How to leave work stress in the office
No matter how energised you are by your work, it’s hard to think of a job that doesn’t involve at least some level of stress. Even if you are paid to pet puppies and sample new ice cream flavours all day while getting a massage, there’s still pressure to succeed. Because we still need to interact with the other humans in our lives after the end of a long workday — like our family and friends it’s a good idea to learn how to leave that stress at work.
According to Therapia Psychology Director, Mardi Kaye, several strategies for making sure your work stress doesn’t follow you home — beyond declaring an end to our work day and staying off work email after a set time. Here are three of our favourites:
Create your own after work ritual before heading home
Going directly from work mode to home mode can be mentally jarring. One minute you’re anxious about making an upcoming deadline, and the next you’re expected to thoughtfully listen as your family tells you about their day. A lot of times, that’s easier said than done. That’s why Mardi recommends adding an extra beat to your commute home. This could include anything from dropping by a park for a few minutes to quiet your thoughts, or looking at a photo of your family as you leave the train station to bring your focus back to them. This ritual allows you to put work aside (at least for a while) and prepare for the joys and challenges that await you at home.
A problem shared is a problem halved
While you do want to let your family know when you’re having a particularly intense period at work, Mardi says it’s a good idea to unload your pent-up frustrations on someone else. This could be a colleague (who has firsthand experience with the source of your work stress), friend, mentor or a professional psychologist / corporate coach — just make sure it’s someone who is willing to listen to you vent, act as a sounding board, and, when appropriate, offer advice. Talking about what’s bothering you with someone you trust (who happens not to be related to you) is a good way of getting any pent-up emotions out there, without putting a strain on your family relationships.
Schedule time for out of hours work
Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a job that ends at 5 or 6 p.m. every day. The trick for those of us who don’t is to be more selective with your time. To do this, Mardi suggests selecting one evening a week as your dedicated night to work late. You can let your family know that you will be home later than normal, but that when you leave the office, you will be fully present at home. Mardi adds that it may be helpful to pick a set day each week to work late — that allows your family to make plans around your schedule, if necessary.
If you’re struggling to leave your stress in the office make an appointment with one of our Psychologists today who are not only an excellent sounding board, they can give you tools and tips to help you separate work from home. We look forward to helping you become the best version of you.