How to De-stress after Work and Not Drive Your Family Crazy

By Sarah Go | Strong Female Leaders | Reading Time: 10 Minutes
Are you driving your family crazy because of work stress? Work stress hurts performance at work, workplace morale, and most importantly, relationships with your family. When you stress about work after work, it takes a toll on you and everyone around you. So what can you do about it? As we ring in 2022, many of us also take the opportunity to reflect on the past year and find areas of improvements. If you have been feeling excessively stressed at work, then the new year is the right time to make changes. There are many preventative measures out there. All you have to do is be open to trying them.

1. Communicate your situation before experiencing an outburst.
When you are suffering emotinally at work, you will need your family's support. Yet just when you need them the most, you may also feel distracted, disengaged and irritated when you are aroound them. Before giving your loved ones the impression that they are not important, take the initiative to be transparent about your situation. Tell them that you are stressed and you are not able to focus on them until things settle down. Also, make sure to shine a positive light on the situation. Let them know how you plan to handle the stress competently and things will improve. Doing so will prevent you from bottling all that tension inside and risking having future outbursts.
During sensitive times, what you need from your family are support and understanding. Because they love you, unconditionally, they will do whatever it takes to make you happy. All you have to do is let them in.
2. Block out "de-stress" time before coming home.
Jumping straight from a busy work day to a busy evening with the family adds more stress. Sure, work and family are different contexts, but they can both be exhausting. Before returning home, block out anywhere between 10 minutes to an hour, and use it to relax, de-stress and clear headspace. Activities such as working on hobbies, taking a nature walk, reading, visiting with friends and hitting the gym are excellent choices to fill up this time.
"Leave work at work" is often the advice that we hear from so-called gurus, but it is easier said that done. To make it effective, you will need to plan ahead and dedicate a block of time. De-stressing is an activity just like going to work, exercising and attending kid's soccer game. So in between dealing with work issues and running through tasks at home, reserve a block of time solely for yourself. After all, you deserve a break.
3. Turn off all electronics during family time.
Sure you have to work extra hours some days and log in after coming home. You can do that, as long as you put work away during family time. After walking into the house, your family becomes the priority. Having dinner with them is important, and so are listening to, engaging with and being there for them.
To ensure that you are fully present during family time, turn off all electronics for at least an hour or two. Yes, including your phone. You can always log back into work afterward, but for the time being, taking care of your family is your job.

4. Remind yourself of the big picture.
The day-to-day activities can get weary and monotonous, but what about the ultimate vision? If the only reason for you to go to work is a paycheck, you will not be happy in the long run. And during times of stress, you will feel even more unfulfilled.
However, if your job, no matter how tedious the daily tasks, difficult the team members and unreasonable the deadlines, contributes to achieving the big picture, then take a moment and remind yourself of the original purpose. Let this life-long mission carry you through the hard times. You may be lost for now, but as long as you had a big picture in the first place, you can get it back and let it help you prevail.
5. Plan vacation ahead of time.
Always plan time off, and do it ahead of schedule. Just knowing that you have a break in the future helps alleviate stress. You need vacations, and so does your family. If you can, splurge on one or two things that matter to everyone, like tickets to a show, once-in-a-life-time adventure or whatever you and your family desire. When you know that there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, the stormy weather no longer feels so terrible.
6. Help the team de-stress.
If you are stressed at work, then chances are so is your team. Sensitive times like now offer the opportunity for you to step up as a leader. If team mates need support, give it to them. If they need someone to talk to, be their listening ear. If they need to solve a problem, offer them solutions. If they need to discuss family issues, forget about your own and be their emotional outlet.
When you have nothing left to give, give even more. Because if you can alleviate everyone else's stress, the whole team will get better, and the team includes you.
7. Plan to resign, amicably.
Sometimes a job is just not worth the stress. It's not you, your family, or anyone at work. It's just the situation. Like with any deadend relationship, you have tried your best and still cannot work it out. At this point, planning to resign may be the best way to de-stress.
Before looking for other opportunities, ask yourself the following questions:
  • Is the organization, including its culture, right for you?
  • Is the current position right for you?
  • Is the current position going to help you reach the career that you want?
  • If any of the three answers is "no," then you have the right reason to remove the stressful situation from your life.
    Do remember that quiting is one thing but doing it amicably requires careful planning. Make sure that you let the key players know first, are transparent about your next steps, and have a plan to transfer knowledge and set the team up for success.
    Also, instead of focusing on the bad things, think of all the accomplishments that you and your team have made, the relationships that you have built, and the joyful memories that you have created. There are good and bad to every job. If you focus on the good, especially towards the end, not only will you walk away with pride, fulfillment, and a peace of mind, you will also be able to de-stress.
    Parting Thoughts
    Work stress can be hard on you and your family, but it doesn't have to drive anyone crazy. By intentionally managing it, you will be able to compartmentalize it and leave enough head space to enjoy time with the people who matter the most. Finding the upside of stress is key, and with the tips above, you have a good starting point.
    1) Find out how stress can be good for you in The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good for You, and How to Get Good at It

    2) Find more ways to de-stress at The Stress Book: Forty-Plus Ways to Manage Stress & Enjoy Your Life

    3) Pin this article!

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