Aug. 13, 2018

How to overcome four common hurdles to work-life integration

Balancing all that life brings isn’t easy — here’s a little help navigating four frequent causes for stress
Life moves pretty fast. If you stop and recognize your own needs, it can get pretty challenging, too.
Life moves pretty fast. If you stop and recognize your own needs, it can get pretty challenging, too Ewan Nicholson for the University of Calgary

Achieving work-life integration is a constant effort for employees, and for organizations that wish to provide their employees with the best opportunities possible. At times life can be hectic, and since each individual struggles with their own unique demands, the University of Calgary is committed to providing a variety of resources for faculty and staff.

“We spend many of our waking hours in the workplace, so being able to leverage resources to support our personal and professional lives helps employees navigate challenges while staying focused and productive at work,” says Jodie Jeworski, manager of WellBeing and WorkLife in Human Resources.

Work-life integration is a broad term that encompasses every aspect of weighing priorities between our personal and professional lives. There are a number of obstacles to achieving work-life integration. Here are some tips and resources to help overcome some of the most common obstacles.

1. Seeing self-care as selfish

Self-care is vital for promoting and maintaining a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle. When life gets busy, self-care can be put on the back burner, when the opposite should be the case. Learning to effectively and efficiently take care of yourself is key to thriving in all aspects of life. When you take care of yourself, getting things done may get easier.

“Looking after yourself is an important part of living a happy and healthy life,” says Jeworski. “Self-care refers to the activities and practices that we deliberately choose to engage in on a regular basis to maintain and enhance our health and well-being. It can be as simple as reading a book or taking some time for mindfulness or mediation.” 

Self-care is not selfish and the sooner you get away from that mindset, the better. So take a walk outside during your lunch break, or register for the Campus Wellness Walk on Aug. 22. You can also sign up for a workshop that interests you, like the Working Mind on Aug. 23 or Building Personal Resilience on Aug. 15. There are many resources available to help you make and keep self-care a priority in your daily routine.

2. Being a part of the sandwich generation

Many faculty and staff at the university fall into the sandwich generation, which has both children and aging parents or relatives to care for. These people can feel immense stress and pressure, so it’s important they know what resources are available.

Through Homewood Health, employees can access resources related to new parent supportchildcare and parenting supporteldercare and family care support, and resource locator tools for childcare and eldercare.

The University of Calgary has childcare services available onsite through the Childcare Centre, as well as a partnership with Kids and Company, who provide emergency back-up care packages, discounts for multiple children, and hot lunches.

It is important to stay positive, motivated and have a clear focus on your goals. It is also important to know that you don’t have to figure everything out on your own — there are onsite and community resources to help.

3. Not getting enough quality sleep

It seems simple, but getting enough quality sleep can have a huge impact on your life. Taking care of your overall health by eating well and exercising regularly can also help with fatigue and insomnia. Take time to figure out what works for you and make small goals for yourself related to sleep in your life.

The WellBeing and WorkLife website has resources to find out how to get better sleep.

4. Resisting change

Employees at the University of Calgary are often involved in many projects, processes, and research that involve change. There are a variety of resources available for faculty, staff, and postdoctoral associates to access to navigate change, including the Change and Personal Resiliency workshop through Human Resources Training and Development.

Through Homewood Health, our Employee and Family Assistance Plan provider, there are a variety of articles and e-courses to manage change:



As employees, we also have access to the following courses through

For more tips and information and to find resources to help achieve a better work-life balance, visit WellBeing and Worklife, and Homewood Health.

As part of the university’s commitment to implement the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (National Standard), we will be featuring stories throughout the year that relate to the 13 psychosocial factors that foster a psychologically heathy workplace.

Balance is one of the 13 factors illustrated in the National Standard. The University of Calgary is a recipient of the Excellence Canada Mental Health at Work Silver Level Certification in this area. Visit WellBeing and WorkLife to learn more about the implementation of the National Standard at the University of Calgary and to learn about existing programs and resources that support each of the 13 Factors.