Who among us, doesn’t struggle in striking that ideal work-life balance?
The word “balance” even seems like a stretch, what with smartphones, instant email, and other technology that blur the line between office and regular life. It’s more like work-life triage. And, if we’re not careful, the stress from deadlines, meetings, meet-ups, touch-bases, and meetings to discuss those meet-ups about touch-bases, can bleed into home life. Not a great look, considering that in the eyes of your family, you could transform into a grumpy, distracted stranger who never stops working.
The way to prevent this, then, is to construct positive post-work habits that enable you to release stress before you get home.
Here are 7 tips to help you keep your work stress out of your home.
1. Take a “Mental Commute”
2. Unplug on the Way Home
3. Set Strict Email and Phone Rules at Home
4. Get Your Sleep
5. Change Your Vocabulary
6. Watch What You Eat
7. Make Sure Your Vacation is Actually a Vacation
Sometimes the obvious answer is the toughest to put into practice. When your day is done, give yourself some time to separate from whatever stress is plaguing you at work. Set an intention, by telling yourself that you are going home and leaving work stress behind. This really emphasizes that just because you arrive home physically doesn’t mean you are truly present at home. In order to get home mentally, it takes a conscious intention to prepare the mind. Whether it’s mindful breathing, relaxing music, or something else, the idea is to create a routine for disconnecting.
Whether your commute is 15 minutes or 1.5 hours, that can be time that you can use wisely to do things that will improve your mindset when you walk in the door. Practicing gratitude by simply listening to music, calling an old friend to catch up, or noticing how beautiful the drive is, can put you in a better mood for when you walk in the door. If you work from home, then go for a walk around the block or have some sort of routine.
We all reach for our mobile phones throughout the day and well into the evening. But even the most innocuous glance can send you down a rabbit hole that leads to you disconnecting from your family and plugging back into work. Evenings and weekends should be as phone-free as possible. If you’re checking your email on Sunday, work isn’t invading your personal life. You’re inviting it in.
Sleep is a vital part of keeping yourself mentally and physically healthy, and it’s especially important when you’re stressed. Aim for at least 7 hours of good, restful sleep per night to get your mind and body balanced. To get a good night’s sleep, eliminate any blue light such as the cellphone, TV, or the computer at least 30 minutes before bed. By making this a part of your nighttime routine, you can start getting a more restful sleep.
Simply altering one phrase in your daily speech can have a powerful effect. Instead of saying, “I have to…” say “I get to…”
So, when you’re leaving work, don’t say, “I have to go home and see my family,” try, “I get to go home and see my family.” Changing that one word from “have” to “get” can alter your perspective.
So many of us are on the go during the day that we forget to eat, or just throw down a cup of coffee or a candy bar to fuel us through until 5:00. Unfortunately, that will eventually catch up to you, not only robbing you of energy but making you more irritable. If you haven’t eaten during the day, take a moment on your drive home to grab a healthy snack. Making sure you are properly nourished and have energy to keep going is a necessary condition for being able to keep stress out of the house and getting “hangry” (hungry plus angry).
Do not let anyone or anything get in the way of your vacation time. Very often, employees will tell their bosses that, even though they’re on vacation, they’re still reachable. Many experts advise against this. The benefit of vacation comes from being away and disconnected, in turn giving your mind the space to relax and recharge. When you can accomplish relaxation, you become more creative and effective when back at work. If you never really get away, you never fully get those benefits.
It’s important to remember that home is where happiness and life truly happens. By practicing these tips, you should be able to start regaining a better work-life balance and learn how to not bring the dreaded work stress into your happy home.
(written by: Whitney)