As we enter the festive period, no doubt will some mothers out there feel the pressure to make Christmas a magical one (especially with the year we’ve all had). Now I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting to add a touch of magic in your home, but equally speaking there will probably be pressure at work to up-sell, perform more, and bring out as much as we can from those we work with, which can create a bit of mental clutter as you bring home the day’s stress… bring on the Christmas workload.
In this blog post, I will be sharing 10 easy and immediate ways you can avoid bringing home work-related stress. Hopefully, these ideas will not just cover you during the festive period, but also throughout your working career.
1) Put away your phone
The issue of bringing home work-related stress mostly starts way before you check out for the day, and if you have the luxury of working with your phone on your person, it will probably be one of your biggest distractors. It can lead you to waste productive time, meaning you won’t get to accomplish as many tasks as you optimally could do, often leading to guilt and worry following you home. Work is a never-ending process, so if you leave knowing that you have carried out a fair amount of duties, there should be no reason why you stress over it when you get home.
2) Download your frustrations before you go home
This can be done with a trusted colleague, scribed in your diary, or you can have a good rant on the phone on your way home. The aim is that by the time you reach home, you will be in a different headspace and not allow any build up to follow you to your doorstep.
3) Update your to-do-list before you leave
Sort of tied into the previous point, but dumping any lingering thoughts and tasks on paper in a to-do list before you head home, is also another way to leave work at work. This way you leave feeling confident that you have planned out your tasks for the next day and avoid dwelling over them whilst at home.
4) Talk about your plans for the evening
Even if you don’t have much planned, by just simply saying to a colleague “I’ll be cooking and bathing the kids”, or “tonight is date night, we’re going to the cinema”, it’s an easy way to begin mentally transitioning out of work mode. If you’re not already doing it, give it a try and see how it goes for you!
5) Do something nice for someone
Studies show that generosity can evoke positive feelings such as increased wellbeing, happiness, and reducing stress (1,2). The act of kindness doesn’t have to be a granular one. Simple things such as buying your children their favourite cookies on your way home, giving up your seat on the train, or checking in on a friend, are all excellent small but mighty examples. As the saying does, it is better to give than to receive, now we know why.
6) Entertain yourself during your commute home
Many people have smartphones these days, and playing games, listening to music, an audiobook or watching a programme from your phone, is an easy way to help with relaxation and stress management (3,4). If you work from home, try setting aside some time straight after work to entertain yourself for a bit, the point is to make yourself feel soothed so you can be in the best possible state of mind for when the kids start tugging at you.
7) Have a wind down routine
Another great one particularly if you work from home. Simple things such as, packing away your equipment, changing your clothes, or having a shower can help trigger a switch in your brain letting it know that you have shut up shop, and it’s now family time.
I have previously written about the benefits of exercising. And I think this is a great one to incorporate if you work from home, as part of your transition between work mode and mummy mode. When you have finally closed your inbox, it just a matter of finding a YouTube video or an app that you like, and sweating out all those emotions.
9) Meal prep
After a long day at work, there is nothing more relieving than not having to worry about what your family is going to eat for dinner. So either having a good idea for what you are going to rustle up when you get in the kitchen, or having something prepared that only requires warming up, will help take the burden off of you.
10) Go to bed at a reasonable time
I know way too many mums who hit the sack at just before midnight knowing very well that they have to get up early. If this is you aim for 9-10 pm instead (especially if you have little ones who wake up in the middle of the night). Or if you work unsociable hours, aim to get at least 6-9 hours of sleep a day. As mentioned earlier, work can be a never-ending process, and a lack of sleep will affect your performance (5,6), kick-starting an unhealthy cycle of worry and anxiety, and at this point you are just asking for work-related stress.
Of course, all jobs will come with a level of pressure to some degree, but the aim of this post is to help you prevent this from seeping into your personal life and affecting your relationships unnecessarily. December will no doubt put a spotlight on your time, money, and gift giving abilities, but as with any other time of the year, you have to be reasonable with yourself and communicate with those around you. Christmas is meant to be a holiday period and a time for you to take pleasure in what you enjoy doing most.