If you’re working longer hours to protect your job status or keep your family afloat and finding it difficult to maintain a balance between work and family life, you’re not alone. The struggle to balance work and home has intensified for many men due to the challenging economic climate. Almost 50 percent of employed men say they are currently experiencing work-family conflict, up from 34 percent in 1977, according to a recent study conducted by the New-York based Work and Family Institute.

Attempting to juggle career demands with the roles of father, husband and friend leaves many men feeling exhausted. If you feel pulled in several directions at once but know that you can’t reduce your hours at work, it’s important to decompress when you’re off the clock. Taking care of your health in times of stress will help ensure long-term good health.

Here are some tips to help keep you physically and mentally fit:

Maintain boundaries between work and home. Modern technology may have blurred the lines between on and off the clock with things like email and cell phones, but try to resist the tendency to let work invade your private time. Avoid checking work-related email and messages after working hours. Use your commute time to clear your mind and leave worries about work behind. By the time you walk through your front door, try to be ready to focus all your energy on your family.

Prioritize and delegate. When you step up your efforts at work, you’ll probably have to cut back somewhere at home. Prioritize your commitments, putting family and health at the top of the list, then decide what you can cut from the bottom of the list. Try to find more time by delegating as much as possible. Empower your subordinates at work to take on more responsibility. If you have kids in the family, let them know that you expect more help with household maintenance and chores.

Decompress with exercise. Physical activity may be the last thing on your mind after a long day at work, but exercise is one of healthiest ways to decompress. If your job requires a minimal amount of exertion, set aside time each day for exercise before or after work. Your efforts will help you stay physically fit and mentally alert.

Schedule your time. Establishing a schedule for work and home will help you keep your boundaries clear. For example, say you work eight to ten hours each day during the week; during your off hours, you can schedule an hour for physical activity and three hours for family time each day. Instead of filling your entire weekend with chores and errands, schedule some enjoyable activities with family and friends. Planning your week this way will help enforce a balance between work and life.

Drop energy drains. Try to minimize the time you spend on people and activities that drain your energy without providing value. For example, you may be spending more time at the office because you’re wasting time surfing the web or listening to a complaining co-worker. Minimize these distractions so you can get your work done and leave on time.

Learn to say no. The demands on your time may be coming from all sides. When you feel that your plate is full, learn to say no when someone asks you to volunteer for additional work. If you’ve taken on personal obligations that offer little emotional reward, decide if you’re ready to quit. Allow yourself time for doing things you really enjoy instead of being guided by a misplaced sense of responsibility.

As you work for greater work-life balance, avoid turning the effort into another source of stress. Think of balance as a process that you’re continually refining rather than a goal that must be attained.

Erica Moss is the social media outreach coordinator for the Master of Nursing program at Georgetown University, which has one of the nation’s leading family nurse practitioner programs. Outside of work, Erica is an avid dog lover who loves photography and meeting new people.