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Work – Life Balance, a major challenge in today’s corporate world.
Dr. Jennifer M. Foran, M.D.

 We all struggle to find a healthy balance between work and home.  At times it may feel like finding that healthy balance is an impossible goal.  Yet, making this goal a priority is necessary in order to ensure a successful and satisfying professional as well as personal life.

From a medical point of view, constant stress puts your health at risk.  Chronic stress and always feeling “on the edge” triggers your body’s “flight-or-fight reaction” to be constantly turned on.  Through a combination of nerve and hormonal signals, the result is the release of a surge of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol.  Adrenaline causes an increase in your heart rate and an elevation in blood pressure.  Cortisol, “the stress hormone” increases blood sugar, alters immune functioning, and suppresses proper digestive functioning, the reproductive system, and growth processes.  With long-term activation of this stress-response system, we can disrupt our body’s normal functioning and put ourselves at risk for: heart disease, sleep problems, digestive problems, obesity, difficulty with focus and concentration, memory impairment, depression, anxiety, eczema, irritability, fatigue, muscle tension, and headaches, just to name a few.

How can we regain control?  With the boundaries between work and home getting fuzzier by the day, we must put forth an honest effort to not let work completely invade our personal life.  Chronic lost time with family, loved ones and friends will only worsen our stress levels, leading us to feel guilty, disappointed, and “left out.” 

Here are some practical tips for reducing stress and achieving a healthy work-life balance:
1.     Prioritize—yet set manageable goals for each day, both at work and at home.
2.    Be efficient with your time.
3.    Communicate effectively and be heard—talk over concerns with your boss and family members.  Don’t keep it locked up inside of you.
4.    Give yourself a break once in a while—no one is perfect.  Be satisfied with doing the best you can.
5.    Assert yourself—learn to say no without guilt when you just cannot take on any more responsibility.
6.    Focus on taking care of yourself by making time for exercise and a healthy diet.  Consider walking, jogging, swimming, or biking with family and friends.  Make it a habit to prepare healthy, nutritious meals instead of quickly opting for takeout or fast food on a regular basis.
7.    Yoga—What can I say?  It is the ultimate stress management tool.
8.    Meditation—Again, another ultimate stress management technique.
9.    Laugh and smile more—studies show that our mood can be affected by our facial expressions.
10.     Sleep—Make time for sleep a priority in your home.  All the family will benefit!
11.     Journal—Writing out your thoughts and feelings can be a good release for your emotions.
12.     Listen to music—studies show listening to music you like can reduce muscle tension and decrease cortisol (the stress hormone) levels.
13.     Practice positive thinking—you will experience stress reduction by eliminating your negative self talk.
14.     Forgiveness—Let go of grudges and bitterness.
15.    Simplify your life—This new concept (often referred to as “the voluntary simplicity movement”)   is actually a resurgence of an old idea-living a simpler life.  Focus on reducing clutter in your home,office, and mind.  When you are surrounded by more things than you can manage, it send a visual message that your life is out of control, further leading to release of more stress hormone, cortisol.
16.    Adopt a mantra—Create your own saying, such as “I can handle this,” and mentally repeat it to yourself in challenging situations.
17.    Focus on the big picture—Ask yourself, “Will this matter in one year…five years from now.”  This approach can help you focus on what really matters now.
18.     If necessary, be prepared and willing to seek help from a therapist, counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist.  There is no shame in it.


It is important to remember that stress will always be a part of everyday life—at work and at home. Consider the consequences of poor work-life balance.   Clearly, making the time to practice some of the stress management tips listed above will be a sound investment in your future emotional health.

 

About the Author: Dr. Jennifer M. Foran is a practicing medical doctor and an eminent  psychiatrist based at Arizona, US over the past 15 years and is experienced in direct patient care to acute/chronic adult, child and adolescent psychiatric patients in both inpatient and outpatient settings.

 Jennifer is on board hidlors.com to assist and support those who suffer from acute stress related illness and to help corporates in handling occupational stress related issues in India. She visited and guided employees and management of a few leading corporates during her recent visit to India and is currently involved in online support/consultation for the corporates and those attending the workshops. She is also in the process of adopting Indian systems such as Yoga, Meditation, Ayurveda etc. in clinical psychiatry in association with Hidlors.com.

To know more, please write to hk@hidlors.com.

 

Post your comments/feedback on the article below:

 

 


Comments
Support
A well compiled and excellant article, but one needs a lot of support from family, friends and collegues to put these steps into effect and only some of us who are very fortunate get that kind of support. Thanks sir for sharing it
Posted by Gireesan M

Healthy life
wow very short & simple tips are here I will practice some of these & share with my friends.
Posted by Peu Paul

we cannot escape from stress and its good to have some level of stress to succeed in present day life and ever challanging world,Tips provided in this website for work and Life balance is awesome and useful, sharing the tips and experiences with others will always pave our social responcebility.....
Posted by Ravichandran R

hello, I have taken workshop on stress and emotions specially arising out of work load......and one simple technique to release these stress based emotions to empty yourself and create place for new ,fresh emotions and that can keep you fit and fine.....try this
Posted by Kinjal Pandya

Healthy Practical tips for healthy life.
Thank you Harikumar Sir, Really it is a good Article & more fruitful also.The contents were help us to change our life styles in future days.These tips were very helpful to Know about daily stresses as the Agony & Extacy were two faces of one coin.
Posted by Raghavendra.S.Adabaddi

EXCELLENT ARTICLE
Superble explained with regards to the contemporary life style.Absolutely possible practically to incorporate in our day to day life style. Strongly feel in the listed stress management tips to get rid of monotonous routine bounded life. Thanks a lot to Dr. Jennifer. BIBHU PADHY
Posted by BIBHU DUTTA PADHY

life balance
The topic is really stress relieving by just going through that. We need to concentrate more on these stress relieving courses for a better life than seeing all gloomy face in the mirror.
Posted by sivadas Balakrishnan

Article is very informative and explained in simple points. Thank you Sir for sharing it. Regards Vishal
Posted by Vishal

Simple and nice
Thanks Hari for bringing an expert as an Associate in your endeavor to coach people to combat the consequence of ill-stress. This may fine sharpen your extra-ordinary skills as a life coach. The article in simple one and nicely written for the benefit of common man.
Posted by Dr. John M Lukas

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