Millions of women juggle multiple responsibilities in the office, at home, and in other areas of their communities, which many seem to do with ease. However, the constant pressure women face to “do it all” can leave them feeling emotionally and physically drained. Chronic stress can increase the chances of developing depression, anxiety, and even heart disease.

The concept of work-life balance suggests that we can have careers, babies, and a clean house if we just prioritize and work harder at ‘balancing’ our lives. The term “work-life balance” is rarely directed at men, but perhaps this idea should become something that people of all ages and genders embrace. Even in today’s progressive society, there are still many stereotypes that people have about successful women compared to successful men.

For instance:

  • When men have a profitable career and a family, they’re considered to be the primary breadwinners, and are therefore exempt from having additional responsibilities in their personal lives.
  • It is often a misconception that all businesswomen are prioritizing their careers over their children or vice versa.
  • There’s still a strongly-held belief that men are expected to work and provide for their families, whereas women are expected to be the primary caregivers. Some women are still made to feel guilty if they work instead of staying home with children, and on the flipside, men are typically not given paternity leave, even if they ask.
  • Women are considered to be more risky employees because they might become pregnant or have to take extra days off to care for their family. Meanwhile, men are not considered to be risky candidates for having conflicts between work and family.

Work-life balance should not be seen as a way for women to successfully “do it all,” but rather a way for every individual to create a life that makes them feel fulfilled, whether that means working a 9 to 5 job or being a stay-at-home parent. Women are often advised to strike a work-life balance in order to manage their stress and maintain their health. But how exactly does a busy businesswoman and mother find that perfect balance?

For women who have exceedingly high expectations for themselves in the workplace, it can be quite challenging to set limits. If you tend to work late or head to the office on your days off, consider implementing these tips to maintain a successful career without sacrificing your personal needs:

  • Create a daily “to-do list,” and break up major projects into smaller steps.
  • Take short breaks frequently.
  • Connect with your coworkers, and be honest if you need help.
  • If it would better accommodate your lifestyle, ask your boss if you can have more flexible hours or work from home a day or two a week.
  • Stick to a daily routine to boost your overall productivity and reduce stress.

Helpful Ways to Manage Stress at Home

It can be difficult for anyone to be present at home when work is on their mind, and technology has made it harder than ever to leave work responsibilities at the office. As wonderful as they are, cell phones bring more stress into our lives with clients, bosses and co-workers having access to us 24/7. This can frequently allow work to seep into personal and/or family time and can cause stress and lack of sleep when we are supposed to be relaxing and refueling.

While you shouldn’t make it a habit, sometimes it may be necessary to pull away to get something done for work. This is where self-discipline and good family organization comes in.

Here are some ways to ease your stress and guard your personal time:

  • Schedule “me-time” on your calendar to allow yourself time doing what you love. Make this a non-negotiable commitment.
  • Make rules about answering work emails/calls at home. For example, you might choose to not respond to any emails after 7 p.m. or to turn off your work phone on the weekends.
  • Delegate household responsibilities to your family members to ensure that everyone is doing their fair share of chores.
  • Take care of your body by getting regular exercise and eating a variety of whole foods.

No matter what you do for work or what your personal life is life, be sure to prioritize your own needs and make time for the things that you value and enjoy. Taking care of yourself and/or first can make a remarkable difference and help you achieve the perfect work-life balance that you desire.