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The Hood Magazine

Work-Life Balance Starts with Boundaries

11/28/2016 12:00PM ● By Hood Magazine
By Alyssa Kuecker, Avera Health 


Sitting around the dinner table, your son is eagerly telling you how well he did on his history presentation. Your phone dings, and your child’s voice fades away as you answer another work email.

At 5 o’clock, you so eagerly left the office — perhaps it followed you home.

Work is important, but it shouldn’t prevent you from missing the important moments at home. Chris Pudwill an outpatient therapist at Avera, talks about why we still engage in office work at home and how you can help yourself achieve better work-life balance.

Is there an increase in work-life balance issues?
It’s always been a struggle to keep up with your responsibilities at work as well as home, especially when it became more common to have both parents working. Today, we have more access to our work through the use of smartphones, laptops, etc. It’s easy to take a few minutes to answer an email when we feel our phone buzz in our pocket.

Why is it difficult for people to leave work at work?
For a lot of professionals, the role they play at work is part of their identity. For example, doctors and lawyers are heavily invested in other people’s lives, and issues they deal with on a day-to-day basis are hard to turn off when your own family wants to grab an ice cream cone on the way to the park. Other people may wear multiple hats at work, and therefore need extra time to meet all those demands. Still, others fear losing their job, so they work longer and harder to prove their worth.

What are signs that you’re out of balance?
Signs may include feeling irritable, difficulty falling or staying asleep, changes in appetite and other physical symptoms such as upset stomach. At home, you may be physically present, but your eyes are glossed over as you think about your duties at the office. Other signs include the obvious working from home, taking or making calls.

What are helpful tips to put your life in balance?
Set boundaries if you are able to. Not every email or call is an emergency! Learn to screen your emails and calls; let them go to voicemail and if it seems urgent, go ahead and follow through. Or, set aside an hour each night after the kids go to bed to answer email. The trick is to not work continuously at home if your focus should be on your family.