It can be hard holding down a busy job and then leaving the problems, challenges and stress at work – i.e. not bringing them home with you.
It’s easy to bring home periodic stress and worry and this often leads to your home life becoming affected by work.
In my own personal experience it’s been my family that have suffered the most. I’ve taken home the stress and drama of the day and I’ve failed to deal with it where it belongs; at work.
This results in me being short tempered and not present. And generally not the husband and father I want to be. This hurts.
Over the years I’ve found a variety of tactics that seem to work well in helping me leave the stress at work. I sometimes have to do all the following and sometimes just a few of them.
Here are 5 techniques to leave stress at work – these have worked for me, they may also work for you.
1. Leave your worries outside
When you get home find somewhere to leave your work worries outside of your house.
This sounds weird but find somewhere you can metaphorically leave your worries before you go through your front door.
For me this is the dashboard of my car. I’ve heard of people using a branch of a tree, others using plant pots. Whatever you choose, go to that physical item and say in your mind (or out loud) that you are leaving your worries there – and that you’ll pick them up again when you head back out to work tomorrow.
So I lean forward, touch the top of the dashboard and say “leaving work here right now”. I get out of the car and head inside to focus on my family. This works a treat.
2. 5, 5
I learned this technique from listening to Michael Hyatt’s podcast.
When you get in the house after work, spend 5 minutes sat less than 5 ft from your respective partner / children and actively listen to them.
This is a great technique that’s helped me to appreciate my wife more and that she too may have had a tough day at work or with the kids.
It’s a way of saying to the other person that you’re listening and it’s a way of connecting with them after several hours apart.
3. Go through tomorrow’s tasks
Before you leave work it’s a good idea to plan tomorrow’s work.
Work through your to do list and get anything prepped that can help you hit tomorrow head on.
This way you’re preparing for tomorrow – you are ready for what lies ahead and you’ve no need to worry about anything until you get in to work tomorrow.
This is a great way of stopping your mind whirring over what you might have to do at work tomorrow.
4. Check emails just twice a day, and not just before you leave work
I only check my emails twice a day (unless an issue is on-going). I check first thing in the morning and then mid-afternoon. By checking mid-afternoon I’m ensuring I leave some of my working day to deal with anything that needs my attention.
It can be quite stressful to check your email just before you leave work only to find that something has cropped up that could wait until tomorrow, but you feel compelled to deal with before you leave.
This is something I’m not great at doing but I’m trying to build this in to my daily habits.
Journaling about the day, my thoughts, my ideas and any actions that are floating around in my head seems to be an effective way of dealing with work pressures and family life.
I’ve yet to really try this one out in anger, but it could be an effective technique for you.
What works for me though, may not work for you, but what’s become abundantly clear to me over the years is the people who seem to suffer the most from the inevitable stresses at work are the people I love the most; my family. And there comes a point in everyones life where the tension between work and life leans too far one way.
The above ideas may help you to stop taking work home with you. They mostly work for me but they do require consistent daily practice. I’d be interested to hear how you balance the work and life tension and how you stop bringing the stresses and strains home with you.