Cedars-Sinai Magazine

Balancing Act

Man balancing on tree stump

The squeeze of work and family responsibilities—not to mention battling L.A. traffic and the siren call of social media—can derail even those with the best intentions of exercising, eating right and  effectively managing stress. These tips from Michelle Shukhman, DO, of the Cedars-Sinai Valley Internal Medicine and Nephrology Group, can help you establish a healthier work-life balance.

1 Reinvent Your Concept of Vacation

“Working at maximum capacity and only relaxing when you’re on vacation perpetuates a work-life imbalance,” Shukhman says. Breaking your routine more often—even in short bursts, such as a lunchtime walk in a peaceful environment—gives you new perspective and helps prevent burnout. Consider time off a necessity, not a luxury. 

2 Embrace Your Inner Child

What did you enjoy when you were young and comparatively carefree? Find that joyful exuberance again. Completely disengaging from adult concerns in 15-minute increments of play can help enhance your overall wellbeing. 

3 Temper Your Stress

Chronic stress puts you at risk for a host of serious health conditions, from heart disease to a weakened immune system, Shukhman says. Self-medicating with comfort food or alcohol can lead to long-term consequences—such as obesity-related conditions and liver damage. Take note of your personal stress triggers and develop a strategy to counter them.

4 Put Yourself at the Top of Your To-Do List

You know stress is bad and that ice cream is a less-than-optimal dinner. But it can be tough to find time to grocery shop and exercise. Block out time for daily self-care. Find five minutes and build from there.

5 Get Some Rest

Stress-induced sleep deprivation can lead to depression and anxiety, triggering more insomnia. Make it a habit to shut down your electronic devices—from TVs to smartphones— and do something relaxing, such as reading or  listening to music, for at least 30 minutes before turning in.