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Achieving Work-Life Balance


By Dr. Katy Kamkar, Clinical Psychologist, Work, Stress and Health Program, CAMH

Katy-KamkarA majority of Canadians report feeling overwhelmed with their numerous roles. This is not surprising as most of us occupy various roles with work, family and friends and our community.

Working on a healthy balance between our work and personal life is essential as it helps to feel less stressed, less anxious, less exhausted and thus feel happier, more productive and satisfied in both our personal and occupational lives.

Recognizing some key signs of work life imbalance is important. Some key signs could include the following:

  • Feeling overwhelmed or increasingly irritable which, in turn, can negatively impact our relationships both at home and at work.
  • Feeling restless or nervous
  • Feeling we have no control over our life
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Trying to reduce sleep to work more
  • Reduced productivity at work
  • Being frequently late to work
  • Feeling guilty over neglecting personal responsibilities
  • Not taking our vacation
  • Feeling less happy about any work or personal life projects

Finding a healthy balance between work and personal life is very individualized, such that we need to find which/what strategies work for each of us.

Some strategies that can help us move closer towards a healthy balance between work and life could include:

  • Prioritizing our responsibilities. This also involves problem solving and being flexible, accepting the need to re-prioritize when other important responsibilities come in.
  • Setting up realistic expectations and goals.
  • Planning ahead of time and accepting that not everything can be done all at once.
  • Limiting the number of engagements when possible
  • Delegating responsibilities when possible
  • Creating boundaries between work and our personal life as much as possible (e.g., going out for a walk when arriving home; reducing checking work emails late at night whenever possible)
  • Taking time for self to rest
  • Engaging in a pleasant activity daily
  • Maintaining our Self Care by engaging in healthy diet, exercise, proper sleep hygiene and seeking social support.

While these are general strategies, some will work better than others, depending on the individual. What are some tips you can share in ensuring a healthy work-life balance? Let us know in the comments!

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Amber McCorkindale #

    I was told by my doctor that I needed to make changes to my life in regards to stress or I would end up in the cardiac care unit. He made specific recommendations regarding stepping back from stressful, burdensome relationships in order to “save myself”. Sometimes we as adults need someone to give us permission to stop living in overdrive. “Sorry I would like to say yes to your request, but my doctor has told me I need to limit my commitments”.

    October 27, 2015

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