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Balancing family and work
Posted: January 7, 2009
Last Updated: January 7, 2009

For many people, finding a balance between family and work seems like an impossible goal. With so many people torn between juggling heavy workloads and managing relationships and family responsibilities and squeezing in outside interests, it’s no surprise that more than one in four Americans describe themselves as “super stressed.”


In the daily rush to “get it all done” at the office and at home, it’s easy to forget as people’s stress levels spike, their productivity plummets. Stress can zap people’s concentration levels, cause irritability or depression, and harm personal and professional relationships. Over time, stress weakens people’s immune systems, and makes people more susceptible to a variety of ailments form colds to backaches to heart diseases.


While a certain amount of stress is essential to help people perform at their best, the key to managing stress lies in one magic word: balance. Not only is achieving a healthy work and life balance an attainable goal but offers great rewards in both arenas of life too.


Here are a few practical steps to help people strike that all-important balance between family and work.


At work:

·         Set manageable goals- Be realistic about workloads and deadlines. Make a “to do” list and prioritize tasks first and eliminate unessential ones. The latest research shows that the more control people have over their work, the less stressed they are.

·         Take five- Taking a break at work isn’t only acceptable; employers often encourage it. Small breaks at work will help clear your head and improve your ability to deal with stress and make good decisions when you jump back into the daily grind.

·         Tune in- Listen to your favorite music at work to foster better concentration, reduce stress and anxiety, and stimulate creativity. Studies dating back 30 years have shown the benefits of music in everyday life, including lowering blood pressure. Be sure to wear headphones on the job to pump up the volume and your productivity without bothering coworkers.

·         Communicate effectively- Be honest with colleagues and your boss when you feel in a bind. Chances are, you’re not alone. But don’t complain, instead be positive and suggest practical alternatives. Looking at a situation from someone else’s viewpoint can also reduce your stress. Make allowances for other’s opinions and for compromise, both of which help lower stress.


At home:

·         Turn off your cell phone or PDA. The same technology that connects people to work can burn them out if impeding on life. Recognize your personal time and the need not to have it too infringed upon by work demands.

·         Don’t over commit. Do you feel stressed when you glance at the calendar? If you are over scheduled with activities, learn to say “no.” Shed that superman/superwoman urge!

·         Get support. Talking with friends and family can improve your success at home—and at work—and improve your health by lowering your stress. People with stronger support systems have a better immune system too. A great reason to take time for a visit!

·         Stay active. Regular exercise reduces stress, anxiety and depression. Go out on a walk with your friends or family. Visit the park with your kids. Take time for the gym.

·         Get help if you need it. Don’t let stress stand in the way of your health and happiness. If you are persistently overwhelmed, it may be time to seek help from a mental health professional. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness—taking care of yourself is a sign of strength!


If you need help setting boundaries between work and home consider calling Border Area Mental health Services. To reach Border Area Mental Health Services in Grant and Hidalgo Counties, call 388-4412; in Catron County, call 533-6649; in Luna County, call 546-2174.  For CRISIS, call 538-3488 or outside Silver City, call 1-800-426-0997.


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© 2008 by Border Area Mental Health Services and Putting the Web to Work. Front-page photo copyright by Bob Pelham, Pinos Altos Cabins, and used by permission. All rights reserved. For the privacy and comfort of our clients and staff, the photographs used in this site are representative and do not show specific individuals associated with BAMHS.