Office stress is something which we all have come to live with. Whether at junior levels or at the top management level, people inadvertently ‘take work home’ by ruminating about underachieved targets, difficult bosses, uncooperative colleagues, unmanageable team members etc.
Over time, such stress could break havoc not only upon our mental and physical health, but even our relationships with family.
Work stress gets a further boost by uninterrupted internet connectivity and smart devices such as smartphones and tablets. We find ourselves constantly checking our emails and reports on such devices even from home.
All such practices rob us of the much-required quality time with our spouses and kids at home.
Herein, I’d discuss few measures to help you manage your work stress in a better way,
- Close your workday purposefully: If you do not have a particular style of ‘signing off’ from your office, it is time to think up one! It is like having a pattern. For instance, scanning your calendar for the next day / signing important papers / sending a regular email – basically any one thing which gives you a mental imagery that you are closing down your work day.
Besides, clearing up your desk from all clutter is also something which gives you a sense of accomplishment at closing time. This further ensures you start off the next day at work with aplomb and vigor.
- Devise a shift-over habit: Now that you have wrapped up your workday, it would further be complimentary to have a sort of ‘changeover phase’ before you can fully ready yourself for your home life. This could be something as simple as a listening to music on your way home; or a more detailed activity like heading for your routine gym workout or jog to fully cleanse your mind off from office work.
- Confide in your family, appropriately: If a workplace problem is nagging you mentally even at home on a constant basis, it is best to discuss it with your spouse and kids. However, do so in a subtle way without getting too lengthy.
This would ensure they do not misinterpret your irritable behavior as something you hold against them.
- Avoid smart devices: You would have heard of terms such as ‘smartphone addiction’. Indeed, we have become so engrossed in staying connected 24*7 that we find ourselves scanning our smart devices every 10-15 minutes even after closing down work for the day.
Practice refrain from doing so gradually. Start out by avoiding checking your smartphones / tablets / laptops for smaller durations and then avoiding them completely during non-business hours. This way you would realize you do not actually have to be ‘connected’ to your work round the clock!
- Create your own physical space: It’s also a great idea to set up a separate room, or even a little space at your home wherein you would never ‘work’. You could set up a meditation / yoga / prayer zone with a comfortable mat and diffused lighting to soothe your nerves and generally relax and rejuvenate. Or, if you are into reading, set up a ‘reading alcove’ with a comfortable divan bed where you won’t be disturbed.
- Seek out a ‘sounding board’: As already mentioned, it would not be a good idea to unburden too much of the work stress unto your family. If you feel you need to talk things out in detail, it is best to have a sounding-board in the form of a close and trusted friend.
- Think along the ‘positives’ rather than ‘negatives’: I have always believed to look and act upon things from a ‘positive’ perspective. In the context of managing work stress, instead of mentally reminding yourself you won’t do this / won’t do that, focus on what actually you ‘will’ do.
For instance, instead of musings such as ‘I won’t keep checking my smartphone during weekends,’ try envisioning ‘a picnic day with your spouse and kids, giving them your undivided attention.’
I hope my suggestions would help you all in dealing with office-related stress in a better way – for a healthier work-life balance.