By Rita Pagan

There seems to be no defined line between work and home life these days. A typical work day can be as easy as 9-5 or as long and hard as working 12 to 15 hours straight, not even realizing you missed lunch and dinner. Even after hopping off my laptop, I’m still checking email periodically. Work email has almost become an addiction I can’t kick, adding to my stress levels when I’m trying to balance family dinner, exercising, and the dreaded algebra homework my 8th grader comes home with each night.

The so-called perfect work/life balance is dependent upon your personality or personal drivers; some people thrive on working nonstop, some work hard and play hard, others take a more laid-back approach to life in general. Understanding how you work contributes to a successful and happy work/life balance.

Whatever your preferred work ethic, here are some tips for staying less stressed at work and being more awesome instead (because I’m sure you’re already awesome to begin with!):

  • Take breaks to maintain manageable stress levels–get up and clear your mind for five minutes.
  • Set clear expectations. I know that answering emails until 10 p.m. is just setting an expectation that emails will always be answered that late.
  • If you’re an overachiever, consider cutting back to realistic goals so you feel you’ve succeeded. *RAISING HAND* Overachiever here!! This is a hard one for me because I want to do it all, and I want to do it all NOW!
  • Have an escape; whether it’s daily exercise or binge-watching that new Netflix show everyone is talking about, you need something to help you unwind and release that pent-up frustration.

What are your stress relievers? What things do you currently do that help separate your work from your home life?

Rita Pagan is the sales and exhibits coordinator at International Parking Institute and a lead planner for IPMI’s own professional development leadership event, coming next fall in Pittsburgh, Pa.