Nine out of 10 women seek health information via the web. Women are more social media savvy than ever. Seventy-three percent of online women are now active social media users 10
2012 women’s Guide by Bangor Metro
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one are the days where your grandmother deferred to the opinions of others in matters of healthcare choices. Today’s American woman is the best educated, best financed, and most savvy consumer on the face of the planet. It’s a fact: women are responsible for 90% of all healthcare decisions, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. That’s right, women control most of the purchasing power for household health and wellness products and services— that’s 90% of the $150 billion that is spent on health and wellness product and services by U.S. consumers alone. These influential and powerful women are the Chief Health and Wellness Officers for their families. Why? Leading research indicates that:
as Decision Makers and engage weekly with top social media platforms (Nielsen Company). Women influence others to take action. Thirty-three percent of women with a health condition go online to find other women like them for advice. Women are the buyers in today’s market. Women wield formidable purchasing power, controlling $5 trillion in spending annually. In addition, women are now making healthcare decisions for themselves, their partners, and up to three other generations of their own families. As mothers, sisters, wives, daughters, and friends, women are often providers of care for those around them and play a significant role in encouraging their loved ones to seek medical attention. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), women have very distinct views on what they would like from the health care system: 68% want same-day appointments with their primary care physician for unexpected illnesses. 63% want a relationship with a doctor who knows their medical history. 63% want one doctor who can manage chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, asthma and heart disease. 60% think that technology that allows doctors to send medical records and patient histories
to other doctors is extremely important. 57% say one doctor who can provide high quality healthcare to all family members regardless of age or gender was extremely important. 50% say doctors should be able to send prescriptions to pharmacists electronically. Women will choose what’s right for them, and if the care satisfies them, they will bring their husband sand children into the same service. The majority of those women are consulting the Internet for health information. But the Internet represents both a challenge and an opportunity as an information source for busy women. The huge number of websites means that the information women seek may not always be easy to find and may explain why women say they are increasingly turning to family and friends for information and to resources in their own community. At community health learning
centers around the state, women and their families are attending topic-specific programs and classes that provide information or experiences to help guide an informed choice that is the right one for them and their families. These centers offer opportunities to hear from local experts and attend education programs on conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke or learn how to create an advanced directive. They offer wellness programs like healthy cooking classes, smoking cessation programs, and yoga and meditation classes to help manage stress or other chronic problems. These centers offer movement and music classes for parents and kids and screening clinics and support groups for new moms or for people with specific health issues. Linda Ziegler is the co-director of the Picker Family Resource Center at Pen Bay Healthcare. Women’s health has been at the heart of her nursing practice for over 30 years.
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124 Bangor Road • Ellsworth • Manager—Kelley Thayer 207-667-7333 • www.ellsworthmeﬂorist.com 2012 women’s Guide by Bangor Metro
No Bones About It Osteoporosis is a concern for women everywhere, but bone loss is preventable. Find out the steps you should be taking to take better care of your body.
ave you ever had a bone break more easily than you expected? Osteoporosis is responsible for more than 1.5 million fractures every year. The disease weakens bone, which can then lead to fractures, height loss, spinal deformity, chronic pain, diminished lung function, nutritional deficiencies, and more. “Bone loss is preventable,” says Elizabeth Duke NP-C, who runs St. Joseph Internal Medicine’s Osteoporosis Clinic. “If you’ve suffered a fracture due to osteoporosis, an osteoporosis specialist can work with you to restore function.” Because bone is a living tissue, it is constantly being absorbed and 12
2012 women’s Guide by Bangor Metro
replaced. When the creation of new bone doesn’t keep up, osteoporosis is the result. When you’re young, your body more readily makes new bone, and bone mass increases. As you age, bone mass is lost more quickly than it is created. Osteoporosis affects more women than men, and is commonly associated with menopause, due to reduced estrogen levels that result in more rapid loss of bone mass. It’s important for women, particularly around the time of menopause, to have a bone density exam, often referred to as a DXA (Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry) scan. The scan can detect your osteoporosis risk by measuring bone mineral density in your spine, hip, or wrist.
“It’s a very simple, painless procedure,” says Pam Sirois, Director of the St. Joseph Regional Breast Care Center and Bone Densitometry Department. “You simply lie still on a padded table while the scan takes place. There are no injections and it usually takes less than 15 minutes.” After an evaluation and bone density test, your healthcare provider can put together a plan to help build bone mass and reduce your risk of further problems related to osteoporosis. Duke works with her patients to adjust their diet, create exercise routines, and prescribe medication to help reduce their risk of bone loss. “By improving posture, flexibility, and strength, we help patients pre-
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By Amy Allen
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vent falls and fractures and reduce their pain levels,â€? she says. Both men and women are at risk for osteoporosis, particularly white and Asian women. Other risk factors include smoking, a sedentary lifestyle, a family history of osteoporosis, and certain medical conditions and treatments. If you are concerned about osteoporosis, talk to your healthcare provider about what you can do to slow bone loss and prevent fractures. Amy Allen is a Public Relations Associate for St. Joseph Healthcare. Originally from Presque Isle, she is now happily settled in Hampden with her husband and two children. 2012 womenâ€™s Guide by Bangor Metro
The Great Have you ever found yourself struggling to find time to do it all? If you answered yes, it is important to know that you are not alone. By Willow Sherwood
At Home Recognize you can’t do everything. We are not superhuman—although these days it feels as if that’s the expectation. The biggest challenge for people is learning to say no. If you set boundaries as 14
2012 women’s Guide by Bangor Metro
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or women in the workforce, there are numerous challenges that arise, as they skillfully balance work and life. With nearly 70% of U.S. women aged 25–54 employed outside the home, it is essential for women to know how to advocate for themselves, both at home and in the workplace. Knowing how to do so will not only ensure mental well-being, but will also help your physical health. Even if your workplace does not have policies that help you balance work and home, there are things you can do to keep your stress levels at a manageable level. I recently consulted with Jennifer Sabatini Fraone, Assistant Director of the Boston College Center for Work and Family, and asked her what tips she would offer to women to help them achieve a better balance at work and home.
Balancing Act to what you’re willing and able to do, saying no will become easier. Manage your boundaries. When you return home after work, try to focus on your family and home life. Be “present” wherever you are at the moment. Use small rituals, like changing out of work clothes or taking the dog for a walk, to help you make a successful transition between work and home. Do something you love every day. Whether it is listening to an uplifting song, going for a walk, sipping a cup of coffee, or chatting with a friend, take the time to engage in an activity that brings you energy. Working parents are especially notorious for not taking time for self-care because it does not fit in with their schedules. Negotiate with your spouse or partner. There is much to be done on the home front, whether you have children or not. Divide and conquer: be willing to do your share and ensure that you both remain accountable for your contributions. Have an open, candid conversation with your partner about how your home life can work best, and what help you might need. Give back to others. Whether it’s mentoring someone at work, in your school, or community, contributing to the well-being of others can be gratifying and energizing. That energy can in turn help you in both your worklife and home-life environments. At Work Manage your technology; don’t let it manage you. Our smart phones have become our
constant companions and our most trusted assistants, which makes it extremely difficult to go even 10 minutes without checking messages. The expectation is that we are always on, but that doesn’t mean we have to respond to everything immediately. Be agile and mobile: demonstrate you can get results without sitting in the office. Organizations have become a lot more open to telecommuting, but the perception still remains that if you’re not in the office, you’re not being as productive. If you can demonstrate that you can get results and do what needs to get done, then telecommuting can be a win-win for both employer and employee. Don’t be afraid to speak up: ask for flexibility and deliver. Many leading companies are creating cultures that support their employees in their quest to have fulfilling professional and personal lives. If yours doesn’t yet do this, why not try to start some movement? Make your request in writing and back it up with some recommendations about how you will ensure that your productivity will remain stable. Take a break to refresh and refocus. Unplugging from work is so important. Whether you refocus with a vacation, an off-site lunch, or a specific wind-down after you get home, that act of refocusing will help you bring a fresh outlook and innovative approaches to your job. Acknowledge and support your peers and their lives. Worklife issues are gender-neutral:
everyone wants a life outside of work. If you are understanding of your co-workers’ work-life balance issues, they will likely be more understanding of your situation in return. By slowly incorporating these tips into your life and workplace, you will find that you have more balance in your life and more time for what is truly important to you. Willow Sherwood is the Executive Director of the Wellness Council of Maine, a non-profit organization working to improve the health of Maine’s workforce.
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