TGIF, right? Not so fast.
More and more people actually look forward to the distraction work can bring to escape stress at home. It’s true! In fact, a recent study, When Work Becomes A Haven From Stress At Home, showed that participants’ cortisol levels, a hormone released in response to stress, spiked more when at home than at work.
There are a few possible reasons for this. At work there’s a certain level of decorum, professionalism and order. Not necessarily at home. At home kids can throw tantrums, personal space is at a premium, and plans change at a moment’s notice. No wonder it can be hard to find balance and de-stress.
Novel Idea: Make Home More Like Work
It may sound a little counterintuitive, but you can help combat stress at home by following some of the same principles you do at work:
- Build in structure: After your family returns from work or school, have a routine you all can follow. Allot time for homework or chores, a sit down dinner, an activity or downtime, then set a bedtime so you don’t continue chores late in to the evening.
- Communicate: If there’s something on your mind, be sure to share it with your spouse, children or other family members. They’re not mind readers either, so be sure to practice open communication with one another.
- Unwind: It’s important to take a few minutes during the work day to take a stretch break, fit in a walk around the building, or schedule lunch with a co-worker or friend to unwind and get refocused. The same is true at home! Everyone can benefit from a little ‘me’ time, so take a few minutes to read a book, walk around the neighborhood, or watch your favorite TV show.
- Be a role model: When at the office or working with groups like PTAs, volunteer organizations, or others, you may model behaviors you would like to see in your fellow partners. You might strive to be organized, pull your weight for the group, and treat others with respect. You can also be a role model at home. Share your thoughts with family to encourage open communication, ask family members to be responsible for certain chores to organize your household, or instigate a game of hide-and-go-seek to have some fun, get the family moving, and build some memories.
If the idea of ‘TGIM’ resonates with you, our health coach, Lani Kee Williams says there are some questions you can ask yourself to start the process of improving your situation:
- 1.How satisfied am I with my current home life?
- 2.What is it that I would like to see more of when I am at home?
- 3.Do I need to bring back a ritual/practice/activity that used to work well?
- 4.What am I ready to do now to move in that direction?
- 5.Who do I need to collaborate with to help me get started?
Once you’ve owned what you can control, take action! Then, you can get back to that TGIF lifestyle, and enjoy more of a work/life balance.