Even for those who love their jobs, there are still stressful moments. Whether it’s an overflowing email inbox, a nonstop phone ringing, an insatiable boss, or just *a lot* of work that needs to be done, every job has its sticking points. These are the nagging pieces that stick in your brain, forcing you to feel like you need to work on it at home or feel guilty about not working.
But here’s the thing: these bits of stress don’t have any bearing once you leave the office for the day. That’s the first step to leaving stress at work; here are some more tips from LifeHacker to help you “leave it at the office,” as they say. It revolves around three things: your commute, your entry back into home life, and sticking to it.
1. Use your commute to wind down
Avoid the radio if you can. The interruptions and jarring quality of ads can add on to your stress. Try to relax and pop in an audiobook or connect to Spotify/other streaming service. Listen to a podcast. Find something that can push out the stress that’s also relaxing, and builds a kind of barrier between the office and home.
If you need to vent, do it during your commute. Talk through your frustration with yourself. Yell or scream (well, silently or with the windows up) if it’s that bad.
Another note on your commute: drive for as long as you need to wind down. So, if that means taking the scenic route or stopping for Starbucks, go for it. It’s better to arrive home in a peaceful state of mind and 10 minutes later than on time and a ball of nerves.
2. Walk in the door and give the process your full attention
Pay attention to the play by play of your routine. From taking the keys out of the ignition to pushing open the door into your home, think of every step as a step away from the office and step into home, and all the implications that go along with that.
If someone is there to welcome you, whether it’s a partner, dog, parakeet, anything, give them a sincere welcome in return. Basically, create a return home ritual that forces you to be present both physically and mentally. It all helps to take your mind off work!
3. Stick to it
Even following all of the above to a T won’t amount to anything if you’re still drawn back into the office world at random moments. Consider turning off email notifications on your personal cell phone and mobile devices; don’t check it on your laptop, either. Try to find immersive parts of your tradition, like taking the time to cook a delicious meal, or going to the gym, anything that takes your full mind. Studies show that TV is fairly ineffective at this because despite going on autopilot, people’s thoughts tend to return back to work.
For most of us, not bringing our work laptop home at the end of the day won’t result in and catastrophes such as children dying, or buildings collapsing. The work will still be there tomorrow. Be present for your friends and family, and maintain a positive perspective. Studies have shown that your office performance will improve and become more positive as well. Sounds like a win-win to me!