Even for those of us that love our job, work can be stressful. With deadlines, meetings, KPIs and targets, it can seem to be all consuming and at times overwhelming. And let’s face it, as much as we love them, family can be really stressful as well, with homework and bath routines for the kids, and dinner and clean up on top of that. “So what?” you might say. “That is just life”. And you would be right, however many of us increase our stress around these day to day things without even knowing it because our minds try to process these stressors all at once.
- We may drive home from work thinking about what needs to be done when we get home.
- We may get home and have dinner while thinking about a conversation we had at work.
- We may get the kids evening routine done but be thinking about all the things we did not get done that day,
- Or worse we may try to get to sleep while thinking about all the things we need to do tomorrow.
All these thoughts have some thing in common, THEY DO NOT CHANGE A THING ABOUT THE DAY YOU HAD OR THE DAY TO COME!! But they do distract you from your home and family.
So how do we stop our selves from doing this? One possible solution is to be mindfully in the moment, not just on auto pilot doing the home routine, while we allow another part of our mind to grind its gears over the events of the day (or tomorrow for that matter). While mindfulness is incredibly important to separate between our work and home lives, BOUNDARIES and not allowing work stress into the home environment is essential in being able to manage our stress both at home and work.
Here are some strategies to help you to leave work at work. These strategies are provided by one of our psychologists who helps people by providing anxiety counselling and stress:
Writing is great because it uses a different part of the brain to process events and it helps to get thoughts out of your head and to see them down on paper. This can take different forms depending on what you are trying to let go. For example, if you have had a difficult conversation(s), it can help to journal it (what was said, how it made you feel/think, what was the outcome). If you have a lot of tasks that still need to be done make a list so that the tasks do not need to be stuck in your head.
Some people find it helpful to use a visualisation tool to leave things at work. For Example, You might imagine you wear an invisible coat to work and all of the days stressors get stuck to this coat, and at the end of the day you take the coat off and leave it at work.
This may be sweating it out at the gym before going home or it may simply be a leisurely walk. This type of physical activity helps to improve the mind body connection, produces endorphins and helps to burn off the stress energy of the day.
We may not always be able to reduce the amount of stress in our lives but we do not have to worry about everything at once. It can be difficult leaving stress where it belongs, as carrying the stress of the day with us into the home is something we have been doing habitually for a long time, however with patience and practice and self-awareness it is very possible.