So it has been reported by CMHA that fifty-eight percent of Canadians report “overload” associated with their many roles that they take on. It isn’t that surprising to read this, what with financial burdens, family issues, and just the fast pace of life almost out pacing itself. But I have to wonder what it is that the other forty-two percent found to achieve that balance between work and other aspects of life that some are maybe missing.

Lack of time, scheduling conflicts, and feeling overwhelmed, are contributors, for sure. There are others that can prevent work life balance as well and the list can be pretty vast if we let things get out of control.

I’m sure we’ve all heard of people wearing multiple hats, but it doesn’t necessarily mean we are doing a good job if our health and/or personal lives are being put at risk. Too many tasks lead to work or role overload which can cause burn-out, and that is never a good thing as burn-out can lead to some serious illnesses.

Too many responsibilities and/or demands from work can create hardships on the home front and the ability to fulfill family responsibilities starts to become difficult. Extra long hours on the job can begin to interfere with being present and enjoying family life; or maybe, even lead to conflicts/disputes and troubles. But it can also go the other way. Family can interfere and cause difficulties at the job. When obligations such as a child’s illness or other caregiver duties prevent attendance at work, or a stressful situation at home makes concentration on the job difficult.

There are other issues that can be named as contributors to the imbalance:

  • guilt;
  • loss of control;
  • difficulty to concentrate;

And it can be hard at times to determine a clear culprit. It all leads to the reason behind why finding the balance is so important. That balance, suggestions to finding it, begin with taking control (perhaps easier said than done):

  • schedule breaks to breath;
  • set priorities and make a list of daily activities;
  • journal your thoughts;
  • find a creative hobby;
  • take a relaxing walk when you get home or before leaving for work.

Recognizing that absolute perfection is never going to be achieved if we continue racing toward something that is not there, is a good place to start; a kind of reality check for our well-being. To know that it is ok to take a break. It is ok to not be ahead. These things can be done while still accomplishing tasks either at work or at home, or both. Find your boundaries, because you are your best tool to finding the balance.

CMHA (Canadian Mental Health association) or CCOHS (Canadian Centre of Health & Safety) are good resources to also check out

By Mark Koning

Mark is the Manager of Communications & Operations with the AIDS Committee of York Region. Mark is also an Author and Blogger of Challenging Barriers and The BIST Blog. (Brain Injury Society of Toronto)