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  • Writer's pictureDr. Sarah Penney, ND, MSc

Work. Life. Balance.

You have no doubt been educated about the importance of this at some point, likely against your will, but have you taken the time to apply it to your daily grind as of late? Our concept of work life balance changes drastically as we drift through different stages of life, and may be very dependant on our job, social network and even our living situation. The importance of balancing out this scale should not be one that is underestimated, as this is exactly what will lead you to succeed in your ventures and evade the burnout that may be plaguing colleagues that surround you. If you catch yourself feeling guilty about perhaps taking your allotted vacation, or NOT working evenings and weekends even thought others around you might, 2014 may be a good year to work on balancing your priorities to prepare for long term success.

As we transition from high school, to post secondary, to the working world our responsibilities, dedication and maturity levels change drastically. Although the stereotype does not hold true for everyone, many had a college or university career that was full of fun memories and sleeping for 16 hours in a row whenever possible. Regardless of how stressful or loose we perceived this time to be, many who go from having one class per day to a steady 9-5 or 7-6 job, or grad school will be thrown for a serious loop for a few reasons. Unless you were one of the unlucky few who had extremely overbearing parents watching your every move and mark, one big change is direct accountability for our work and knowing that it influences how others perceive our skills and abilities. The way everyone reacts to this pressure is different, but it throws many into overdrive striving for perfection and recognition. Although hard work certainly pays off, especially when learning new skills, one person can only do so much. The scramble to learn and perform can lead to exhaustion and resentment of your job - so be cognizant of how your performance is affecting you and take breaks when you need them. It will pay off in the long run.

Another factor that can affect work life balance is your access to social activities you previously enjoyed. This is especially prevalent for this who take jobs or go to school in different cities that may be far from their established social and support network. Or maybe life events like the birth of a child have changed your patterns of social interaction. If you have problems motivating yourself to have fun and relax on your own, why not start now make an effort to connect with new people. A great resource I like to recommend is a site called, where local events are organized. Everything from outdoor adventures to coffee shop connections with a group of others interested in a common topic are available. If you are a new parent, why not reach out and try to connect with other patents in your community? Explore the multiple city run and private play group and or support groups for dads and moms alike. Having access to a social outlet or developing and maintaining hobbies you can do on your own is a key part to achieving balance.

So why not take a look at your life no matter what stage your are in, and ask what part of it is work and which is life. If the latter part of the pie is getting thinner, try and reconnect with relaxation and fun in 2014 to decrease stress levels and increase happiness.

- Dr. Sarah Penney, ND, MSc


As originally written for

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