At work, you are expected to be on time, to perform specific tasks and carry out certain responsibilities. At the same time you have very real and pressing family needs and responsibilities.

Work: What's In It For You?

  • Each of us has different reasons for working.
  • Work fulfills a variety of needs.
  • Create a list of the rewards and benefits you obtain from working.

Sources of Work and Family Stress

Stress, in general, comes from change and the pressure of too many demands and desires. It can arise from the high expectations we have for ourselves. We want to do well at our job, we want to be a good parent, to help our own parents when they need care, and to spend quality time with loved ones. We all want to excel. But given the limits of time and energy, it's easy to feel as if we're not "making the grade" either at home or at work.

Barriers to achieving balance in our work, family and personal lives fall into two broad categories:

  • External Factors: the demands created by our involvement in the world, and
  • Internal Factors: our beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors.

Identifying Your Stressors

  • Look over the lists and note any sources of stress that apply to you.
  • Think of any others that affect you.


  • Requirements of the workplace
  • Community involvement
  • School conflicts
  • Household and family obligations
  • Unpredictable events


  • Unrealistically high expectations for our personal performance
  • The need to do it all and have it all
  • Ineffective behaviors
  • Poor health habits
  • Negative attitudes and feelings

Skills and Strategies for Achieving Balance

Interestingly, the same skills that contribute to your success on the job and make you a valued, productive employee are the skills you need to manage your home life and to achieve that healthy balance. These skills include:

  • Planning - Setting goals and priorities and establishing a plan of action.
  • Organizing - Saving time and energy by making "to do" lists, combining activities and errands, and easing transition times between home and work.
  • Communicating Effectively - Building and strengthening relationships.
  • Setting Limits - Deciding what you can and cannot do and learning to say "no". Saying "no" is actually saying "yes" to the things that are important to you.
  • Delegating - Sharing the load with friends and family, hiring help when feasible.
  • Establishing Support Systems - Reaching out to others both professionally and personally.

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