By: Angie Horjus, NBC-HWC
Each of us is given just 24 hours in a day. How we choose to use that time is not necessarily time management, but self-management. It’s harder than ever with the impact of COVID-19, especially if lines are blurred between work, home and school schedules. Exploring ways to be healthy with the time we have for ourselves, others, projects, and more can have magnificently positive outcomes. Observe the people, places and things you engage with every day. As I often tell my health coaching clients, an objective observation can offer clarity as to whether time spent is positive and healthy. Not satisfied with what you’re seeing? Here are five of my favorite ways to focus on more balanced time management:
Try new ways to bond with your spouse, parents, children and friends. Spending quality time with those we value helps us keep stress in check. What might this look like for you? What does it mean to have quality time, or healthy time, with those most important to you? Remember that it doesn’t have to be expensive or lengthy. A 20 minute walk while chatting with a friend after a meal or a 15 minute board game shared with a child (with those phones switched off) can have benefits that last all week long. It’s also important to spend time with yourself. Meditation is scientifically proven to be a measure of quality time spent. Schedule being present with yourself and others in your calendar the same way you would a work meeting or doctor appointment. And commit to it. During COVID-19, being present might still need to be virtual for social distancing. Here are some ways to socialize safely.
Surround yourself with positive and proactive people.
We need people. We also need to make sure we surround ourselves with people who make us feel valued and nourish our self-esteem. Your people should put you at ease, and also grow you and help you stretch yourself mentally and emotionally. Remember the family member who does this for you and give them a call this weekend. Or message a friend or coworker who you know has your best interest at heart, reciprocally. Healthy people will listen to you and not make assumptions. What better way to spend your time? When we’re engaged in a healthy way with others and ourselves, we enhance relationships and everyone wins.
Prioritize your places.
Take into consideration where you spend your time and what’s important about each location. Giving ourselves the gift of time in faraway places could mean taking a vacation (although due to COVID-19, you may want to plan into the fall or early 2021). Getting away from home or the daily grind of work is not only physically refreshing, it can also be cathartic and healing. Spend quality time in nature—evidence shows that a simple 15 minute walk in a wooded area is extremely healthy for mind, body and spirit and you can safely do this while social distancing.
Plan healthy time at work, too.
Do what you love and love what you do. Healthy time at work is important to address, because we spend so much time there every week and if you’re working from home, it could be harder than ever right now. Making a living is necessary to afford what we need. Making a life means prioritizing moments for positive mindfulness. Schedule regular breaks in your work calendar so each day doesn’t get dominated by meetings, projects and never-ending emails. Taking a quick break away from your workspace could be as simple as going somewhere in your own mind. Try a walking meditation—taking deep, relaxing breathes to clear the mind and reset your intention for the day. This allows you to indulge, if only for a moment, in the joy and inspiration that can come from a much-needed break.
Choose a few of your favorite things.
Making choices about what we surround ourselves with matters. It can be favorite books, flowers or plants, pictures, windows, music, colors—anything that soothes us. Maybe it’s a soft pillow on a work chair or a favorite scent at home or the office. Environment and what we put our eyes on matters to our mental fitness. Think about how good you feel when you enter a space that is tidy and organized, yet comfortable. Creating places in your home or at work with meaningful focal points will help to reduce stress and give you a sense of order. Design your ideal healthy environment to eliminate distractions.
Spend time today in a healthy way to take inventory of your areas of strengths when it comes to the way you manage your time. Create strategies for your personal development with these five areas in mind. Remember that time is your friend, and how you spend it to align with your values can result in a healthier wellbeing.
About the Author: Angela Horjus, NBC-HWC, NASM-CPT, FLT-LE is among the first National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coaches at Priority Health, and in the U.S. Her professional career in both health coaching and physical fitness continues to fuel her love for writing to encourage self-knowledge and personal growth in her clients. Angela also has an English degree from Grand Valley State University. Her energy and positive approach to mental and physical fitness are truly motivating to both her health coaching and fitness clients.