Work/life balance and stress managementWork-life balanceWork-life balance is adjusting your day-to-day activities to achieve a sense of balance between work life and personal life. Some benefits of a healthy work-life balance include:· reduced stress levels, at work and at home· greater focus and concentration· higher levels of job satisfaction· the opportunity to participate more fully in family and social life· more time to pursue personal goals and hobbies· improved health. What is stressEveryone experiences stress at some stage in their life. It is a way for us to know that something in our life is causing us concern and is affecting how we are thinking and feeling.Stress is not always bad. In small doses, it can help you perform under pressure and motivate you to do your best, but when you are constantly running in emergency mode, your mind and body pay the price.Signs and symptoms of stress· Mentalo Trouble thinking clearlyo Memory problemso Can’t concentrateo Low attention spano Poor judgemento Anxious or racing thoughtso Constant worrying· Emotionalo Moodinesso Easily upset or hurto Irritability or short tempero Agitation, unable to relax or keep stillo Feeling overwhelmedo Sense of loneliness and isolationo Depression or general unhappiness · Physicalo Tightness in muscleso Aches and painso Headaches, trembling, sweatingo Nausea, dizzinesso Chest pain, rapid heartbeato Loss of appetiteo Lack of sleep, dreams, nightmares· Behaviouralo Eating more or lesso Sleeping too much or too littleo Isolating yourself from otherso Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilitieso Using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relaxo Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing).These signs and symptoms of stress can also be caused by other psychological and medical problems. If you experience any of these, it is important to see your doctor—as they can help you determine whether or not your symptoms are stress-related.Causes of stressThe situations and pressures that cause stress are known as stressors. There are 2 types of stressors:· external (where outside forces act on us)· internal (self-generated, we have some control over it).External causes of stress· Major life changes· Work· Relationship difficulties· Financial problems· Being too busy· Children and family.Internal causes of stress (self-generated)· Inability to accept uncertainty· Doubt· Negative self-talk· Unrealistic expectations· Perfectionism· Lack of assertiveness.How to manage stressManaging stress is about making a plan to be able to cope effectively with daily pressures. The ultimate goal is to strike a balance between life, work, relationships, relaxation and fun. By doing this you are more able to deal with daily stress triggers and meet these challenges head on.There are some strategies that can help to look after your mind and body, and in turn it helps to control behaviours that result from too much stress include:Body related· Know your stress triggers· Recognise early warning signs and symptoms and act on them to reduce stress· Practise relaxation techniques or meditation· Eat a well-balanced, healthy diet· Exercise regularly—aim for at least 30 minutes every day· Get enough sleep—aim for around 8 hours every night. Thought related· Try to worry less about things you can’t control, and make plans for dealing with the things you can control· Set small, manageable and achievable goals· Apply problem-solving techniques—identifying the problem, clarifying its nature and map out options for dealing with it· Choose to have a positive attitude· Think positively about yourself and your achievements· Take time out to visualise a calm and peaceful place· Compete against yourself, not those around you and aim for your personal best· Develop, keep and use your sense of humour.Behaviour related· Plan and organise ahead to allow enough time to get tasks done· Use ‘to do’ lists and set priorities to help you achieve your goals· Be open and honest with people, rather than hiding your thoughts and feelings· Seek guidance and support when you are feeling stressed· Create a balanced lifestyle for yourself and allow time for recreation and relaxation· Reward yourself when you reach your achievements and goals· Limit your intake of alcohol, caffeine and other drugs.