Is work stress ruining your relationships? The office isn’t exactly a blissful, stress-free location you escape to every day. There are tight deadlines, phone calls to return, seemingly endless meetings, supervisors breathing down your neck, and of course, that one annoying coworker who can’t seem to stay out of your business. Going through any or all of these things is enough to wind anyone up tight and leave them looking for a way to de-stress.
Unfortunately, this de-stressing doesn’t always happen in a productive way. We can hold it all in until we blow up at random or find ourselves pouring our hearts out about our stresses to anyone who will listen. More often than not, these outbursts happen around those we are the closest with, and they can seriously damage relationships over time. In fact, over half of all employees say that work interferes with their personal responsibilities and relationships.
Whether we like it or not, it can be virtually impossible to completely separate the psychological impact of our jobs from the way we feel and act when we’re around people we care about. In order to avoid leaning on those we care about as stress outlets and potentially ruining relationships, there are a few things that can be done. This includes managing workplace stressors, limiting commute time, and leaving work at work.
Ultimately, the biggest way to limit the relationship-ruining stress blow-ups at home is to identify and address the things that cause you the most stress at work and find ways to work around them. If you are having trouble meeting deadlines, for example, try creating an organizational chart that breaks work into bite-sized bits. If you own your own business and are self-employed, reduce monetary stresses by taking the time to understand any personal loans you may need to take out.
Finding a little bit of personal time at work to cool off can do wonders at managing work stress and anxiety. Taking a 15-minute break to go for a walk, do yoga, or meditate can alleviate a lot of workplace stress and help you come back to your desk with a clear head and a positive attitude. Doing things like this prior to responding to stressful emails or just after long meetings can make a huge difference.
If workplace stress is getting to be way too much, it could be because you are overworking yourself. Perhaps the best thing to do to relax is to take some quality time off work. This time off can help you recharge and feel balanced when you do go back to the office. This can carry through and improve your work performance, benefit your health, and reduce the risk of stress making it home and hurting relationships with those you care about.
Limit That Commute
Although your long commute may seem like a good place to relax and unwind before getting home, chances are that actually isn’t the case at all. In fact, a long commute is likely to make you more irritable when you arrive. Things such as congested traffic, accidents, and really long drives are more frequently going to put you in a worse mood than when you left work.
Believe it or not, long commutes can actually be correlated with divorce rates. Some research indicates that a commute longer than 45 minutes for one member of a relationship can mean a 40% greater likelihood of getting divorced. Think about it: That’s an hour and a half less time you get to spend with your family daily. Instead, you are spending it in traffic, which doesn’t exactly prime you to be cheery when you pull into the driveway.
In order to get around this, some people have taken to telecommuting and working from home or a nearby location such as a public library or coffee shop. With the advent of mobile hotspot technology, you could really work from anywhere whether it traditionally has the internet or not. This opens up opportunities to work in relaxing locations outside the office.
Make After Work Plans and Follow Through
Finally, don’t take work home with you. When you’re off the clock, actually be off the clock by disconnecting from your work phone, not responding to work-related emails, and trying not to talk about work-related matters all the time. Instead, limit venting and focusing on talking about other things with your partner — topics you can both fully relate to. In other words, leave your work stress at the office.
Make plans to do things with your significant other and don’t cancel them because you’ve had a rough day at work. Instead, go and participate in fun activities that not only take your mind off of work but also help to build a stronger relationship with the person you care about. A good way to get started is a regular date night or picking up an afterwork hobby together.
Experts suggest that one of the best ways to limit work stress and benefit your relationship at home is to develop a “third space.” The third space is something you do for your own personal enjoyment, not because it is a work or family responsibility. It could be something such as participating in a book club, going fishing, or having a poker night with friends. These spaces help us to relieve stress and ultimately benefit our relationships with those we care about most.
Personal relationships come under a lot of fire due to workplace stress. In order to avoid letting workplace stress ruin your relationship, it is beneficial to work on managing it at the office. Outside of work, limit commute time, reduce the number of work-related stories you’re complaining about, and get out and do something fun with your significant other!