Are your relationships at home strained because you often arrive home from work too stressed or exhausted to be a good partner or parent? The positive strategies below can help you leave job stress at work and be the kind of caring partner and parent at home that your family needs and deserves.
- Before arriving home, give yourself a “time out.” Five or ten minutes before you walk into your home, give yourself a much-needed time out. Stop the car a block away from your home or close your eyes on the bus, train, or subway to find a moment of serenity. Then take a few moments to breathe, pray, meditate, or talk silently to yourself about the fact that the people you are about to meet in a few minutes (your partner and/or your kids) are more important than any client, customer, supplier, boss, or work colleague you’ve dealt with all day. Even if your work-focused brain wants to take your loved ones for granted, this is the moment when you can once again realize they are the most important people in your life right now.
- Make a daily promise to yourself. Instead of tuning out your loved ones or having a short fuse during family time, shift your mindset from work mode to family life by consciously deciding to be fully “present” for your family when you arrive home. Make a promise to yourself each day to be the caring, interested and relaxed partner or parent your loved ones deserve, rather than being impatient, disinterested and stressed out. Complement your commitment to be fully present for your family by learning and practicing healthy methods to increase relaxation, dissipate stress and lift your mood.
- Set guidelines for positive communication. When you sit down to talk with your partner after work, set some guidelines that will allow the two of you to have a good check-in conversation. One helpful guideline is for you to take turns (10 to 15 minutes for each partner) sharing and listening about each other’s day. Instead of having one person go into a 60-minute monologue where the other person is struggling not to tune out or interrupt, with this guideline both of you will have a chance to be heard and understood each night no matter how stressful your days have been. This guideline of “ten minutes for each person so we both get a turn” is a remarkable way to restore balance and closeness in your relationship.