Many studies link poor eating and exercise habits to a decreased ability to effectively compete in the workplace. Here at SAC, we are keenly aware of this relationship and we do all we can to be able to perform at our best not only in the office but also in the courtroom. But with work, family and other demands competing for our time and attention, exercise and proper diet unfortunately are usually the first things that are neglected. So, as litigators defending our clients’ right to be compensated for the medical services they provide our communities, it is critical that we figure out something that works for us individually so we can be in “competitive shape,” both physically and mentally.
So what can we do? In my case, I used to consider myself pretty fit – I woke up early each morning, worked out hard at the gym for an hour, and made lots of healthy, home-cooked meals. Then, I became a mom. Since then, I’ve been trying to figure out how to fit exercise and healthy eating back into my schedule since I no longer have the luxury of spending an hour at the gym each day or of leisurely preparing a meal. But, also I missed working out and eating healthy along with their benefits.
But I did find a solution that works for me and I am sharing it in the hopes that you may find some ideas that will work for you as well.
- Some Is Better Than None: By setting my alarm clock 30 minutes earlier, I am able to take a 20-minute walk with my dog before my daughter wakes up. This is a fraction of the hour-long workout I would have done before, but I read that 20 minutes of cardio is all the time you need to start to reap the benefits. I certainly don’t want to miss out just because I don’t have as much free time anymore.
- Take The Stairs: SAC is on the seventh floor, so it’s a hike to take the stairs and it’s a great way for me to raise my heart rate. I try to do this at least once a day (on the days I don’t wear heels).
- Kids = Exercise: My daughter weighs almost 25 lbs. So, yes, I’m weight-lifting – just not dumbbells. According to some calculations, every 30 minutes spend chasing her around burns over 100 calories!
- Make It A Family Affair: On the weekends, I let myself sleep until my daughter wakes up. Then, I pop her in the stroller and she accompanies me and our dog for a morning walk. We talk along the way, visit some of her favorite places, and it’s a great way for us to connect after a busy week.
- Meal Plan and Cook When You Can: I will admit, for the first year of my daughter’s life, there was a lot of frozen food being served at my house. Most days, my daughter and I don’t get home until 5:15 p.m. My daughter goes to sleep at 7:00 p.m. and we start her bedtime routine at 6:00 p.m. That means there’s essentially zero time to make and eat a healthy dinner. However, I didn’t like serving so many processed foods to my daughter and I wanted to do better for my husband and myself, too. So, I started meal planning and cooking at night. Every weekend, I plan out the menu for the coming week. On the nights I’m cooking, I try to make enough for two meals so that I can cook one night, and have the next night off.
- Challenge Yourself with Some Goals: SAC recently challenged us to become a healthier firm. The challenge started with a body analysis followed by personal recommendations on how each of us could achieve our goal of being our healthiest. These kinds of goals are important for reinforcing our commitment to stay our competitive best!
This blog is the first in an occasional series by SAC’s staff attorneys on their approaches to achieving work-life balance to stay “litigation ready” in our fast-paced world. We hope you find their suggestions helpful in your professional and personal life as well. .