Work stress is something we’re all familiar with. It’s the anxiety that goes together with the job demands and the extent to which we can meet them. It’s our lack of perfect time management skills, being overwhelmed, feeling like we’re out of control, wanting to get it all done but not being motivated enough, feeling inferior to others, watching our colleagues get ahead and being tired before the workday has even started.
All these are side effects of the stress at the workplace. And – what’s worse – we can keep going through all these and reliving the stressful situations from the day even when at home.
That means that we never give our mind the chance to shut down, to re-charge, to focus on more positive things. The result is often burnout, depression, lack of any desire to keep doing the work, and more.
But your evening is your “me” time, it has nothing to do with work and you should protect it. It’s your only chance, together with the weekend, to have some fun, empty your mind, relax and find some peace of mind.
Let’s see what you can do to never let work stress get to you at home again:
1. Breathe deeply and just leave it all at the door
The moment the workday is over, the work stress related with it must disappear too.
Over time, you should develop the right mindset so that you can stay sane and keep being productive at home, while working hard at the office. But until then, do it in small steps. Start by creating a tiny ritual of taking a few deep breaths before you open the door at home, and imagine leaving all negative and stressful emotions there. Then, you can step in with a peaceful mind, ready to relax, and not to bother others with work-related stuff.
2. Know how to relax
Most of us don’t even know how to rest or relax properly. They keep thinking about everything that happened during the day, or keep going through the tasks they need to complete tomorrow.
But that only brings more work stress and their whole evening is ruined.
To prevent that from happening, create a whole night routine before bedtime so that you can relax your brain and body and let them have a quality sleep after that. Then, you can be sure you’ll wake up fresh in the morning ready to win the day.
Such a routine can begin an hour or even 30 minutes before you usually go to bed, and it can include things like taking a soothing bath, stretching, preparing your clothes for tomorrow, decluttering at home, journaling your thoughts, reading something inspirational or else.
Choose 2-3 of these for a start and spare them a few minutes. You’ll end up being more relaxed than usual. Soon, this evening routine will be one of your favorite parts of the days and definitely the most peaceful way to finish each after a long day at work.
Meditation is this great and simple practice that can help you relieve the work stress when you’re at home.
It may be hard in the beginning to empty your mind or just focus it on one positive thought, but give it a try for a minute. Then, do it for 2 minutes tomorrow. The purpose of this exercise is to let go of all thoughts connected to the past and future, as these are the main stressors.
Then, you can be fully present and aware of what’s going on in this moment. You can choose a happy affirmation and repeat it to yourself and thus concentrate your mind on one thing only.
Soon, it will get easier and you’ll start doing it effortlessly. That’s when you’ll have the chance to feel all the other benefits of meditation, like being more calm (even during the day), unleashing your creativity, thinking of new ways to solve problems, boosting your immune system, learning to focus better (which will be quite useful when working), lowering blood pressure and reducing work stress.
4. Take care of yourself
That’s another way to eliminate work stress in the evening and it can be done during the whole day.
First, stay active. Have a workout throughout the day to be fit and healthy in general.
Then, replace junk food with foods that are rich in nutrients, vitamins and fibers. That will give you plenty of energy, good mood and focus.
Stop drinking that much caffeine, avoid alcohol in the evening, give up the energy drinks. These can only ruin your health.
Last but not least, get your 8 hours of sleep and make sure they are quality. Start by fixing your sleeping schedule and going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. You can try some apps for better sleep and see what works for you. Also, get earplugs and a sleep mask to reduce the noise and light which keep your brain activated at night and don’t let you fall asleep fast.
5. Hack productivity to get more done and have less work stress
Always keep in mind that it’s all about priorities. And the moment you leave work these change. Then, it’s about re-charging, doing stuff at home, having a nice meal out, spending quality time with loved ones or just doing pleasant and quiet activities you enjoy.
Don’t mix work with personal life.
Stop trying to get it all done. Realize that you don’t really need to do that. Some of the tasks on your to-do list are just unnecessary, others can be automated or delegated. So do that. Keep only what’s essential and gives you results.
When you’re beginning a bigger project, instead of feeling overwhelmed by the big picture, break it down into small tasks that are manageable and don’t take much time to accomplish.
Also, if you get up a bit earlier and use that extra time to organize your day, you’ll save yourself a lot of worries and time later in the day.
So these are the things you can do today to make sure your evening is pleasant and peaceful. Work stress doesn’t need to go home with you!
Article by Lidiya K.