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10 Things To Help Manage Your Work-Life Balance When Pregnant

10 Things To Help Manage Your Work-Life Balance When Pregnant

Pregnancy is like a bitter gourd in the sense that it’s a dichotomy— it’s healthy for you, but bitter to taste. Being pregnant is an experience that inspires a rollercoaster of emotions and life changes, and if you’re already pregnant, you might have already started to feel several biological, physiological and physiological changes within yourself. The hormonal changes lead to issues like nausea, mood swings, fatigue, etc., which can be exacerbated if you have a family to look after and older children to take care of. If you’re a working mother or a single parent, then your responsibilities skyrocket even further.

How do you manage home, kids, and work while dealing with mood swings, depression and pregnancy-induced body pain? It’s not easy to do so, but the good news is that there are ways of enjoying your work, life and pregnancy all together.

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Here are 10 things that help relieve stress while pregnant:

  1. Start with a healthy diet. Food cravings, an increase in appetite and bingeing sessions will all become part of your life for the next nine months, so the key to alleviating many problems is in maintaining a healthy diet. Eat fresh vegetables, salads and fruits as snacks rather than indulging in high calorie finger foods like french fries, chips or junk food.  Doing this is important to keep yourself from gaining extra pounds, which will make you lethargic and may contribute to a sedentary lifestyle post-pregnancy.
  2. Please, make a point of exercising every day, even if only for 20 to 30 minutes. Keeping active will raise your spirits and also keep your blood flowing, which helps to nourish your growing baby. To help motivate you, consider joining a prenatal exercise class so you get a chance to meet and socialise with other moms-to-be.
  3. Open up to your boss and colleagues—let other employees know that you are expecting so they are conscious about your fragile emotional state, and can speak with you in a way that doesn’t add to your depression, or trigger mood swings. Keep your boss updated about your health from time to time if you feel you need to get some of your workload transferred, and to establish that you might need some breaks without having to explain about your whereabouts.
  4. If you have the option of working from home, then keep your employer informed about the situation so that you can take occasional breaks from the office, and relieve some workplace pressures by working from the comfort of your own home.
  5. Think about your post-pregnancy options well ahead of time and submit a proposal about them to your boss. Be clear about whether you want to return to the same full-time job after your maternity leave, or if you would consider a part-time job instead. Inquire as to whether a work-from-home option would be possible as well, if that appeals to you. Planning beforehand always helps, as you would be aware of your job options in advance, thus alleviating later stress. While planning your post-maternity work options, don’t forget to discuss your maternity leave with your boss, and keep your family informed about the process and decisions being made.
  6. Try to stop worrying and micro-managing, both at work and on the home front. You should understand the importance of staying calm and happy during your gestation period, and realise that it’s  really okay if your house isn’t tidy in every corner. Don’t stress yourself unnecessarily about petty issues at the office either: stay away from office politics and gossip, especially if it’s directly or indirectly related to you and your work. Take active steps to manage stress as it comes up, and learn to say no.
  7. Help your children understand the situation so that they can lend you a helping hand when it’s needed. This is an opportunity to encourage their independence and self reliance: encourage them to finish off their school activities/studies on their own, and let them serve themselves at mealtime and get ready for school on their own in the mornings. You can also ask them to tidy up their own rooms or help you a little with laundry and light housework.
  8. Ask your partner or spouse to spend more time at home than usual. Let him share some domestic work, and also assist you with cooking for the family. Most importantly, make him realise that you need constant love and emotional support at this time.
  9. Make it a rule that one meal serves all, and that there is to be no fighting about food preferences in regard to wanting something else. Meal-planning discussions can happen on weekends to keep everyone happy, and will keep you from getting stressed out.
  10. Backache, sleeping disorders, leg swelling, and mood swings will often be out of your control, but the amount of stress you’ll experience is mostly in your own hands. Keep in mind that a great way to alleviate some stress is by focusing on cheerful activities that also keep you active, such as shopping for your maternity clothes, as well as gifts and clothes for your newborn, and decorating the nursery.

Pregnancy is a beautiful feeling for any woman, so try to enjoy every bit of it. Best of luck to you: you will soon be a dear mummy to a beautiful new baby.

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Featured photo credit: Beautiful pregnant woman at home via Shutterstock

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5 Powerful Ideas on How to Be Productive at Work

5 Powerful Ideas on How to Be Productive at Work

Not being able to stay productive at work is a problem that everyone runs into at some point; no matter how much you like your job, there are certain factors that prevent you from staying at maximum proficiency throughout the whole day.

A lack of productive focus at work can lead to extra stress on yourself, missed deadlines, passed opportunities, raise denial, demotion and even termination.

So, if you are someone who has trouble with your productivity, here are five effective tips on how to be productive at work:

1. Take breaks

First and foremost, it’s important for you to take regular breaks. Trying to work throughout the whole day will tire your brain, which will then cause you to doze off and think about something else.

If you keep working your brain, it will fill up and get jumbled with information—sort of like a computer hard drive. Taking a break would be like resetting your computer so that it can start afresh, or de-fragmenting the data so that all the information is in order.

This is a great thing because it allows you to solve problems you were unable to solve previously, by seeing it differently; if you are able to organize your thoughts properly, you will be able to take in new information more easily.

There have even been studies about methods of saving time and staying proficient, and taking breaks is one of the leading factors.

According to Christine Hohlbaum, the author of The Power of Slow: 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World, eating lunch away from your work area every day will greatly increase your productivity. Eating in your work area will give you the illusion that you are working, but whether you like it or not, your brain will begin to wander and think of something else and then you will be working tirelessly with no progress.

It’s important to take breaks before and during work too: if you come to work in a rush because you woke up late, your mind will not be mentally prepared for the day ahead, and you will spend the first 10 to 15 minutes trying to get organized and composed before you can actually start working.

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Instead, you should try to wake up 20 minutes earlier than the time it would take you to “just get” to work. Take that time to stare off into space and not worry about anything.

If you do this, your brain will be empty and ready for all the challenges it has coming for the next few hours.

If your employer only allows a set amount of breaks during the workday, that doesn’t mean you can’t just get up and walk around for a quick break every now and then.

Even if it’s only 5 minutes, it will refresh your brain and you will gain renewed energy to do your job.

Learn more about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

2. Pace yourself and balance your workload

One problem that most people run into is that they underestimate the amount of work they have to do, and end up doing 50% of the work in the last 20% of the time they have to do it. This is due to an issue of balancing one’s workload.

When you receive a project, or are doing a job you normally do, take some time to really plan out your work schedule.

Consider how much time it took you to do this last time; determine how you can break the project into smaller parts and which can only be accomplished on certain days, and whether anything might come up that could interfere with your plan.

All of these questions are important for starting on a project, and when answered, they will help you stay productive throughout each day.

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For example, if you needed to design a project to map out the amount of aid offered in various regions after Hurricane Sandy, you can break it up as follows:

You will need to know what organizations are offering help to begin with, how much aid those organizations gave or plan to give, which regions were hit by Sandy, and which regions suffered the greatest losses.

You start this project on a Thursday and know you have until Tuesday to gather this information.

In order to stay productive, you need to plan out your work week—now you know you can find out which organizations are involved in helping the Hurricane Sandy Victims any day since that information is online, but gathering information on the organizations may require you to call them.

Since phone calls can only be done during week days, you have to plan on gathering all of that information before the weekend comes.

That is just one example of a situation in which pre-planning your project will help you stay productive; had you researched the affected regions first, you would not have received the info on the organizations until the weekend, and may have missed your chance to call them.

That, in turn, would have wasted time you could have spent working on this project to finish it.

Knowing what you need to do, when you can do it, and how long it will take you, is important in balancing your workload and being more productive and efficient.

3. Put your work first

This is an issue that usually occurs with young people who are new to the workforce: they’re often tempted with offers to go out at midday, and then come back lost in thought and unfocused on their work-related tasks.

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While it is important to take breaks, your breaks should consist of you clearing your mind, not loading it up with other less important information—like sports.

However, that is not the only situation where you need to worry about putting your work first before all else.

In a work environment, the senior employees will oftentimes push some of their menial tasks onto the newer employees. If you fall into that category, you need to know that their work is not your work, so if you have tasks that need to be done, you need to do it first.

If you are a new employee, you must learn to say no to other people even when it means you may not be in their good graces anymore. You can help others out once your work is done, but you are paid to do your own work, not anyone else’s.

4. Don’t open your browser unless you need them

In this day and age, everyone is constantly monitoring their social network. This is a major pain point for companies, which is why many don’t allow employees to access their social networks on company workstations.

When you are at work, disconnect the internet from your phone and keep your browsers closed so you’re not tempted to log onto your social media accounts or browse any sites that are not work-related.

If you keep your browsers closed and phone tucked away, only to be used in an emergency, you will find yourself being a more productive employee right away. 

5. Try to be happy and optimistic

If you always have a negative outlook on life, you will be more distracted and less motivated to get work done, so it’s important for you to start your day off right.

This can be done by having a good breakfast or by taking time in the morning to watch one of your favorite TV shows before work.

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If you are happy, you will find yourself able to work much more productively as your mind won’t wander into worrying about something else.

Also, if you stay optimistic and keep telling yourself that you can do whatever you set your mind to, the tasks will seem much less daunting and will go by much more quickly.

Take a look at more effective ways to stay positive at work:

15 Ways To Stay Positive At Work

Happiness and optimism are the keys to being a productive and happy employee.

All in all, heed the five tips above and you will find yourself being one of the most productive people at your company.

While you do not need to master them all, each and every one of them will help you become a better and more efficient employee.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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