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Don't let balance stress you out

     Who isn't stress these days? Very few people I can think of live life stressfree. On that note, today, I welcome guest blogger Sherrie Bourg, an expert in stress and burnout. She is currently working on her fourth book, “The Dangers Lurking Above the Glass Ceiling: Anticipating, Recognizing, and Preventing Collapse Once You're on Top.” Bourg, is a partner in a forensic psychology practice in Fort Lauderdale. Below is her blog post:

   Dr. Sherrie Bourg Carter                             Recently, I’ve been hearing from a lot of women who are struggling with the whole work/life balance thing – and not for the reasons you might think.

    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 becomes how much additional stress are you placing on yourself to capture this elusive balance everyone seems to be talking about? 

To find out, ask yourself these questions:
1) Do you view work/life balance as something you should accomplish every day, and if you don’t, you’ve failed?
2) Do you fret if your work prevents you from getting to some of the things you wanted to do on your life balance list (i.e., spending time with the family, catching a movie)?


      If you answered yes to either of these questions, you may be making something that is supposed to be stress-reducing (seeking balance) into something that is stress-inducing. So here’s my advice. Look at achieving work/life balance the same as you look at wanting to become a millionaire. Most of us would like to achieve that status, but the reality is that very few of us ever will achieve it. We just work hard every day with the goal of getting as close to it as possible, but we don’t beat ourselves up for not making the million. The same holds true for work/life balance. There’s nothing wrong with having it as a goal, but if you’re not realistic about it, it will only add to your stress.

       Recognize and appreciate your own excellence. And most importantly, remember that although balance is important, don’t feel that you have to squeeze your uniquely shaped peg into what unfortunately seems to be evolving into a one-size-fits-all hole known as work/life balance. Balance is self-defined; it’s what works for you and your family. If you allow it to be anything else, you’re only adding another thing to your “to-do” list. And really, isn’t that list full enough?
(You can find Bourg's blog at high-achievingwomen.com.)