While no one intends to bring their work home with them, many people eventually do. This can cause unwanted difficulties at home, as family members begin feeling neglected or ignored. Tensions may also arise due to the person’s irritability. Here are some techniques you can use to regain your sense of calm before coming home.
If you’re like most people, you probably don’t pay much attention to your breathing. After all, it is one of the body’s automatic functions. However, deep breathing can help induce a natural relaxation response.
Deep breathing allows a greater supply of oxygen to reach the brain, promoting calmness. In addition, deliberately focusing on your breathing helps quiet the mind. Doing this at your desk or in your car, before heading home, is one of the best ways to get rid of that tension before interacting with your family.
When someone says that laughter is the best medicine, it’s no exaggeration. Laughing soothes tension and stimulates circulation, relieving many of the physical symptoms of stress. It also aids in the release of endorphins, producing a relaxed state.
Try to keep some items at your desk or workstation that will induce an occasional chuckle, such as cartoons or funny photos. It also helps to associate with coworkers that have a healthy sense of humor. Having a good laugh before leaving at the end of the day will help you leave the stress of work behind.
When you’re not able to escape to your favorite “happy place,” the next best thing you can do is go there in your mind. Visualizing a relaxing environment, such as your favorite beach or mountaintop, can do wonders for reducing stress.
Before you leave work, close your eyes and take a few moments to imagine you’re in this beautiful environment. Think about the sights, sounds and smells you would experience if you were actually there. The more often you do this, the better you’ll get at shutting everything else out and the more vivid your visualization will be.
Stress causes the muscles in your body to tense up. If it happens often enough, you may not notice until someone attempts to give you a massage and points it out. If you do notice, it’s usually the sore neck and shoulders that bring it to your attention. Progressive muscle relaxation is one of the best ways to release that tension.
The idea is to slowly tense and relax your muscles, one at a time. Begin with your toes and work up the body to your neck. As you get used to this practice, you’ll become more aware of how your muscles feel at any given time. This is something you can do at your desk or in your car, as often as you like.
If you have a habit of reaching for your smartphone when you’re stressed out, look for apps that are designed to help you relax. Some of them offer relaxing sounds you can listen to on your way home. There’s even a coloring app that allows you to color various intricate designs on your Android phone.
Coloring is recommended by a number of psychologists for stress reduction. It’s so effective, it’s even used in drug rehab clinics as a tool to help patients overcome the anxiety caused by addiction. If the coloring app sounds like something you might be interested in, you can get it on Google Play.
Although there’s probably no way to avoid those long days at the office, there’s no need to allow workplace problems to bring disharmony into your home. Each of the techniques listed above is capable of relieving stress in minutes, but the best way to ensure they will work is to make them part of your daily routine.
Joe Mistry is a wellness coach. He runs yoga classes and art sessions as well as working 1-on-1 with people to gain control of their life and let go of all the emotional baggage they’re likely carrying.