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Work-Life Balance Stressing You Out? You Can Stop It!

Work-Life Balance Stressing You Out? You Can Stop It!

Dr. Sherrie Bourg Carter | Excelle

July 24, 2009

As a psychologist and author who specializes in stress management, I regularly work with high-achieving women, helping them understand and cope with the unique stressors in their lives. By far, one of the hottest topics for today’s high-achieving women is work-life balance. Recently, however, I’ve been hearing from more and more women who are struggling with the whole work/life balance thing — and not for the reasons you might think.

Although the concept of work/life balance is not a new one, it has become more popular over the last few decades as more and more women have entered the workforce and have become increasingly conflicted over the time they must split between work and family. In fact, the recent surge of women into the job market as well as Michelle Obama’s focus on it has breathed new life into the work/life balance movement.

Of course, that’s good news. It shows that there is at least some recognition of the dangerous path that women are traveling on these days if they don’t attend to their emotional and physical well-being and health in their increasingly hectic and overscheduled lives. As is true with most things in life, however, there are few things that are completely “good,” and that certainly holds true for work/life balance. It has its weaknesses that I believe are important to be aware of and discuss.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a balanced life. If you’re one of those lucky few who can achieve it, then by all means, balance! But most of us aren’t lucky in that way so the question I have for you is how much additional stress are you placing on yourself to capture this elusive balance everyone seems to be talking about these days?

Now I know some of you are probably thinking, “Stressed out about balance? What ever is she talking about? There’s no stress in balance! They’re on opposite ends of the continuum.” But are they? Well, not always, and what I’m finding is that this is especially not the case for high-achieving women.

Why is that?

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