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Work-Life Balance
By Melanie McGregor, Specialist, Communications and Advancement, Canadian Mental Health Association – Halton Region Branch

“Work-life balance” – that elusive, idealized goal that is talked about like it’s the stuff that dreams are made of. But is it really possibleAnd if so, how? 

“Work-life balance” can be defined in many ways, but overall, it is feeling that work and life aren’t competing and that we are able to successfully manage our multiple roles and demands in each areaThere’s a lot to cram into our days as workers, partners, parents, caregivers, family members, friends, and people with interests, needs, and healthy habits to maintain, and being overloaded can have a huge impact on our overall health and wellness. We may feel out of control, have trouble keeping our mind on things, feel guiltyneglect self-care, and feel tired or run-down. 

To address or even prevent these impacts, we need to first think about our own expectations. I like to think of “work-life balance” as more “work-life management. Balance suggests that the two things are equal, stable, in proportion, but in fact, there are times when work will dominate or life away from work will require more of us. Coping during these times is about managing our demands and doing what we can to feel more on top of things and like we can bring our whole selves to work and back home at the end of the day.  

Work-life balance also does not mean that work and life become completely separate realms that don’t influence each other. Work is an integral part of our lives, and what happens at work is bound to affect our feelings, moods, and thoughts outside of work and vice versa. It also doesn’t mean that we will never feel stressed or overwhelmed or have competing demands. It’s a question of seeing these times as signals that we need to do something differently. 

So, what can we do to feel more in control and balanced? Consider these ideas as a start: 

We are bound to feel out of balance now and then, but some reflection, planning, and management should help tip the scales back towards wellness. 

For resources on mental health, please visit