Work Life Balance - A Skill for Life
Ever find yourself ruminating over work issues well into the evening and/or unable to get work off of your mind on the weekend? If so, following are some simple strategies that may assist you to do so:
Option 1: Mindfully drop your worries off on the way home
It may be useful to have a practised routine that allows you to leave work issues at work. For example, there may be a particular landmark that you drive past on the way home (e.g., a church, a bridge). You can use this landmark to mindfully decide that this is where you leave your work worries for the day (knowing that they will be there for you to collect on your way to work the next morning). Alternately, as you step off the bus/train and commence your walk home – the process of stepping off may be your mindful strategy of where you leave your work concerns.
Option 2: A problem shared, is a problem halved
For those in a relationship/living with family, it is likely that your partner/family will ask you how your day was. You can either briefly let them know (e.g., not too bad, a bit stressful) and leave it at that. Alternatively, you may find it useful to vent and/or brain storm some issues. Whilst this is a natural tendency and it may feel better to share your concerns etc – it is important to set some limits around this. For example, if you are still venting 30 minutes after returning home – you are truly eating into your leisure/relaxation time (and your partner/family's time).
This is where it may help to set some boundaries – perhaps limit your shop talk to a 10-15 minute briefing (allowing space for your partner/family to also share experiences from their day if they would like to). Once you have both had a timely debrief - have a mindful strategy of letting go of your work concerns for the evening (e.g., a shower to wash away your worries from the day, going for a walk).
Limit Working after hours at home
Whilst our mobile devices provide us with greater flexibility as to where and when we can access our emails/take work calls – this can be a double edged sword with many having trouble navigating the now blurred lines between work and home. If you must take work home and you are not a Doctor on call (e.g., someone’s life does not depend on you checking your work phone), you have the capacity to set ground rules around this. For example, consider turning off/setting your electronic work devices to silent at a set time and avoid checking emails (f necessary, providing an out-of-office reply till morning).
This may take some getting used to if you are in the habit of checking emails etc ‘just in case’. Perhaps explore some of the following relaxation strategies to assist you in managing this:
Relaxation Breathing - http://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/docs/ACF3942.pdf
Progressive Muscle Relaxation - http://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/docs/ACF3C8D.pdf
Mindfulness - https://smilingmind.com.au/