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CI: Most women’s lives are a juggling act: trying to balance work with family responsibilities (kids, partners, pets). How can we reduce the stress that goes along with trying to do it all? How do you keep you in the work and family equation.
FLW: 1. Prioritize–don’t try to do it all. It’s not possible. 2. Plan – Literally schedule time into your day for what’s important: husband, children, SELF. If you don’t take time to restore yourself doing something that makes you feel good, you cannot do your best at your job or caring for your family. Exercise. Take a stress reduction course to learn new techniques for reducing stress. Schedule time for your hobby or to pamper yourself.
CI: In your experience, what is the biggest cause of stress for today’s working women?
FLW: Trying to do it all by yourself and not enlisting adequate support from Your husband and children.
CI: What is the best way to manage stress in the office? At home?
FLW: Again, prioritize. Don’t be a perfectionist. Concentrate on doing the important things well; let the less important things slide. Be flexible and a little more easy going. Enjoy your work. If you’re not enjoying your work, it will take too much out of you.
CI: Many working mothers feel guilty (or are made to feel guilty) for spending less time with their children. Any suggestions of how to deal with these feelings?
FLW: Plan special time each day and/or each week to be alone with each child and focus exclusively on that child. Let them know this is their time. No interruptions from work or other family. Start with an amount of time that you know you will be able to commit to (DON’T over-commit initially). DO NOT renege on this commitment. If, over time, you can allot more time, then do so.
CI: At the end of the day or week, do you have any tips on how to make the transition from employee to wife/partner and/or mother? Can you give us some techniques to relax and/or increase energy?
FLW: Do not rush home at the end end of the work day without a transition period. Try one of the following techniques:
Frances Lylan Wolff, MS, MBA, is a stress management consultant working with businesses, health care providers and the general public.