Work-Life Balance


(originally written for a wellness publication in Oct. 2004)


“So be sure when you step,

Step with care and great tact,

And remember that Life’s

A Great Balancing Act.


And will you succeed?

Yes! You will, indeed!

( 98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)


Kid You’ll Move Mountains!!


Move Mountains?  Most of us would be happy to get through our daily chores and not feel quite so exhausted.  When the wise and witty late Theodor Geisl, better known as Dr. Seuss, wrote these words in “Oh The Places You’ll Go”, he was not kidding that life is a balancing act!


Whatever happened to the “good ol’ days when dad went whistling off to his workplace after kissing mom and the kids good-bye, to return eight productive hours later to a home-cooked meal with his contented family gathered around the dining room table?


Now few families have the luxury of a stay-at-home parent. According to Statistics Canada recent publications, increasingly fewer families have two parents.  And it seems that our very survival depends on us working more and more hours.


Stats Canada tell us that the most stressed group are the 25-44 year olds who are employed full time with children at home, while the men in these homes work on the average 48.6 paid hours per week and 22.8 hours of unpaid work, with the women working 38.8 and 34.4 hours respectively.


It is no accident that this season’s TV lineup highlights folks seeking solutions to their life problems and we all gather around that sacred icon in our renovated family rooms, hoping we’ll get some solutions too. Our heroes and gurus have become the latest pop psychologists and the “survivors”


But there are better ways, and the solutions are as individual as each of us.  You would not expect your car to drive you around with no fuel in it.  Then why do we expect ourselves to function without fuelling up regularly or recharging our own batteries?  We cannot just keep giving and giving and expect to need nothing in return.  The signs of being out of balance are easily recognizable: exhaustion, burnout, impatience, depression, anger, even a sense that things are just not right.

Finding solutions implies becoming the master of our lives and taking control where it has been lost.


  • Pick up the phone and call a therapist or counselor. Don’t bottle things up. Talk to someone. An EAP counselor, or a psychotherapist,  is confidential and trained to help you sort out your concerns.


  • Set priorities.  A poster in my office reads, “ A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove… but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child”  Do you know what your own priorities are?


  • Get healthy.  Fitness is not about being a supermodel but about feeling good, having a strong immune system, and being able to cope with the demands life puts on us. Rest when you’re tired, get eight hours of sleep a night, eat nourishing food, take your vitamins, and get your annual check-ups.


  • Fuel your tank. What have you given up that you once loved doing?  What will make you feel more relaxed and recharge your batteries? 


  • Don’t feel inadequate.  We live in stressful times. The external support systems of earlier times are not always there for us.  It’s too easy to feel like a failure when life, in fact, has become much more complex.


  • Push yourself away from the table and television.  An hour spent walking in the fresh air clearing our brains is an hour better spent than in front of the depressing nightly news.


  • Take responsibility for your own life.  No one else can do it for you.


And in wishing you good success in moving or even climbing your own mountains, another sobering thought from Dr. Seuss:


“How did it get so late so soon?

It’s night before it’s afternoon.

December is here before it’s June.

My goodness how the time has flewn.

How did it get so late so soon?”