Monthly Health Message:

Balancing Your Work and Home Life for Good Health

October 2015

Karen Ensle Ed.D., RDN, FAND, CFCS

If you find it challenging to juggle the demands of your job and the rest of your life, you're not alone. Many people are putting in extra hours, or using their smartphones to be on call, when they're not physically at work. Others have been experiencing layoffs where they work and are working harder so they aren't laid off next. What to do? Focus your time and attention on things you can control. Beat burnout by taking time for activities and people that matter most to you. Here are five ways to bring more balance to your daily routine for better health:

  1. Plan Some Downtime Each Week. When you plan your week, schedule time with your family and friends that help you recharge. If a date night with your spouse or a function with friends is on your calendar, you'll have something to look forward to. Activities help as incentives for time management so you don't have to cancel activities. Managing your daily schedule keeps you productive at home and at work. Plan an activity with family or friends like going to a movie or taking a walk in the park and spend some quality time together.
  2. Drop Activities That Drain Your Time and Energy. Wasting time on activities or people that constantly complain at work adds little value to you and those around you. For example, spending time at work with a colleague who is constantly complaining is not productive or positive. Any conversations that make us less efficient and waste precious time should be substituted with positive activities with family and friends.
  3. Reconsider Your Errands. Can you get a family member to assist with household chores or do you need to outsource these activities? How about having your groceries delivered to your home by a family member or hiring someone to take care of your garden or mow your lawn? Even if your budget is limited, you will save time which may make it worth it to pay for these services. Try trading services with friends such as offering to do household tasks that you enjoy or that you were planning to do anyway. Maybe exchanging gardening services for shopping services would be helpful, or if you like to bake, you could prepare and freeze some desserts and give them to a friend as a holiday gift.
  4. Get Moving for Your Health. Everyone is busy today and complains about making time to stay physically active. In reality, exercise will increase your energy level and you will get more work done around the house and at work. Exercise such as walking has many benefits including keeping your blood sugar levels down, keeping you alert and your waistline slim. By being physically active daily, you will stay alert, feel invigorated and your head will feel clearer as it allows you time to relax and manage your day.
  5. Take Small Steps. Bringing balance to your life does not require major changes in your lifestyle. Set realistic goals like leaving work on time most nights and make sure to include important activities into your schedule. Start by spending an hour a week on a fun activity or planning some family time together. By, taking 15 or 20 minutes to take a walk may do the trick or do anything that will give you some new energy. Take some small steps like taking a taking a walk to a local park, relaxing and reading a new book or listening to your favorite music. Remember, YOU have to make the time to balance your work and home life for better health.
Source: Uscher, Jenn. 5 Tips for Better Work-Life Balance. Web MD. (2013). http://www.webmd.com/women/features/balance-life#2


  1. Rutgers
  2. Executive Dean of Agriculture and Natural Resources
  3. School of Environmental and Biological Sciences