Stress: 5 Tips for Better Work-Life Balance (cont.)

4. Accept Help to Balance Your Life

Allow yourself to rely on your partner, family members, or friends -- anyone who can watch the kids or run an errand while you focus on other top priorities. "Try tag-teaming," Hobfoll suggests. "One spouse works out before dinner, one after dinner, while the other watches the kids."

To get more alone-time with your partner, accept babysitting offers from friends and family, or try arranging a regular trade-off with another couple. "'I'll watch your kids this Saturday if you watch mine next Saturday.' Tag-teaming is a great way to create extra free time," Hobfoll says.

5. Plan Fun and Relaxation

Fun and relaxation are an essential part of living a well-balanced life. That's why Brown makes time for weekly guitar lessons, a yoga class, a date night with his wife, and a guys' night out a couple times a month. In addition, he exercises on a trampoline in his backyard most days of the week. How does he squeeze in all this playtime while running his business and sharing the responsibilities of raising a daughter? "If you believe that the most important thing is to be happy in life (not when I'm a millionaire or when I retire but right now) then you can always make time."

Until you get into the habit of taking time for yourself, set aside space in your planner for relaxation and fun. Plan what you're going to do and make any necessary arrangements, such as childcare, to ensure you'll be able to keep your commitment. "Remember, you make time for what you want to make time for," Fortgang says. If something is important to you, don't brush it aside with a dismissive "I don't have time for that." You are in charge of your own schedule -- it's up to you to make time.

Published March 28, 2005.


SOURCES: Laura Berman Fortgang, personal coach; and author, Living Your Best Life and NOW WHAT? 90 Days to a New Life Direction. Ismael Al-Ramahi, graduate student, Baylor College of Medicine. Stevan Hobfoll, PhD, distinguished professor of psychology, Kent State University; and co-author, Work Won't Love You Back: The Dual Career Couple's Survival Guide. Lachlan Brown, president, Tech for People. The American Psychological Association.

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