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The seven challenge areas for work-life balance

Work-life balance was first mentioned in the UK at the end of the 1970s. Obviously, since those days, a lot has happened in the professional and the personal world.

Every challenge we encounter adds to pressure, pressure leads to stress, stress leads to emotional and physical unbalance and unhappiness. So, it is important to overcome challenges, in order to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Listed below are the seven of the most challenging areas, which could apply either to work or life situations. Compare them with your own situation and find out what your main challenges are.

1. Unrealistic demands

The demands that work and life throw at us can easily mount up to incredible levels. Unreasonable demands at work, arrangements that are eating into personal time, such as weekend meetings, and technology overload are mentioned as adding a lot of pressure. Demands of personal life are adding pressure to work, as time is required to accommodate family or friends, and are eating into work-time.

Think of family members with intensive schedules, impacting on yours (the mum that needs to ferry the athlete to extra training sessions or matches, or the partner that decides to do an evening course), or when expectations are set by others (like a monthly visit to parents). Meeting too many demands is a threat to the healthy balance.

How to deal with it?

It is important to be clear about what you want from work and life. Are the demands justified in the light of what you want? For every challenge, go through the questions: what do I gain from doing it and what is the price I pay? Who else gains from it and who else pays a price? This gives you a good structure to make a choice.

2. Lack of control

Lack of control is creating pressure, as it leaves you ‘hanging in there, with a dark cloud above your head’. It is difficult to deal with the uncontrollable workload or the insecurity of the situation of the company you work in. In personal circumstances aspects as illness, exams, kid issues can feel as if all control is gone and is very stressful.

How to deal with it?

The way to respond to lack of control is to find a different internal response. Feeling frustrated by the lack of control makes it worse. Accepting the situation for what it is, at this moment in time, won’t sap your energy and make you more efficient. Sometimes, you just have to go with the flow.

Women working

3. Unsupportive relationships

Unsupportive relationships at work, aversive behaviour or not getting credits, are creating a difficult and unproductive work environment whilst making people feel isolated. Unsupportive relationships at home, where no one helps each other or considers other people’s pressures creates frustration and unhappiness.

How to deal with it?

This comes down to people management, communication and expectations. Are you asking for support? Are you clear on what support you want? Could it be your expectations are not realistic?

4. Lack of resources

Not enough resources or not the right ones are really affecting how life can be organised. The absence of a PA or a good babysitter are both examples of important lacks.

How to deal with it?

Take action and try to be creative. If you can’t find a PA, could you outsource part of the tasks? Alternatively, lower your standards in certain areas. Something has to give, and it shouldn’t be you.

5. Unhelpful attitude

Resilience in challenging circumstances determines how well someone is coping and finding a way forward. If the energy levels are low and undermined, due to all the different challenges, it can be really hard to find that resilience.

How to deal with it?

One of the healthy ways of building resilience is meditation. There are plenty of short and easy ways to bring in a mindfulness meditation into your day.

6. No skills

Surviving and managing the challenges above and the personal awareness and behaviour that goes with it, are professional and life skills. No skills? Lots of stress.

How to deal with it?

When you recognise your weaknesses in certain areas, such as communication, confidence or practical skills, take action to develop skills. This will also make you feel more in control.

7. High-stress levels

All the above challenges can appear in anybody’s life and will add to stress levels. Not being able to handle stress will kill any chance of a healthy work-life balance.

How to deal with it?

Don’t accept stress as a fact of life. You can be very busy, without feeling stressed. Stress is a personal response and you can take control of it by learning skills that will help you to reduce stress, such as mindfulness and meditation and learning to be kinder to yourself.

Often we forget that we are powerful and that we can take charge of situations that seem to be out of our control. It takes a new way of looking at yourself, aspects of your life and developing your knowledge and skills.

Life and work are there to enjoy – not to bring you down! The choice is yours!

For more information about work/life balance, including tips on how to improve your own balance and how a coach can support you, visit out fact-sheet.

Life Coach Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Written by Dr. Mariette Jansen

Dr Mariette Jansen (Dr De-Stress) is a psychological coach, using therapy models, coaching techniques and mindfulness meditation to help you become balanced, stress free and in control of your life.
Focus areas are work-life balance, confidence, food/diet stress and general stress.
Author of two books: on meditation and exam stress.… Read more

Written by Dr. Mariette Jansen

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