With so many of us torn between juggling heavy workloads, 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.” Too many life events occurring at one time can increase our stress level.
In our rush to “get it all done” at the office and at home, it’s easy to forget that as our stress levels spike, our productivity plummets. Stress can zap our concentration, make us irritable or depressed and harm our personal and professional relationships.
While we all need a certain amount of stress to spur us on and help us perform at our best, the key to handling stress is balance. Not only is achieving a healthy home/work balance an attainable goal, but workers and businesses alike see the rewards when workers are balanced and happy. They are more productive, take fewer sick days and are more likely to stay in their jobs.
Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Many employers offer employee assistance programs to employees and their household members. EAPs are intended to help employees deal with personal problems that might adversely impact their performance at home and work. EAPs generally include short-term counseling and referral services.
The issues for which EAPs provide support vary, but some examples include:
• Major life events, including births, accidents and deaths
• Family/personal relationship issues
• Work relationship issues
• Concerns about aging parents
• Substance abuse
• Health care concerns
• Financial or legal concerns
Ways to Achieve Balance at Home
1. Set healthy boundaries with technology.
The same technology that makes it easy for workers to do their jobs from any location can also burn us out if we use it 24/7. It is important to remain available, but it’s also important to recognize the need for personal time. When you are enjoying social time with family and friends, you may want to consider putting your cell phone or smartphone on “silent” or “vibrate” to minimize interruptions and maximize quality time with the special people in your life.
2. Divide and conquer.
Make sure responsibilities at home are evenly distributed and clearly outlined to avoid confusion and problems later.
3. Don’t over commit.
An overscheduled personal or family life can create extra stress and make it hard to find time for activities that reduce stress. Closely examine your calendar and to-do lists and consider removing any commitments that do not support your most important values.
4. Get support.
Talking with friends and family can provide support for challenges at home, and can even improve your health. People with a strong support system have more effective immune responses to illnesses than those who lack such support.
5. Stay active.