Use these strategies to prevent burnout and keep work stress where it belongs, in the office. By Satyaki Sarkar
Many argue that work-life balance is a myth and a wild goose chase, while others insist that it is definitely attainable as long as you know how. And that debate won’t likely get resolved anytime soon. But the crux of the matter is that in today’s busy life, stress is a part and parcel of all our jobs. And while it is not possible to avoid it completely, we can let it not affect your personal life and spoil our time with loved ones. After a hectic day at work, leaving the stress at the office is an absolute must if you want to have a healthy life. Here are five ways to help you do just that.
1. Unwind during your commute
Once you are done for the day and have left the office, you are off duty. Use the time you spend on your journey back home to wind down and make the transition from office mode to home mode. Technology has ensured we are connected to our work at all times, but it’s important to draw a healthy boundary between personal time and work time. So use the travel time to do something relaxing that you enjoy, to slowly ease the stress out of your system. This could include listening to music or a podcast, reading, or just being present in the moment and enjoying the journey without letting other thoughts drift into your head.
2. Physical exercise
Quite often people don’t realise that exercise has quite a few benefits apart from keeping you physically healthy. Whether you choose to hit the gym, play a game of squash/tennis, swim, practise a form of self defence, or just go running, engaging in physical exercise helps relieve the tension that has built up in your body the entire day. Exercise also releasing stress-busting endorphins and calming neurotransmitters. Additionally, the fitter you are, the more capable your body is of handling tension and anxiety. So make exercise a regular, if not daily, part of your life so that you can maintain a happy balance.
3. Change the environment
Psychologists and therapists have always maintained that our physical environment has a deep impact on our mental and emotional well being. So to help you subconsciously differentiate between your work and home environments you need to have clear demarcations between the two. And we’re not talking about the interiors of the space. We’re talking about physical markers like changing out of your formal work clothes as soon as you get home and into more comfortable, relaxing ‘home’ clothes. Put on your favourite music, play with your kids, cook your wife, etc. The idea is to help change your very demeanour and state of mind. It’s almost like shedding your work skin and getting into a different frame of mind. A conscious move from one zone into another stress-free, more comfortable one will automatically release all the pent up stress and tension of the day.
4. Help your mind quieten down
A great way to leave work stress at the door is to not vent about work at home. The moment you rehash all the issues you faced at work with a family member, you’re effectively reliving those moments and putting yourself through the stress again. That’s a no-no. Don’t bring those stressors into your home. Your mind and body will thank us, we promise. Another trick is to use a bit of meditation to calm down all the stressful thoughts rattling around in your brain. If you catch yourself starting to think of work issues while at home, consciously stop yourself. Take a deep breath, and count from 1 to 100, then from 100 to 1. Do this a few times till your mind has quietened down and you’re relaxed. This counting helps transfer your focus and concentration from the worry and stress to the numbers, and in turn helps you focus on the present.
5. Have things to look forward to
It’s important you have something other than work planned for the day. Pick things you enjoy doing that will bring an element of fun into your day. It doesn’t have to be something grand or detailed. Sometimes the simplest things bring the greatest pleasure. It could be time spent playing a board game with your children, watching your favourite TV show with your spouse, playing outdoors with your pet, indulging in a hobby, whipping up a quick dessert for the family, going for a drive, etc. What’s important is it occupies your mind, while being relaxing and refreshing. It helps you disconnect and keep the stress out of your mind and your home!