Mental Matters

How Work Stress Affects Family Life & 5 Ways to Lower It

Family arguments, early bedtimes, plans not going ahead, does this sound familiar? Well don’t worry because this is everyday family life for a lot of us. I would argue that 80% of these situations stem from stress at work.

Ever heard of “The Chain of Screaming”? I believe that term came from an episode of “How I Met Your Mother” but the general idea has been around since the beginning of time.

Usually around deadline time pressure in the “office” builds up. This is made worse by somebody calling in sick or somebody leaving (which always happens when you least bloody want it to, right?) so your boss gets stressed and takes that’s stress out on you. You in turn bring that stress home and project it on to your family. Sound fair? Of course not.

Most people who suffer from stress at work bottle it up and release it at home over silly things like, the dishes stacking up or the kids being too hyper. We get annoyed at our partners for something in the house not being done. This then makes them feel under-appreciated and their sadness is sensed by the kids. We snap at the kids for calling on us 10 times. This then makes them think we don’t want to spend time with them because children are children and don’t understand the real world yet. We do this because we all like a rant but are too afraid to stand up for ourselves. I’ve learned the hard way how stress and anxiety can affect my family and I think that’s now why I have a slightly better insight on how to cope with it.

Bringing our stress home with us is unhealthy. It’s like doing overtime but not getting paid for it and that is mentally draining. We need to look at stress differently, we can use it like energy. We can turn stress into adrenaline. Try pushing that stress and anger into a half hour session at the gym after work or taking the kids for a kickabout or having some hot, passionate sex with your partner. Find a positive outlet and put your heart and soul into it rather than using it on arguments.

Of course I do have some top tips for lowering stress at work:

  1. Stop being a doormat!

Don’t do more than your mind and body are capable of because your boss expects you to, learn to say no. You don’t have to be rude or aggressive but you certainly don’t have to explain yourself if your boss wants you to do the job of two.

  1. Take your entitled time off.

We are all entitled to holidays. Use them. Company’s used to pay you for any unused holidays at the end of the tax year but this is no longer allowed because these days are seen as “wellbeing” days. If you don’t get them the company is seen as overworking you.

  1. Find a job you enjoy.

A job you enjoy will keep you motivated but so will a company with good policies and benefits. They are not impossible to find so if your current situation is really dragging you down. Do a little homework and apply for something better.

  1. Report poor management.

“Nobody likes a grass” but if your manager is using an abusive or aggressive tone towards you, you are well within your right to report this. Bullying is not okay in any walk of life. Same goes for if you feel they are inadequate at the job.

  1. Seek medical advice.

Finally, I cannot stress how important it is that you see your doctor if your mind is not in the right place. Whether it’s stress, anxiety, low mood or depression. Take care of yourself.

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