We love our families and many of us enjoy our jobs, but a moment to decompress between the two is needed. We need a moment to decompress from the of employee /boss role before putting on our hat as mom/dad . The frustration or stress from either our family or job can spill over into the other. And sometimes, life can be so stressful that we can’t to leave our stress from work at work.
Now, I am not saying that your stress and frustration will magically disappear or won’t be on your mind while eating dinner with your family. That part really sucks, but our problems don’t magically go away at least not until we resolve them. Though it would be nice if they did magically disappear without you having to face it head on. Can you imagine? “Adulting” would be so much easier.
Everyone’s commute or time frame between taking one hat off (employee or boss) and putting the other (parent) on may be different. Some may have an hour between dropping the kids off at school and arriving at work or a business meeting. Others may have 10 mins between leaving the warehouse after a very frustrating meeting and picking the kids up from summer camp. Either way, we need a moment to cool off (decompress) before switching hats.
I know… I know. You probably are saying how am I suppose to relax after having a very stressful day at work, now I am sitting in traffic, and I must be at the camp in ten minutes before I am charged a late fee. Change your mindset and see it as an opportunity. An opportunity to release some of your stress. Why? Because it isn’t fair to your family to have to deal with your bad attitude especially when they aren’t the cause of the problem.To help you, I’ve included a few ways to can decompress before interacting with the family after a long work day or entering work after a horrible morning of toddler tantrums and arguing over leaving your shoes in the middle of the floor.
Listen to music – Turn off Kids Bop or the Disney station on the satellite radio, and enjoy the music you love but can’t listen to on regular because of the little ears around. You’re sitting in traffic or on the train any way so you should at least party to your favorite tunes. Let yourself get into the music so all the stress of the day melts away. Who cares if the person next to you at the light is staring at you while you sing that new song from your favorite artist.
Listen to an audio book – Not many of us have time to sit down and read a book. Thank goodness for audio books. Connect your phone to your car and press play. Listen to the new Stephen King’s book while navigating through traffic or on the crowded train. For a few minutes, allow yourself to get lost in the book as the narrator reads to you. But don’t enjoy the book so much that you disobey the traffic laws or aren’t aware of your surroundings.
Read a book – I believe I shouldn’t have to say this but I will say it anyway. DO NOT READ a book while you are DRIVING (unless it’s an audio book in which case you are more so listening to it.) Now that’s out of the way. Books are a great way to decompress from the work day. You can become consumed with your book, especially if it’s a good book, for a few minutes you stop worrying about unfinished projects, inconsiderate bosses, and rude co-workers. You aren’t focused on scheduling dental appointments or the parent-teacher conference. As corny as it may sound, you can leave your present situation to immerse yourself into the plot and setting of the book. Who knows, you may even fall asleep for awhile.
Conversation with fellow commuters/family/friends – I have a group of people I sit with on the train in the evening. We discuss everything from political scandals, rude co-workers, families, dinner recipes, drama at work and more. We laugh at each other, at the conductors, and give advice. We are all decompressing from the work day. If you feel comfortable with these people, you can talk about your stress from the day or get advice about where to get an item for a last minute school project.
Meditate – The art of clearing your mind and being still for a few minutes. If it’s not safe for you to close your eyes, you don’t have to close them. If you can’t sit or lay in your normal meditation stance, you don’t have to do so. You can simply take five minutes to concentrate and focus on your breathing. Pushing to the sides any thoughts they may come into your mind. If you drive, I recommend meditating before you leave the parking lot of your office and before you get out the car to go in the house or picking the kids up.
Remember, it’s okay to take a moment to decompress from the work day or family issues. Take a few minutes before switching from parent to employee/boss or from employee/boss to parent. You may even call it your mini self care session.
Do you have to take a moment to decompress? Leave some of the ways you do so in the comments.