In this 24/7, high-tech, global marketplace, the elusive quest for work/life balance can be a tumultuous journey, as many have the added responsibility of looking for work or just trying to hold onto the job they have. As unemployment numbers rival anything we've seen since the Great Depression, the working and living experience has merged by default.

"We have essentially become a WorkLife Nation," says Judy Martin, a work/life strategist and journalist who offers a fresh voice on the emerging trends impacting the way we balance work and home. "A new perspective on work/life culture is emerging. It's a new, multi-faceted vision of how we work, live and thrive in a world that is presenting difficult challenges, forcing us to embrace more flexibility at work and in our family lives." According to Ms. Martin, the working and living experience, separated for so long, has merged due to three dominant themes.

First, we are working hard to secure our good standing at work, thus the lines tend to blur between work and life as overtime becomes the norm.

Second, due to layoffs, some have chosen to take control of their own lives by becoming entrepreneurs. This group is working hard and putting in long hours to gain market and brand strength in a weakening economy. They are often rewiring their careers and taking more risks.

The third theme is the growing interest in social capitalism; doing work that is closely aligned with one's life passion, core human values and service. The blurred lines between work and life are fueled by a passion for a career infused with meaning and purpose.

The great WorkLife merge is happening whether one likes it or not. How it is handled is a matter of choice: To come from a place of fear, or proactively take personal responsibility. Several concise tips offer an alternative to burnout so that one can not only survive, but also to thrive in a chaotic job market and slumping economy.

1. Give yourself permission to take a break. We are our own worst critic at home and at work. Give yourself permission to wind down, even for a few minutes a day, with a walk, exercise, a good book or a movie.

2. Explore your own brand of creativity. If you like to write, speak or have another artistic bent, think of ways to incorporate those skills in the workplace or in your family life.

3. Journal on a consistent basis. In times of frustration, saying what you want, when you want, regardless of the consequences, may create conflict at home and in the workplace, but venting your soul to your eyes only might give you a new perspective.

4. Take joy in accomplishing small tasks. Even if it's just the laundry or making a phone call, set a few goals for yourself each day. This can be an enormous help to alleviate anxiety. Procrastination makes it difficult to move forward.

5. Embrace a personal identity independent of your business image. When we become too identified with our job or a position of power, anything that challenges may cause anxiety. Put more effort into hobbies outside of work; explore volunteering outside of the sector in which you work; spend more time cultivating relationships; and expand your skill base into other sectors.

6. Design your own program to cultivate resilience. Think about what brings you to a place of calm, and take time out of your day to slow the wheels of the mind. Whether it's meditating, playing tennis or reading, out of silence comes creativity and vitality. That small break just might be the catalyst for a great idea.

7. Remember to breathe. The interaction of activity and paying attention to how you breathe requires concentration and will keep your mind focused on what is in front of you. Breathing is the healing elixir of life and is the greatest tool to calm the mind and body.

Throughout her life, Judy Martin has walked the fine line that bridges work and life. An Emmy Award-winning journalist, she has been inspired by the resilience of those affected by natural and/or manmade disasters. "In the aftermath of 9/11, I reported by day and worked at night with the children impacted by the terror attacks," she says. "It was that experience that made me take a hard look at the tools that people utilize to cope with chaos in their lives, and how those tools translate to life as a whole."

Since then, Judy has worked with business executives and facilitated workshops on how to reduce stress and cultivate resilience in an era of uncertainty. She then developed her signature lecture series "PRACTICAL CHAOS®: Cultivating Work/Life Resilience in a 24/7 Global Marketplace" (which is also the topic of her CD) and her popular WorkLifeNation: Success, Serenity & Significance 24/7 - Newsletter and blog.

For further information, please go to www.WorkLifeNation.com or www.JudyMartinSpeaks.com

Author's Bio: 

Judy has been covering work/life culture, business and social issues for nearly two decades. As a New York City Correspondent for American Public Media's Marketplace Morning Report, Judy covered business, corporate and workplace issues. She reported live from Ground Zero and the New York Stock Exchange the day it reopened after the events of 9/11. In those tenuous years, she also covered the upheaval in the corporate arena and the global markets

As an executive coach specializing in stress reduction, Judy works with individuals and business owners to align their core values with their business message, to navigate information overload and to cultivate the tools for resilience.

Judy is a national radio contributor whose work has been heard on NPR News, The World, BBC Radio 3 and The World Vision Report. For the last 15 years Judy has also contributed as an anchor/reporter on the News 12 Television Networks. She is also the WorkLife Examiner at Examiner.com.

Through her WorkLife Nation blog - Success, Serenity & Significance 24/7, Judy gives voice to the stories and pioneers on the cutting-edge of work/life integration. She also produces the quarterly WorkLife NationTM newsletter, WorkLife Minute, and WorkLife NationTM podcasts.