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Kelsey Goforth

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Maintainig a work/life balance

By Kelsey Goforth

The dichotomy of work and play has been a long-standing dilemma in daily life. After two hours of commuting plus the eight-hour workday, it becomes difficult to get all “essentials” done, let alone squeeze in “me time.” Employees are working longer hours and daily errands or responsibilities are demanding an ever increasing amount of time. As tasks pile up, people quickly become overwhelmed. However, there are ways to juggle work responsibilities and still have time to yourself. Here are some tips for finding that balance in your life:

1. Take advantage of Sundays

• Take this day to prepare for the week. Make meal plans and go shopping to avoid mid-week, time-consuming runs to the grocery store. Divide snack foods into single serving containers so preparing meals or throwing together lunches is a simple task.

2. Schedule “me-time”

• When life gets hectic, taking time for yourself often gets put on the back burner. Plan blocks of time to do whatever makes you happy. Whether it’s 20 minutes to read your favourite novel or a full afternoon of browsing an art museum, make sure you have time to clear your head.

• Exercise, as important as it is, is often neglected. Join a gym or fitness class close to your workplace so you can go before or after work or even on your lunch break. Not only will this improve your health but your overall well-being will get a boost too.

3. Make meals easy

• Spend a weekend afternoon making food to last throughout the week. Soups, stews and chili can all be frozen in small portions, ensuring days of lunches and quick dinners.

• Prepare produce as soon as it’s purchased. Slicing up your vegetables not only saves time during the week, but also saves room in your fridge. As an added bonus, having pre-cut produce readily available leads to healthier snacking options.

• When cooking, clean up your mess as you make it. Wipe down cutting boards once you’re done chopping and wash pans as soon as you’re finished with them so that when you’re done eating, all that’s left to be cleaned are plates and cutlery.

4. Nurture relationships

• After an eight-hour day, it is tempting to go home, do what needs to be done and go straight to bed. To maintain happiness and balance in your life, however, it’s important to ensure that you sustain bonds with family and friends. Schedule enjoyable events and activities such as family hockey games, dinners with friends or trips to museums.

5. Set boundaries

• Don’t take work home with you. Avoid checking emails after work hours or staying up to work on reports or presentations. At the beginning of the week, prioritize your tasks and prepare a timeline so there are no late nights at the office.

Although it is difficult to brush our responsibilities aside, shortcuts can help keep them manageable. Upholding the importance of family, friends and personal time ensures that life is balanced and stable.

5 strategies for work-life balance

The dichotomy of work and play has been a long-standing dilemma in daily life. After two hours of commuting plus the eight-hour workday, it becomes difficult to get all ‘essentials’ done — let alone squeeze in ‘me time.’ Employees are working longer hours and daily errands or responsibilities are demanding an ever-increasing amount of time. As tasks pile up, people quickly become overwhelmed. However, there are ways to juggle work responsibilities and still have time for yourself. Here are some tips for finding that balance in your life:

1. Take advantage of Sundays

• Take this day to prepare for the week. Make meal plans and go shopping to avoid mid-week, time-consuming runs to the grocery store. Divide snack foods into single serving containers so preparing meals or throwing together lunches is a simple task.

2. Schedule ‘me-time’

• When life gets hectic, taking time for yourself often gets put on the back burner. Plan blocks of time to do whatever makes you happy. Whether it’s 20 minutes to read your favourite novel or a full afternoon of browsing an art museum, make sure you have time to clear your head.

• Exercise, as important as it is, is often neglected. Join a gym or fitness class close to your workplace so you can go before or after work or even on your lunch break. Not only will this improve your health but your overall well-being will get a boost too.

3. Make meals easy

• Spend a weekend afternoon making food to last throughout the week. Soups, stews and chili can all be frozen in small portions, ensuring days of lunches and quick dinners.

• Prepare produce as soon as it’s purchased. Slicing up your vegetables not only saves time during the week, but also saves room in your fridge. As an added bonus, having pre-cut produce readily available leads to healthier snacking options.

• When cooking, clean up your mess as you make it. Wipe down cutting boards once you’re done chopping and wash pans as soon as you’re finished with them so that when you’re done eating, all that’s left to be cleaned are plates and cutlery.

4. Nurture relationships

• After an eight-hour day, it is tempting to go home, do what needs to be done and go straight to bed. To maintain happiness and balance in your life, however, it’s important to ensure that you sustain bonds with family and friends. Schedule enjoyable events and activities such as family hockey games, dinners with friends or trips to museums.

5. Set boundaries

• Don’t take work home with you. Avoid checking emails after work hours or staying up to work on reports or presentations. At the beginning of the week, prioritize your tasks and prepare a timeline so there are no late nights at the office.

Although it is difficult to brush our responsibilities aside, shortcuts can help keep them manageable. Upholding the importance of family, friends, and personal time ensures that life is balanced and stable.

Maintainging a work/life balance

The dichotomy of work and play has been a long-standing dilemma in daily life. After two hours of commuting plus the eight-hour workday, it becomes difficult to get all “essentials” done, let alone squeeze in “me time.” Employees are working longer hours and daily errands or responsibilities are demanding an ever increasing amount of time. As tasks pile up, people quickly become overwhelmed. However, there are ways to juggle work responsibilities and still have time to yourself. Here are some tips for finding that balance in your life:

1. Take advantage of Sundays

• Take this day to prepare for the week. Make meal plans and go shopping to avoid mid-week, time-consuming runs to the grocery store. Divide snack foods into single serving containers so preparing meals or throwing together lunches is a simple task.

2. Schedule “me-time”

• When life gets hectic, taking time for yourself often gets put on the back burner. Plan blocks of time to do whatever makes you happy. Whether it’s 20 minutes to read your favourite novel or a full afternoon of browsing an art museum, make sure you have time to clear your head.

• Exercise, as important as it is, is often neglected. Join a gym or fitness class close to your workplace so you can go before or after work or even on your lunch break. Not only will this improve your health but your overall well-being will get a boost too.

3. Make meals easy

• Spend a weekend afternoon making food to last throughout the week. Soups, stews and chili can all be frozen in small portions, ensuring days of lunches and quick dinners.

• Prepare produce as soon as it’s purchased. Slicing up your vegetables not only saves time during the week, but also saves room in your fridge. As an added bonus, having pre-cut produce readily available leads to healthier snacking options.

• When cooking, clean up your mess as you make it. Wipe down cutting boards once you’re done chopping and wash pans as soon as you’re finished with them so that when you’re done eating, all that’s left to be cleaned are plates and cutlery.

4. Nurture relationships

• After an eight-hour day, it is tempting to go home, do what needs to be done and go straight to bed. To maintain happiness and balance in your life, however, it’s important to ensure that you sustain bonds with family and friends. Schedule enjoyable events and activities such as family hockey games, dinners with friends or trips to museums.

5. Set boundaries

• Don’t take work home with you. Avoid checking emails after work hours or staying up to work on reports or presentations. At the beginning of the week, prioritize your tasks and prepare a timeline so there are no late nights at the office.

Although it is difficult to brush our responsibilities aside, shortcuts can help keep them manageable. Upholding the importance of family, friends and personal time ensures that life is balanced and stable.

 

What I learned from my first 10k

On Sunday, April 21st I completed my first 10k run. With bib secure, laces tied and ipod charged, I made my way to the starting point of the Toronto Yonge Street 10k. Despite the enthusiasm of the crowd, I was still quite nervous. Prior to this, I had not run any further than 6k and couldn’t help but wonder if I was truly ready.

Now, hours after crossing the finish line, I am still buzzing with adrenaline. Having predicted an excruciating experience, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the run was not only bearable but enjoyable. The euphoric “Runner’s High” I had heard of but never understood became a reality for me.

Having learned a lot from the experience, I am excited to sign up for my next run.

Spring months in Canada are unpredictable. Dress in layers and be prepared for all weather conditions. Gloves and a running jacket to protect from cold wind were especially vital at this run.

For me, smiling had a great effect on my performance. I chose to be happy and grateful for the opportunity to run. I didn’t think about my time, the blister on my foot or the hundreds of runners who finished before me. Instead I focused on the present and enjoyed the great view of the city.

Be thankful for the support around you. Volunteers and spectators came out to cheer you on, operate water stations and direct traffic. Thank them for their hard work.

I was honoured to run my first 10k with my mom by my side. As an accomplished runner, she has participated in many half marathons and 30k runs over the years. We motivated each other to keep running (and smiling) throughout the race and made sure we were keeping a sustainable pace.

Add a few new songs to your ipod and delete the overused ones that no longer get you pumped up. I found that adding just three new songs gave me a boost.

Don’t hesitate to enroll in a 10k. I doubted myself thinking that I wasn’t ready to run such a distance and ended up surprising myself in the end. If running the whole distance becomes a challenge, walk the last few kilometres.

Chances are you will do much better than you thought.

RELAX: The power of baths

Growing up, my family considered baths to be the best treatment for everything from sore muscles to broken hearts. A quick shower before work or school was common; however, it was far less appealing than evening baths. Following a rough day, a stressful exam or a long, uncomfortable bout of the flu, baths were the go-to cure. This power to heal both body and mind was instilled in me from a young age and has stuck with me into adulthood.

While undeniably relaxing, baths have a beneficial detoxifying effect as well. As you sweat in the warm water, built-up toxins are cleared from your system. Once your body has removed these toxins, it will then soak up and benefit from any minerals added to the water. Furthermore, detox baths have been known to lower blood pressure, help with circulation and ease muscle pain.

Here is a great detox bath recipe to get you started:

  • 2 cups Epsom salts (I prefer lavender scented ones for added relaxation)
  • 2 tablespoons of ground ginger (this opens pores and increases body temperature, causing more toxins to be released)
  • 1 cup of baking soda (the alkaline helps to pull toxins from the body)
  • optional: essential oils of your choice

Since you are losing hydration through sweating, it is important to drink plenty of water both during and after the bath. I like to do this about once a week, especially during the winter months. Typically I stay in the bath for around 40 minutes.

It is important to be cautious when in hot water, especially if you have any medical conditions related to blood pressure or if you are pregnant. Consult a doctor before starting a detox bath ritual.

 

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The aftereffects of the Boston Marathon

Following the tragedy witnessed in Boston on Monday, many have expressed concern as to the safety of similar sporting events. Some have even questioned if marathons of this scale will ever take place again. One must remember that marathons are not simply a competition, but a community fueled by family-like support. After April 15th in Boston these values were threatened. Sirens wailed, debris flew, people suffered. Fear overthrew exhilaration, confusion replaced clarity and terror succeeded joy.

As spring finally dawns on us, runners take to the streets, pounding pavement and logging miles.  These runners share an unspoken common bond. They understand the thrill felt as an audience floods the streets, empowering them to keep going despite aching limbs. They are trained individuals who have come to terms with everything from anti-chafe balm to lost toenails. As athletes, they persevere through all conditions whether it be scorching heat or bitter rain. They fight through the pain, tape up their blisters, tie their laces and carry on.

Having two marathon runners as parents, I have attended many marathons and have watched them pass the finish line. I’m not a seasoned athlete. In fact, I am very new to the sport. After many sedentary years of watching my parents register in countless runs across North America, I finally pushed myself to get involved too. Even as a spectator, the atmosphere and sense of camaraderie among runners is magnetic. Monday’s tragedy really hit too close to home for me.

The running community is large and strong with athletes of all ages, ethnicity and skill levels joining together in early morning running groups, training sessions and full marathons. These men and women epitomize dedication, stamina and perseverance, displaying resilience despite unfavourable conditions and surroundings. A marathon like Boston would take years of training to even qualify.

Marathon runners and their supporters, together with race volunteers and emergency personnel, made the decision to persevere through this tragedy. They refused to allow the fear, confusion and terror to define them. Locals and visitors alike rushed to donate blood at local hospitals, helped the injured to safety and supported each other during this time of need. Despite the dread and shock felt internationally, the values that motivate runners each day rippled throughout the city of Boston.

Today is a day of reflection. A day to think of the heroes dedicated to saving lives, the capacity of countless individuals to act quickly despite the horrors surrounding them and the altruism of those who opened their doors to those unable to return to their locked-down hotels.

The spirit of runners cannot be broken. They gathered in Boston on Monday to show just that, instilling in us the strength to persevere despite tragedy. In future marathons, runners will stand in solidarity remembering the April day when their values were threatened. These are the same values that keep them running through sleet, that put them through months of painful physiotherapy, that keep them running for hours and allow them to still have a smile on their face as they cross the finish line. No amount of terror or violence can threaten the powerful kinship of runners.